RUGBY NEWS: Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 1 Preview
Matches to take place over 1 & 2nd September 2012
ROUND 1 FIXTURES
Saturday 1 September
- London Wasps v Harlequins (Twickenham, 2pm)
- Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks (Sandy Park, 3pm)
- Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints (Kingsholm, 3pm)
- Worcester Warriors v Bath Rugby (Sixways, 3pm)
- Saracens v London Irish (Twickenham, 4.30pm)
Sunday 2 September
- London Welsh v Leicester Tigers (Kassam Stadium)
ROUND 1 PREVIEWS
London Wasps v Harlequins
Referee: Greg Garner(36 Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Peter Huckle. TMO: Graham Hughes.
The new Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign begins with the ninth season of the London Double Header at Twickenham. London Wasps have a won4, drawn1, lost3 record in previous London Double Headers and are unbeaten in the last three, whilst defending Champions, Harlequins, have a very even W3, D1, L3 record in previous London Double Headers.
Wasps concluded their last campaign with four straight Premiership defeats. Harlequins lost just one of their final eight matches in the competition: 33-43 against Leicester at the Twickenham Stoop on 21 April. Quins have won their last five meetings with Wasps in all competitions, and have lost on just one of their last five visits to Twickenham.
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks
Referee: Andrew Small(72 Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce & Greg Macdonald.
Exeter Chiefs will be all out to preserve their opening day form, having won both previous round one clashes they have contested in Aviva Premiership Rugby. The Chiefs lost three of their last four games in all competitions last season.
Sale Sharks’ opening day reversal at Worcester last season ended a three game winning run in previous round one encounters. The Sharks ended a five game losing run on the road in the Premiership with their 24-19 victory at Gloucester on 21 April.
Exeter have won all four previous encounters between the two clubs.
Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints
Referee: Dave Pearson(165 Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Ian Tempest.
Gloucester Rugby have lost in round one of Aviva Premiership Rugby in three of the past four seasons, including the game at Northampton last year. Gloucester finished off last season with an unwanted run of six straight defeats.
Northampton Saints begin the season away from home for the first time since 2005, and have won their last five opening weekend fixtures. The Saints won four of their last five regular season games in Aviva Premiership Rugby last campaign.
Gloucester have won three of their last four clashes with Northampton, whilst the Saints have been victorious at Kingsholm just once since 2005: 27-14 on 19 September 2009.
Worcester Warriors v Bath Rugby
Referee: Luke Pearce(4 Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege & Kevin Stewart.
Worcester Warriors’ only previous win on the opening weekend in the Premiership was when they beat Sale 17-12 at Sixways last season. The Warriors finished off the 2011/12 Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with four straight defeats.
Bath Rugby have played away from home in round one every year since 1998, except for 2007, despite this they have won their opening game in four of the past five years. Bath won just one of their last six games in all competitions last season: 17-12 at home to London Wasps on 21 April.
Worcester have beaten Bath just once in their last ten meetings in all competitions since 2007: 16-7 at Sixways in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 25 November 2011.
Saracens v London Irish
Referee: Wayne Barnes(108 Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Davey & Robin Goodliffe. TMO: Trevor Fisher.
Saracens have a won3, lost5 record in previous London Double Headers, and have won just one of the last four such encounters. Sarries were victorious in their last three regular season fixtures in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season.
London Irish’s record in previous London Double Header clashes is won5, lost3. The Exiles won their last two games of last season at Worcester and at home to Gloucester. Irish have won only one of their last six visits to Twickenham: 33-16 over Saracens in this equivalent fixture in 2010.
Saracens have won their last three encounters with London Irish.
London Welsh v Leicester Tigers
Referee: JP Doyle(43 Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick & Andrew Watson. TMO: Geoff Warren.
London Welsh are participating in England’s top division for the first time and become the 20th different side to play Premiership rugby. The Exiles concluded last season’s RFU Championship campaign with four wins in their last five games. Oxford’s Kassam Stadium becomes the 31 new venue to host a Premiership encounter.
Leicester Tigers have lost their opening fixture in Aviva Premiership Rugby for the past three seasons. The Tigers won their last eight games of the regular season in the Premiership last year.
This is Leicester’s first visit to Kassam Stadium, whilst the club have not played in the city of Oxford since a visit to Iffley Road to take on the Dark Blues in 1994. The two clubs have met just once before in competitive rugby, a 43-3 win for the Tigers at Old Deer Park in the 3 round of the Pilkington Cup in January 1990, whilst the last time they met in a friendly was in December 1995 at Welford Road (Leicester winning 62-19).
HOW THEY FINISHEDIN 2011/12
Harlequins 25, Northampton Saints 23 (Twickenham Stoop)
Leicester Tigers 24, Saracens 15 (Welford Road)
Harlequins 30, Leicester Tigers23 (Twickenham)