Northampton v Wasps
There are few extra factors to consider this round – how teams will respond to the break, how returning Test players will be managed and as in this match, whether there will be one eye on the upcoming European fixtures.
Saints have won 7/8 home games this season by an average score of 30-17and the last 7 there against Wasps by an average score of 31-10. That is inflated by the 74-13 match last season but in the other 6 games it is still a healthy average of 24-10.
Wasps have been kept to 6,3,0,6,0 and 0 points 2nd half on their previous 6 visits to Northampton, while the hosts have won the 2nd half in 17/20 home games against all opposition in the league and by an average of 10 points.
Wasps have won 1/9 away games in the league this season by an average score of 27-22
There has been a card shown in the previous 10 Northampton games and 13 in 7 matches against Wasps since 2011-12.
Like the look of Saints -6 on the 2nd half handicap and Wilson, who has scored 7 tries in 15 games is 3.6 anytime scorer.
Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Corbisiero
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Dom Waldouck, 23 Ah See Tuala
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 James Downey, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Cannon, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan (c)
Replacements: 16 Simon McIntyre, 17 Phil Swainston, 18 James Gaskell, 19 Ed Jackson, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Glyn Hughes, 23 Will Helu
Leicester v Exeter
An accepted view of Leicester is that they usually finish a season strongly. Going back to 2008-09, they’ve won 25/30 matches from rounds 18-22 by an average score of 33-18.
They may have found scoring tries a challenge so far, but a run of 9 wins and a draw from 12 matches has put them in 5th place and back on course for a top 4 finish.
Exeter now represent a top 4 rival and knocked Leicester out the LV Cup in a home semi-final which will surely provide some extra motivation. Having recruited Waldrom last year and been rewarded with 13 tries in 17 games, the visitors have signed Parling for next year and possibly Salvi.
Leicester have 6 wins and a draw from their 8 home matches, by an average score of 22-15. They have won the 2nd half in 7/9 matches with the Chiefs – by an average of 12-5 and 19-6 at home.
Exeter have won 4/8 away games by 26-21. They have led at the break in 6 of those matches, by an average of 6 points and been outscored 2nd half in 6/8 matches.
Tigers to win by 1-12 points is 2.62 and they are -3 on the 2nd half handicap.
JP Doyle has shown 19 cards in 12 games. Exeter have lost 9/11 matches with him in charge, while Leicester have won 12 and drawn 2 of 18 with Doyle officiating.
Waldrom is 4.2 anytime scorer
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Sebastian de Chaves, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Vereniki Goneva
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Jack Nowell, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Dean Mumm (c), 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Carl Rimmer Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ben White, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Tom James
London Irish v Newcastle
With 5 matches remaining, London Irish are 28 points clear of relegation and Falcons 24. Factoring in the -638 points difference for London Welsh and it is 29 and 25. Attention may then have turned to the Challenge Cup and a route into the Champions Cup next year. The Exiles have a home quarter-final against Edinburgh while Falcons visit Exeter.
London Irish have won 2/7 home games this season by an average score of 19-22. They’ve been outscored 1st half in 6 of those 7 matches but just once 2nd half. Over a longer period, the hosts have led at halftime in just 2/16 home games – London Welsh this season by 10-6 and against this opponent last year by 28-0.
The visitors have won 1/8 away games this season by 27-18, with the victory coming at London Welsh. They’ve lost 6/7 trips to London Irish by 32-13, conceding 38 points or more on 4 occasions.
Referee Garner has given 7 cards in 3 London Irish games this season, with Aulika and Cross being penalised 9 times combined. Falcons have won 2/9 with him in charge and the hosts 4/15.
Will have a look at over 42.5 points – it is the St Patrick’s Party for the hosts and with both teams safe it might be an open game.
Sinoti has 7 tries in 16 games and is 3.2 anytime scorer
London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Tom Fowlie, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Conor Gilsenan, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Luke Narraway, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Topsy Ojo
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Kane Thompson, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Juan Orlandi, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Andy Davies, 22 Juan Socino, 23 Chris Harris
Saracens v Harlequins
Saracens have won 11 of the previous 12 matches against Harlequins by an average score of 26-14 and the last 5 by 32-12. The exception was in 2011-12, the season the Quins won the league and was the only example when they scored over 18 points in the last 6 years and the 2nd time they won the 2nd half.
The matches have tended to follow the same pattern – the Saracens defence suffocating Harlequins and then scoring off errors as their opponent force the play.
Both sides are lower on the table than in previous years, with Saracens in 3rd and 10 points off leaders Saints and Quins in 8th and 13 points off 4th spot – if points difference is factored in.
Quins have won 2/11 games against the teams above them in the league, by an average score of 26-15 and been outscored 1st half in 9/11.
There have been 16 cards in the previous 8 matches between the teams, with referee Barnes giving out 3 and 2 cards in the previous couple of games in the fixture. There has been an average of 1.3 cards per match for both teams this season, while Barnes games average 1.45 cards.
Saracens have won 9/9 league games with him as referee since 2010-11 by an average of 33-10 and conceded just 17 points combined 2nd half in those games. Harlequins have been officiated by Barnes more often in that period, winning 11/19 by 20-20.
Saracens are -6 on the 2nd half handicap and while 2 or more cards at 2.2 isn’t a huge price, it has landed in 6/7 games between the teams.
Care is 6.0 anytime scorer and B Vunipola 5.5
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 George Kruis, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Catalin Fercu.
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler (c).
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Matt Shields, 19 Netani Talei, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Charlie Walker.