Aviva Premiership League Fixtures Round 8
Round 8 of the Aviva Premiership recalls the teams to action after two weeks competing in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. These are a few of the meaty fixtures to get your teeth stuck into over the weekend.
Gloucester Rugby v Saracens - Friday 17th November @ 1945hrs
After a dominating performance from Gloucester to beat London Irish in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in their last match (47 – 7), they now welcome the Aviva Premiership league leaders. The last time the pair met was in February when Gloucester took the spoils 31 – 23. This will give the home side a further confidence boost that few teams can call upon this season.
Saracens loss to Bath in September remains their only loss in the Aviva Premiership, but recent results in other competitions point to further pools of confidence for Gloucester to draw from. Losing to Sale Sharks last weekend and Harlequins the previous, both in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, may point to signs of vulnerability.
Turnovers could be a key to success in the match. With their prowess for turnovers, Saracens could try to exploit the passing game of Gloucester and force the home side to carry the ball.
A nice side note to the match is that it will see Karl Dickson become the first former premiership player to referee a game in the competition.
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints - Saturday 18th November @ 1300hrs
Gary Gold will have his warriors frothing at the mouth for their first win in the Aviva Premiership this season. Their poor form binds them to the bottom of the table leading them to be, even at this early stage in the season, tangible relegation candidates. However, in all competitions over the last three matches, the Warriors have been scoring well and have been highly competitive in doing so.
In Northampton confidence may have been restored to Saints after their weekend slaying of the Dragons in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Nevertheless, it is, in all competitions, the Saints first win in their last six matches.
The last time the teams met it ended comfortably 24 – 14 for the Saints. This is one reason for the Saints remaining clear favourites, despite being on the road. However, if the same fixture last year is anything to go by (Saints won 17 – 18) this weekend should be a tighter affair.
With both sides hitting entertaining scoring form, this weekend's clash promises much to fans, but less in way of a hint as to who will come out on top.
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins - Sunday 19th November @ 1500hrs
Last season's champions welcome the Quins to Sandy Park this Sunday. Harlequins, who have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, finding themselves comfortably fifth, appear poised to begin climbing up the table. They are the second top scorers in the league this season with Marcus Smith the league's top scorer and are unlikely to be phased by the away day.
The comfortable victory the last time the pair met (9 – 20 Chiefs win), combined with the Chiefs league standing (2nd) make the Chiefs favourites to take another scalp. However, we are well into a fast-paced season where the Chiefs injury list continues to grow. Naturally, that puts a burden on their line-up and may leave a gap for the Quins to drive into and steal what would be a significant upset victory.
Both teams have significant prizes on offer for the victory. The Chiefs will be looking to keep up with the Saracens at the top of the table, while Harlequins will be hoping to slide into the playoff spots.
Saturday 18th November
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