Premiership Immortals - The Debate ShowAug 29
A fascinating weekend of Gallagher Premiership action in Round Four has set us up nicely for another brilliant slate of fixtures over the next few days.
Read on for all the information you need to know about all six games, including how to watch free highlights of each on BT Sport.
Friday 15 October
Saturday 16 October
Sunday 17 October
Friday 14 October
Sale Sharks 28-22 Harlequins - Watch replay
Sale inflicted Harlequins’ first defeat of the season after a see-saw encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The hosts scored the opening try through 20-year-old Raffi Quirke, although there were question marks over whether Kieran Wilkinson’s offload to Cobus Wiese in the build-up was forward.
Undaunted though, Tabai Matson’s men levelled as Danny Care drove over after his tap-and-go penalty caught the Sharks off-guard, with Marcus Smith converting.
Wilkinson then kicked a penalty before Jono Ross was sin-binned for a high-tackle – and the visitors took full advantage as Tyrone Green showed his electric pace to turn the contest on its head after the South African had latched onto a razor-sharp pass from James Chisholm.
Ross made immediate amends on his return to the pitch, touching down after Sale’s driving maul picked up too much momentum for Quins to stop.
Alex Sanderson’s side went in 17-14 up at the break, but they could not have anticipated what would happen when they returned from the changing rooms as Marcus Smith’s restart somehow missed Wiese and Luke Northmore sauntered into open space to ground less than 10 seconds into the half.
Crucially for Sale, Smith’s sliced conversion attempt kept them within two points of their opponents and after Wilkinson and Smith traded successful kicks, the outcome was still anybody’s guess going into the final five minutes or so.
After missing a match-winning penalty last weekend at Gloucester, Tom Curtis had the chance to put those demons behind and nailed his effort, giving the Sharks a one-point lead.
That advantage became six when Quirke scrambled over from close range as the north-west outfit moved up to fourth ahead of a trip to table-toppers Leicester Tigers next Saturday, while Quins, who sit second, will look to get back to winning ways against Bath at The Stoop the same day.
Saturday 15 October
Wasps vs Exeter Chiefs - 2.30pm (KO 3pm), BT Sport 2HD & Ultimate: Live stream
Two teams coming off the back of impressive Round-Four performances go head-to-head in our second live game of the weekend in a repeat of the 2020 Premiership final.
Returning to action after a bye in Round Three, last weekend saw Wasps end Northampton Saints’ perfect start to the Gallagher Premiership campaign with a 26-20 win in a thrilling Midlands derby.
Round Four - Highlights
Click here to watch the best bits of every Gallagher Premiership game from last weekend.
Thomas Young’s superb offload gave Dan Robson an easy score as the hosts took a 10-point lead with Jacob Umaga adding two penalties to cancel out Dan Biggar’s points from the tee.
Lewis Ludlam’s try got the visitors back into the encounter but two Jimmy Gopperth penalties kept Wasps ahead and it was enough to secure the win despite James Fish's last-minute try.
Exeter marked the return of a number of key players, including last season's top try-scorer Sam Simmonds, by thrashing Worcester at Sandy Park.
British and Irish Lion Simmonds picked up where he left off by scoring twice on his return, with brother Joe, Dave Ewers and Facundo Cordero also scoring for the Chiefs.
It was a welcome win for Exeter after a slow start to the season left them winless from their opening two games, but the Chiefs will make it three wins on the bounce if they can upset Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
“Going to Wasps is always a notoriously tough place to go,” said Simmonds. “We didn’t play well up their last season and we need to go and right some wrongs. It will be tough, it always is, but that’s kind of what you expect every week at this level.”
Exeter have won just twice in their seven previous visits to play Wasps in Coventry so know they'll be hard pressed yet again.
Worcester Warriors vs Leicester Tigers - 3pm
Early-season pacesetters Leicester Tigers will be hopeful of making it five wins from five when they travel east to face Worcester Warriors.
The Tigers preserved their perfect start to the season with a nail-biting win over London Irish at the Brentford Community Stadium to put themselves three points clear at the top of the table.
The Tigers trailed 16-12 heading into the final 20 minutes, but George Ford kicked them to victory in a tense encounter that proved they have the resolve to challenge for a first Premiership crown for nine years.
The Tigers have not begun a top-flight campaign with six wins out of six since 1994/95, when they went on to win a second English league crown.
