Gallagher Premiership briefing: Team news and statistics

Joe Cokanasiga
Joe Cokanasiga

Team news and statistics ahead of the upcoming action in rugby union's Gallagher Premiership.

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Saturday, December 1

Bristol (11) v Leicester (6)

Bristol show nine changes from the side beaten narrowly by Wasps last weekend. Ian Madigan and Harry Randall form a new-look half-back combination, with Alapati Leiua and centre Siale Piutau also featuring. In the forwards, prop Yann Thomas has recovered from a leg injury, while hooker Harry Thacker and number eight Jordan Crane face their former club.

England prop Ellis Genge will make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury, while Jake Kerr is handed a start at hooker instead of an injured Tom Youngs (knee). Fly-half George Ford takes over the captaincy duties from Youngs, with Ford's England colleagues Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs also featuring.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last six league matches: Bristol L W L L L L Leicester L L W W L L

Top try scorers: Alapati Leiua & Harry Thacker (Bristol) 4; Jonny May (Leicester) 5;

Top points scorers: Callum Sheedy (Bristol) 78; George Ford (Leicester) 131;

Gloucester (4) v Worcester (7)

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann has made four changes for Worcester's visit to Kingsholm, with Wales international Owen Williams handed a start alongside Billy Twelvetrees in midfield, while there are also starts for prop Josh Hohneck, hooker James Hanson and flanker Jaco Kriel.

Wales wing Josh Adams features in the Worcester starting XV, and captain GJ Van Velze is also back after recovering from injury. Scrum-half Francois Hougaard is ruled out by injury, so Michael Heaney deputises, and flanker Sam Lewis is also sidelined with Matti Williams replacing him.

Last season: Worcester 25 Gloucester 15, Gloucester 24 Worcester 19

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

Top try scorers: Charlie Sharples (Gloucester) 8; Ryan Mills (Worcester) 4;

Top points scorers: Danny Cipriani (Gloucester) 62; Duncan Weir (Worcester) 95;

Northampton (9) v Newcastle (12)

England and Northampton co-captain Dylan Hartley will make his 250th appearance for the Saints as rugby director Chris Boyd makes seven changes following a narrow defeat against Sale last time out. Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar, Piers Francis and Ahsee Tuala are all back, while there are also starts for lock David Ribbans and flanker Jamie Gibson.

England back-row forward Mark Wilson returns for Newcastle following his successful autumn Test series, and wing Vereniki Goneva is also back after his international commitments. Elsewhere, lock Sean Robinson makes a first appearance of the season after recovering from injury, and prop David Wilson replaces an injured Jon Welsh.

Last season: Newcastle 25 Northampton 22, Northampton 22 Newcastle 24

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

Top try scorers: Piers Francis (Northampton) 3; Johnny Williams & Mark Wilson (Newcastle) 4;

Top points scorers: Dan Biggar (Northampton) 93; Toby Flood (Newcastle) 59;

Saracens (2) v Wasps (3)

Alex Goode lines up at fly-half for Saracens, with Wales international Liam Williams at full-back, while Williams' fellow returning internationals include wing Sean Maitland, scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth, hooker Jamie George and lock Maro Itoje as Saracens look to preserve their 100 per cent Premiership record this season.

Elliot Daly returns from England duty and captains Wasps at Allianz Park. Daly is partnered in midfield by Michael Le Bourgeois, with new signing Michele Campagnaro making his debut on the wing. Like Daly, Willie Le Roux, Brad Shields and Nathan Hughes are also back after the autumn Tests.

Last season: Wasps 15 Saracens 38, Saracens 38 Wasps 19

Last six league matches: Saracens W W W W W W Wasps W W W L L W

Top try scorers: Alex Lewington (Saracens) 7; Josh Bassett & Juan De Jongh (Wasps) 5;

Top points scorers: Owen Farrell (Saracens) 120; Lima Sopoaga (Wasps) 83;

Sunday, December 2

Bath (8) v Sale (10)

England wing Joe Cokanasiga is straight back into club action following his successful autumn campaign, while Bath also welcome back forwards Charlie Ewels, Sam Underhill and Francois Louw. Number eight Zach Mercer, meanwhile, makes his 50th first-team appearance.

Chris Ashton has recovered from a calf muscle injury and makes his Premiership debut in Sale colours, lining up at full-back, with Denny Solomona and Byron McGuigan on the wings. Josh Beaumont, meanwhile, makes his 100th Sale appearance in a team captained by flanker Jono Ross.

Last season: Bath 33 Sale 32, Sale 32 Bath 9

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

Top try scorers: Joe Cokanasiga & Tom Homer (Bath) 3; Marland Yarde (Sale) 3

Top points scorers: Freddie Burns (Bath) 80; Robert Du Preez (Sale) 107;

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