Gloucester vs Bristol Bears:
The 9th round was a better one for the Cherry & Whites than for the Bears, the latter registering their fifth loss of the campaign as they fell to Northampton Saints 36-20.
George Skivington’s men enjoyed a narrow, two-point victory over Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena, despite scoring fewer tries than their opponents.
Bears continue to struggle with only 3 victories so far, which puts them at 11th spot on the log, while Gloucester are faring slightly better in sixth, two points behind fourth-placed Saints.
From the coaches:
“We’re looking forward to coming to Kingsholm and getting everyone in. Friday nights are great fun and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Bristol pose a massive challenge and they play some seriously exciting rugby. Pat (Lam) is a quality coach and the systems that he’s got in place have been proven to work time and time again. They are a threat from everywhere on the field. Combine that with a really strong set piece, they are very, very dangerous. We’re fully respectful of what’s coming and what Bristol are capable of but ultimately we’re looking forward to coming back to Kingsholm and hopefully having a good day here.”
“The Kingsholm crowd is legendary and we know we probably won’t get the friendliest of welcomes there, but a west country derby on a Friday night will be a great occasion for both sets of supporters.
“It’s what makes the Premiership so special – the history behind fixtures like this.
“Gloucester are in a really great spot at the moment and George has done a really great job there.”
Exeter vs Saracens:
After their surprising loss at home to Newcastle Falcons two rounds ago, the Chiefs bounced back against Bath last week, posting a 23-16 victory against Bath.
Saracens powered past Sale Sharks 25-14 at StoneX Stadium.
Saracens are looking strong in second position on the log, six points behind the high-flying Leicester Tigers. Exeter currently occupy 5th place on the standings, close on the tail of Northampton who lead the former by a single point.
London Irish vs Newcastle Falcons:
The Exiles’ tails will be up when they host Newcastle Falcons on Saturday evening after the former’s valuable and spirited victory over the defending champs last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Falcons, who would’ve been confident of pulling off a win against the struggling Worcester Warriors, only managed a 24-all draw.
Irish and Newcastle are in similar positions on the log with only a point separating them. Irish hold 7th spot while the Falcons hold 8th, although the latter still have a game in hand.
Regarding last week’s performance, Falcons boss, Dean Richards, said:
“Three points in some respects is not a bad result, but we expected more and wanted more,” Richards stated.
“It was always going to be a game of two halves with the way the wind was, and when we had the wind in that opening half we had to capitalise on it.
“We didn’t manage to do that, and we went in just two points up at half-time rather than the 15 or 20 that we needed- that was our own doing, and we’re disappointed by it.”
Northampton Saints vs Bath:
Bath still chase what is proving to be an elusive maiden victory in the current campaign and travel to Franklin’s Gardens this weekend where Northampton Saints lie in wait.
Bath’s eighth and latest loss came last weekend against Exeter at The Rec. The home side were looking good before a late surge saw the Chiefs snatch the win.
Round 9 was good to Saints as they saw off Bristol fairly comfortably, 36-20.
Worcester vs Wasps:
Wasps will attempt to bounce back from last weekend when they meet Worcester at Sixways.
Worcester managed to avoid another loss in the previous round when they drew with the Newcastle Falcons, 24-24.
Wasps showed great fight in the second half to come within a hair’s breadth of taking the game against the Cherry & Whites.
Leicester Tigers vs Harlequins:
In what might transpire to be the game of the round, the unbeaten Leicester Tigers will host defending champs, Harlequins, at Welford Road.
The powerful Leicester machine took a break last weekend as they enjoyed a bye and will thus be fresh with much juice in the legs when Quins come knocking.
Quins recorded their third loss of the campaign in Round 9 when they fell to the Exiles at the Twickenham Stoop.