Meanwhile their hosts on Saturday, Worcester, have slipped to three straight defeats in the league since beating London Irish on opening weekend.
Indeed, that win was Worcester’s only victory at Sixways in any tournament since November 2020, but there is fresh hope that the arrival of Scotland and Lions duo Rory Sutherland and Duhan van der Merwe could have a transformative effect on the Warriors fortunes.
The pair made their Premiership debuts against Exeter last weekend and head coach Jonathan Thomas has suggested it may take some weeks for them to regain full match fitness.
He said: "The biggest thing is that they got a hit out. They have only been with us for three weeks or so, so they are trying to get back up to speed after a break following the South Africa tour.
"It’s important that they get game time. They are both quality players and they will get better as the weeks go on."
Can the Warriors stun the league leaders to snap their three-game losing streak, or will Steve Borthwick's resurgent Tigers make light work of their Midlands rivals?
Newcastle Falcons vs Bristol Bears - 3pm
Out-of-form Bristol Bears will be looking to arrest their worrying early-season malaise when they travel north to face Newcastle Falcons.
Pat Lam's Bears, who led the league from pillar to post last season, are second from bottom after four rounds with just one victory to their name.
Bristol's only victory in their last five Premiership games was a narrow 25-20 win at home to Bath in Round Three.
Since then the Bears have lost their last two away games and could lose three in succession on their travels for the first time since 2018.
While this season has proved there are no easy games in the Premiership, the good news for Bristol is they have a relatively kind run of fixtures to get their campaign back on track.
After visiting Newcastle this weekend, the Bears have a bye week before back-to-back games against two Premiership strugglers in London Irish and Worcester Warriors.
Bristol have won their last four encounters with Newcastle, since the Falcons 39-27 victory at Ashton Gate in May 2017.
However, Dean Richards' men have lost just one of their last five home games at Kingston Park and will be quietly confident of adding to Bristol's woes this weekend.
Sunday 16 October
Bath vs Saracens - 2pm (KO 3pm), BT Sport 1HD & Ultimate - Live stream
There are ominous signs for the rest of the league that the Saracens machine is clicking into gear as we head into Round Five.
Last weekend saw the five-time winners fight back to claim a bonus-point win over Newcastle on their Premiership homecoming, to make it two victories from their opening three games back in the top flight.
The hosts were 17-3 behind after Mike Brown and Ben Stevenson touched down for the Falcons, but they closed the gap to 17-10 at the break and were superb in the second period.
Jamie George, Mako and Billy Vunipola all scored after the break to ensure Saracens marked their first home game since winning promotion in style.
If Saracens are on the up, then Bath are heading in the opposite direction.
The West Country outfit sit rock bottom of the table with three defeats from their first three outings, while their only victory at The Rec in any competition since April was against Northampton back in June.
After losing scrum-half Ben Spencer to injury, experienced half-back Joe Simpson has joined the Blue, Black and Whites on an initial three-month loan from Gloucester.
“We are delighted to bring in a player of Joe’s Premiership quality to our group,” Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper said.
“He adds great experience to our squad and will enhance competition for the nine shirt alongside Ollie, Max and Tom whilst Ben is injured.”
Saracens won 25-12 on their most recent visit to Bath in November 2019 to end a three-game winning run by the home side at the venue.
Who will emerge with bragging rights come Sunday afternoon?
London Irish vs Gloucester - 3pm
Gloucester earned their first win of the season with a 31-23 win over Worcester at Sixways thanks to an impressive second-half display.
Ben Morgan, Jason Woodward and Chris Harris all crossed the whitewash after the break and Scotland international Adam Hastings marked his debut for the club by kicking 16 points.
By contrast, London Irish haven’t won a game yet this season, losing three and drawing one, continuing a 10-game winless streak extending back to last season, going down 21-16 against leaders Leicester last time out.
The loss led head coach Les Kiss to admit the squad was "the most despondent we’ve been" after a game this season.
But it's not all doom and gloom because Irish have secured two try bonus points and three losing bonus points in those defeats, while their last two home games have been a narrow five-point reversal at the hands of the Tigers and a 31-31 draw with Sale.
Gloucester meanwhile have won their last two Gallagher Premiership matches after beginning the season with a pair of defeats.
The Cherry and White are bidding to win successive matches on their travels for the first time since since April 2019.
A third victory in five would consolidate Gloucester's place in the play-offs with Premiership juggernauts Wasps, Exeter and Saracens hot on their tail.