This week’s games start tonight when high flying Wasps travel to the North East to play a Newcastle team looking to get back to winning ways. Newcastle have made 3 changes to their squad with Witty, Fonua and Agulla all included. Wasps, who suffered defeat earlier in the season when the teams met, have rotated their squad with Eastmond, Bassett Thompson and Symons all included.
On Saturday, Bath will welcome back England flyer Anthony Watson, who has been out since suffering a broken jaw in October. Wilson, who has been named on the bench, will be looking at a return to the England squad for the upcoming Six Nations, other changes see Lock, Matt and Garvey returning to the starting line-up alongside Ellis and Mercer in the back row. Exeter’s only change is Sam Hill coming into the team for the injured Henry Slade.
Looking forward to Sunday and we see bottom club Bristol are looking to continue their good form, travelling north to the AJ Bell stadium to take on Sale Sharks. Bristol have only made one change, with centre, Palermo, returning to the team. Sale however have a number of changes, with James and Mitchell starting in the halves, they also see the return of skipper Beamount, Mills and centre Taitupou to the starting fifteen.
Leicester Tigers are also in action on New Year’s Day, against league leaders Saracens, for what is a massive game for the Tigers. They welcome back club captain, Tom Youngs, at hooker, Ben Youngs in the halves and England international Dan Cole at prop. For Saracens, their only change is with the former England international, Chris Ashton, claiming a starting spot on the week.
Northampton have included George North in their team to take on Gloucester at the Kingsholm on Sunday. North hasn’t played for almost a month, due to suffering concussion in early December. Apart from Mallinder being named on the bench, this is the only change to the Saints team. Gloucester on the other hand have rotated with Symons making his full debut at centre but Laidlaw, Sharples and Moriaty are among those that miss out.
Finally, to finish off the round, Worcester entertain Harlequins and will be looking to pull away from Bristol at the bottom of the table. After Boxing Day’s defeat, Worcester have made a number of changes, with Mills, Adams, Singleton and O’Callaghan added to the starting line-up, along with Alo, Olivier and Cavubatl on the bench. Harlequin’s, on the other hand, welcome back ex England skipper Robshaw into the pack and Alofa replacing Visser on the bench.