Aviva Premiership briefing

  • Last Updated: December 23 2013, 15:23 GMT

Team news and statistics for the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership.

Billy Twelvetrees: Starts at fly-half for Gloucester
Billy Twelvetrees: Starts at fly-half for Gloucester

Saturday, December 21

Bath (3) v Harlequins (4)

Bath welcome seven internationals back to their starting line-up, including England men Rob Webber and Dave Attwood in the pack. Ireland stalwart Peter Stringer starts at scrum-half, with George Ford his half-back partner.

Saracens' on-loan hooker Max Crumpton takes a seat on the bench for Harlequins, with three of the club's four hookers currently out injured. Paul Doran-Jones slots in at tighthead prop for Harlequins, while Karl Dickson replaces Danny Care, who misses out with a knock.

Last season: Harlequins 23 Bath 9, Bath 21 Harlequins 18

Last six league matches: Bath W L W W W W Harlequins L L W W W W

Top tryscorers: Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath) 4; Danny Care (Harlequins) 4

Top pointscorers: George Ford (Bath) 151; Nick Evans (Harlequins) 141

Exeter (6) v Newcastle (9)

Prop Ben Moon will make his 100th Exeter appearance, with full-back Luke Arscott racking up a century of league turns. Exeter are aiming to avoid setting a new and unwanted Sandy Park record of three consecutive defeats.

Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair returns for Newcastle, in a side showing six changes.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last six league matches: Exeter L W W W L L Newcastle L W W L L L

Top tryscorers: Dean Mumm (Exeter) 5; Mike Blair, Adam Powell & Adam Powell (Newcastle) 1

Top pointscorers: Gareth Steenson (Exeter) 132; Rory Clegg (Newcastle) 75

Saracens (1) v Leicester (5)

Jack Wilson replaces David Strettle on the wing for Saracens, while Alex Goode and Chris Ashton complete the back-three. Duncan Taylor is sidelined with ankle trouble, so Chris Wyles starts at inside centre, with Owen Farrell at fly-half.

Mathew Tait returns after ankle trouble for Leicester's first-ever trip to Saracens' Allianz Park stadium.

Last season: Leicester 27 Saracens 32, Saracens 9 Leicester 9

Last six league matches: Saracens W W L W W W Leicester W D L L W W

Top tryscorers: David Strettle (Saracens) 6; Vereniki Goneva (Leicester) 3

Top pointscorers: Owen Farrell (Saracens) 166; Toby Flood (Leicester) 93

Wasps (7) v Northampton (2)

Ashley Johnson starts after three weeks out injured, alongside Sam Jones and James Haskell in Wasps' back row. Charlie Davies and Andy Goode are fit to reprise their half-back pairing for the hosts.

Kahn Fotuali'i, Mike Haywood and Sam Dickinson are Northampton's changes, slotting in for Lee Dickson, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes. Samu Manoa shifts up to lock to accommodate Dickinson at number eight.

Last season: Wasps 24 Northampton 26, Northampton 24 Wasps 6

Last six league matches: Wasps W L W W L W Northampton W D W W W W

Top tryscorers: Christian Wade (Wasps) 5; Samu Manoa (Northampton) 4

Top pointscorers: Andy Goode (Wasps) 98; Stephen Myler (Northampton) 128

Sunday, December 22

Gloucester (10) v Worcester (12)

Billy Twelvetrees will start at fly-half for Gloucester, with off-colour England playmaker Freddie Burns removed from the firing line with a seat on the bench. Twelvetrees continues as captain with Tom Savage sidelined for several months after surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Mike Tindall starts at inside centre with Henry Trinder at 13. Tonga prop Sila Puafisi will make his full debut at tighthead.

Winless Worcester field fit-again centurions Chris Pennell and Alex Grove who have both committed their futures to the Warriors in the last fortnight. Former Gloucester boss Dean Ryan will be back at Kingsholm in a coaching capacity for the first time since his acrimonious Cherry and Whites departure in 2009.

Last season: Gloucester 29 Worcester 23, Worcester 16 Gloucester 16

Last six league matches: Gloucester W L L L L L Worcester L L L L L L

Top tryscorers: Jonny May (Gloucester) 4; David Lemi & Ignacio Mieres (Worcester) 2

Top pointscorers: Freddie Burns (Gloucester) 108; Ignacio Mieres (Worcester) 71


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