Big guns return for Leicester
September 20, 2013
Toby Flood returns to captain the Tigers © Getty Images
Round three of the Aviva Premiership kicks-off on Friday evening with Wasps travelling to Sale Sharks in search of their first win this season. The Worcester Warriors will also hope to pick up a victory under new boss Dean Ryan when they host Harlequins at Sixways.
On Saturday, the action shifts to Kingsholm where all eyes will be on winless Gloucester as they host Northampton. Elsewhere, Dean Richards returns to Welford Road with his Newcastle Falcons side and Exeter journey to London Irish. And on Sunday, Bath make the trip to Barnet to play the side currently holding the top spot in the Premiership, Saracens.
ESPNscrum brings you a run-down of all the latest team news ahead of round three.
Worcester Warriors v HarlequinsSixways Stadium, Friday, 1945 BST
Worcester will look to get their first win under Dean Ryan when they host Harlequins at Sixways. Ryan has made four changes from the side that fell to London Irish last weekend with Jake Abbott, Jeremy Becasseau, John Andress and Dean Schofield all starting.
Conor O'Shea has made a few changes to the team which lost to Northampton with Rob Buchanan, Will Collier and Tom Guest all starting. Nick Easter shifts to the second-row alongside George Robson with George Merrick providing the cover. Quins are already coping with an injury list including the likes of Nick Kennedy, Charlie Matthews, Ross Chisholm and Ollie Lindsay-Hague and they have received a further blow this week following the news Joe Gray is out until the end of November with a knee injury. Paul Doran-Jones and Jordan Turner-Hall are also unavailable with the latter potentially needing surgery on a hip injury.
Prediction: Quins by seven
Sale Sharks v London WaspsSalford City Stadium, Friday, 2000
Sale have recalled fly-half Danny Cipriani to their matchday squad for Friday night's after he sat out their opening two matches. In other changes for Sale, Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor, Kirill Kulemin and Robert Miller are all promoted from the bench with Eifion Lewis Roberts, Marc Jones, Johnathan Mills and Phil MacKenzie taking their places among the replacements.
For Wasps, they have called on ex-Sharks second-row Kearnan Myall and he will make his debut for the Adams Park side alongside Joe Launchbury, with Tom Palmer out of the mix through injury. Myall's inclusion is one of four changes to the side that lost to Exeter with Ben Jacobs and Charlie Davies starting while Carlo Festuccia makes his debut. On the bench, Nathan Hughes and Joe Carlisle are included.
Prediction: Sale by three
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle FalconsWelford Road, Saturday, 1500
Manu Tuilagi starts for Leicester © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers welcome back Toby Flood, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi for the Falcons will all three making their first appearances of the season. Lock Graham Kitchener also returns and there are first starts for summer signings Jamie Gibson in the back-row and American international full-back Blaine Scully. Another summer signing, prop Tom Bristow, is selected among the replacements alongside British & Irish Lions trio Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Geoff Parling.
For the Falcons, Rory Clegg starts at fly-half and partners Warren at half-back while James Fitzpatrick replaces the injured Danny Barnes in the centres. Matt Thompson drops to the bench to make wake way for Rob Vickers at hooker, and former Leicester man Kieran Brookes replaces Oliver Tomaszczyk at tighthead, who is ruled out through illness. Carlo del Fava gets the nod at second-row while Mark Wilson and Chris York round off the changes in the back-row.
Prediction: Tigers by 20
London Irish v Exeter ChiefsMadejski Stadium, Saturday, 1500
London Irish make three changes which see Fergus Mulchrone partnering Eamonn Sheridan in the centres with Declan Danaher and Bryn Evans joining Ofisa Treviranus in the back row. Tomás O'Leary continues as captain with new signing Ian Nimmo on the bench.
Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has been forced to tinker with his team as Dave Ewers has been ruled out with a hamstring problem. Tom Johnson starts at No.8 while Ben White is brought in for his first start of the season. White's void on the bench is filled by Kai Horstmann, while the other change sees Carl Rimmer replace Craig Mitchell.
Tom Johnson shifts to No.8 for Exeter © Getty Images
Prediction: Exeter by five
Gloucester Rugby v Northampton SaintsKingsholm, Saturday, 1515
Elliott Stooke makes his first Premiership start for Gloucester and partners Tom Savage in the second-row. In other changes Dan Murphy starts in place of the suspended Nick Wood at loosehead prop, and Jimmy Cowan get the nod at scrum half replacing Tavis Knoyle. On the bench, Shaun Knight and Jonny May are both named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.
Northampton rest Alex Corbisiero as part of the EPS agreement with Alex Waller starting. Wing Jamie Elliott makes his first Premiership start of the season, while Ken Pisi and Courtney Lawes start on the bench.
Prediction: Saints by five
Saracens v Bath RugbyAllianz Park, Sunday, 1400
England fullback Alex Goode returns to the Saracens line-up for the first time this season while Mako Vunipola and Schalk Brits make their first starts of the campaign. George Kruis come into the team replacing Alastair Hargreaves who drops to the bench. Scotland captain Kelly Brown and scrum-half Neil De Kock have been named among the replacements with both returning from injury.
Bath drop George Ford to the bench with Tom Heathcote starting at fly-half. Martin Roberts and Alafoti Fa'osiliva get their first starts for the club at scrum-half and openside respectively while Matt Banahan shifts into the centres to partner Gavin Henson. Tom Biggs gets the nod on the flank in Banahan's place while Anthony Perenise starts at loose-head. Dominic Day partners Stuart Hooper in the second-row.
Prediction: Saracens by seven
Alex Goode returns from injury for his first start of the season © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery