Aviva Premiership
All eyes back on the Premiership
Tom Hamilton
March 22, 2014
Saracens entertain Harlequins at Wembley for the first time since 2012 © Getty Images

The 2014 Six Nations has been and gone and the focus returns to the Aviva Premiership. Players will have to park any championship-induced fatigue and turn their attention to the season run-in. The top two have pulled away from the rest of the chasing pack but there are still play-off spots up for grabs.

Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints

Saturday, 14.00, AJ Bell Stadium

Form: Sale Sharks (home) LWWWL ; Northampton Saints (away) WWWWW

Sale's last foray in the Premiership saw them secure a valuable away win at Wasps which has given them an eight point buffer from their spot in sixth to Wasps in seventh. They are in the driving seat for a spot in the new-look European tournament next season while Saints are closing in on a home Premiership semi-final as they look to bounce back from their LV= Cup final loss to Exeter last weekend.

Team News

  • Northampton have won their last 11 Premiership matches since drawing 19-19 at East Midlands rivals Leicester in October. It is their best ever winning run in the competition.
  • The Sharks have a poor record against the Saints having won just one of their last 10 matches.

Gloucester Rugby v Newcastle Falcons

Saturday, 15.00, Kingsholm

Form: Gloucester Rugby (home) LLWLW ; Newcastle Falcons (away) LLLLL

It is fair to say things have not quite gone to plan at Kingsholm this season. They find themselves in ninth; prior to the start of the season they were tipped to be play-off contenders. There is still time for Gloucester to force their way into the top six and will look to get maximum points against a Falcons side who last won in the Premiership back in October.

Team News

  • Gloucester have won their last two games at Kingsholm in all tournaments - another victory will give them their best run at home in 12 months.
  • The Falcons have won only once at Gloucester since 1998. That came during the 2011-12 season when the Falcons beat Gloucester 29-20.

Saracens v Harlequins

Saturday, 15.15, Wembley Stadium - Live on BT Sport

Form: Saracens (home) WWWLW ; Harlequins (away) WWLLL

Saracens will be chasing a world record attendance at Wembley this weekend but more important than that or the club will be four points against Quins. They are currently two points off the Saints at the top of the tree but will take some heart from their impressive win at Bath in the last round of the Premiership. Harlequins have opted to rest their England players for a further game but will hope to upset the party at the home of football.

Team News

Exeter Chiefs captain Dean Mumm lifts the 2013-14 LV=Cup, Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints, LV=Cup, Sandy Park, England, March 16, 2014
Can Exeter build on their LV= Cup success? © Getty Images

  • Saracens are without a win on their last three visits to Wembley Stadium since defeating Ospreys there 31-26 in the Heineken Cup in December 2011.
  • Harlequins have played twice before at Wembley, both against Saracens in the Premiership in 2010 and 2012, with each side registering one victory.

London Irish v Bath

Saturday, 17.30, Madejski Stadium - Live on BT Sport

Form: London Irish (home) LLLWL ; Bath (away) WWLDW

London Irish have started to build ahead of next season with the announcement of James Short's signing this week but they will still want to finish the current campaign on a high. They lie in 10th but are 21 points clear of Worcester. For Bath, they will want to continue their push for a spot in the play-offs after Saracens gave them a lesson in clinical rugby in the last round of the tournament.

Team News

  • Bath have lost their last two matches in all tournaments, both at the Rec, to Saracens in the Premiership and Exeter in the LV= Cup but they have not lost three successive first team games since April 2012.
  • The only London Irish victory in their last eight encounters with Bath since 2009 was 29-22 at Reading in September 2012.

Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs

Sunday, 15.00, Welford Road - Live on BT Sport

Form: Leicester Tigers (home) LWWDW; Exeter Chiefs (away) WLLLL

Leicester have received a timely boost with the return of their England contingent and they will hope to have other sidelined stars back soon to help bolster their end of season charge. Exeter will be riding the crest of the wave after their LV= Cup final win over Northampton and will hope to carry that form into the Premiership.

Team News

  • Leicester Tigers have won their last four matches and are unbeaten in their last six Premiership games.
  • Exeter's only two victories at Welford Road came against Nottingham in the Championship in November 2009 and against the Tigers themselves in September 2011.

Northampton Saints 16 14 1 1 429 228 +201 5 1 6 64
Saracens 16 14 0 2 436 223 +213 6 0 6 62
Bath Rugby 16 11 1 4 355 278 +77 2 1 3 49
Leicester Tigers 16 10 2 4 355 311 +44 3 2 5 49
Harlequins 16 10 0 6 297 240 +57 2 3 5 45
Sale Sharks 16 9 0 7 292 279 +13 2 5 7 43
London Wasps 16 6 0 10 308 321 -13 2 9 11 35
Exeter Chiefs 16 7 0 9 296 290 +6 1 5 6 34
Gloucester Rugby 16 5 0 11 274 379 -105 1 6 7 27
London Irish 16 5 0 11 251 323 -72 0 6 6 26
Newcastle Falcons 16 3 0 13 155 357 -202 0 4 4 16
Worcester Warriors 16 0 0 16 196 415 -219 0 5 5 5

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.

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