With just four rounds of the regular season remaining, the finish line for this marathon 12-month campaign is almost in sight.

After an enthralling weekend of Premiership rugby that saw England captain Owen Farrell sent off for a controversial high tackle, table-topping Exeter Chiefs extended their lead at the top of the rankings.

Sale Sharks lead the chasing pack with a growing number of teams hot on their tails as the race for a top-four finish heats up.

Here we preview a full round of midweek fixtures with the play-off semi-finals looming large. 


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Bristol Bears 47-10 Northampton Saints

Tuesday 8 September, 7.30pm

Match replay – BTSport.com & BT Sport app

TV - BT Sport 1HD and BT Sport Ultimate

The home side had far too much for visiting Saints to handle as Harry Thacker, Alapati Leiua, Andy Uren, Chris Vui, Ben Earl and Piers O'Conor helped all scored during a rout at Ashton Gate.

Wasps v Leicester Tigers

Wednesday 9 September, 5.15pm

Live Stream – BTSport.com & BT Sport app

TV - BT Sport 1 HD and BT Sport Ultimate

Last weekend saw Wasps record a famous victory at Allianz Park to boost their top-four hopes in a match that was overshadowed by Farrell's red card for dangerous play.

With the scores level on the hour mark, Wasps' 18-year-old fly-half Charlie Atkinson was felled by Farrell's swinging arm, leaving the academy graduate pole-axed on the ground. 

Farrell's subsequent dismissal proved the turning point in the game as an in-form Wasps side ground out a 28-18 victory that cements the Midlanders' credentials as genuine title contenders.

The win was their seventh win in eight games under head coach Lee Blackett and with lowly Leicester in town on Wednesday, Wasps could close the gap on top-four rivals Bristol and Sale.

The Tigers face another daunting test just four days on from their defeat to second-placed Sale. 

Boyhood Tiger Manu Tuilagi made it a triumphant return to Welford Road, scoring a try in a 40-31 victory that leaves his former club languishing in eleventh, three points adrift of Worcester in 10th. 

"There are positives we can take out of it," said director of rugby Geordan Murphy, "this team will get stronger." 

Long-suffering Tigers fans will hope they see an improvement and fast with the start of the 2020/21 season just two months away.

Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester Rugby

Wednesday 9 September, 5.30pm

Live Stream – BTSport.com & BT Sport app

TV - BT Sport Extra 1 HD

This time last year Exeter and Gloucester were battling it out for a place in the final of the Gallagher Premiership. Fast forward 15 months and the fortunes of both sides could not be more contrasting. 

Exeter celebrated a decade in the top-flight with a sixth successive Premiership victory as they edged past Northampton at Franklin's Gardens last weekend. 

The game was ten years to the day since Chiefs marked their debut in the Premiership with a win against Gloucester and they have since emerged as the competition's dominant force in the form of a 15-point lead at the summit of the table.

Now Rob Baxter's prepare to face-off against the Cherry and Whites looking to extend their huge lead over the chasing pack. 

At the other end of the table, George Skivington's Gloucester are out of the play-off picture but they did virtually seal their Heineken Champions Cup spot for next season with a hard-fought 36-23 victory over London Irish at Kingsholm.

Gloucester's tries came from Ollie Thorley, Jack Stanley, Stephen Varney, Lloyd Evans and Louis Rees-Zammit - who continues to catch the eye on the wing. 

The 19-year-old is already being talked about as a potential Lions bolter for next year and is expected to be included in Wayne Pivac's Wales squad when the Six Nations resumes in October.

Sale Sharks v Saracens

Wednesday 9 September, 6pm

Live Stream – BTSport.com & BT Sport app

TV - BT Sport Extra 2 HD

Our Wednesday night coverage continues with a mouth-watering heavyweight clash at the AJ Bell as reigning champions Saracens travel to one of the leading pretenders for their crown, Sale.

Sarries will, of course, be without Farrell with their talisman facing a lenghty ban for his high tackle last weekend.

The club now face a nervous wait to hear the extent of his punishment.

The incident certainly overshadowed Alex Goode's 300th Saracens appearance, as he became only the fourth player to reach the milestone for the London club.

"I watched it [Farrell's tackle] live but have not watched it on the video," said director of rugby Mark McCall. "He was chasing his own kick and was desperate to make a tackle and clearly got it wrong and he got his red card.

"We have got plenty of good backs at the club so we will just rearrange our back line a little bit and get on with it."

Academy prospect Manu Vunipola is set to deputise at fly-half as Sarries travel to Salford looking to build winning momentum before their crunch Champions Cup quarter-final with Leinster.

Sale play host to Sarries just four days after dispatching Leicester to leapfrog Bristol into second place. 

It was a satisfying try-scoring return to Welford Road for Sale's marque summer signing Tuilagi, crashing over the whitewash in a thrilling 40-31 win.

"He [Tuilagi] wanted to play to exorcise a demon, and I think he did that by scoring a try," said Sharks boss Diamond.

"I see it [play-off race] going down to the wire. I think those who manage their squad best over the next week or so will get the ascendancy."

With five-time winners Saracens in town, Wednesday evening's Salford showdown will provide a fascinating barometer for Sale's Premiership title challenge.

Bath Rugby v Worcester Warriors

Wednesday 9 September, 7.30pm

Live Stream – BTSport.com & BT Sport app

TV - BT Sport 1 HD and BT Sport Ultimate

High-flying Bath will be looking to make it five wins from their last six games since the resumption when they welcome Worcester to the Rec.

Stuart Hooper's men are on the up and up after a victory over free-falling Harlequins left them on the cusp of the play-off positions.

The game was watched by a live crowd of 2,700 in what was the first time supporters have been allowed to attend a Premiership match since the five-month interruption caused by Covid-19.

Eddie Jones was one of those in attendance and the England head coach will have once again have been impressed by the clinical finishing of Bath's former Sevens winger Ruaridh McConnochie.

Picked as a bolter for the 2019 World Cup, the 28-year-old Olympic silver medallist suffered a drop in form upon his return from Japan but his post-lockdown haul of five tries in four games propels him into contention for the autumn.

The omens don't look good for Alan Solomons' Worcester, who were thrashed by the Bears at the weekend.

The Warriors' only win in the last eleven rounds came in a 29-14 at home to Harlequins two weeks ago, whilst their only away victory in the competition this season was also against the Quins back in November.

In contrast, Bath have lost just twice to the Warriors in their last fourteen Premiership  encounters, the most recent of which was 19-21 at Sixways in January 2019.

In fact, the Warriors have never won in fifteen previous visits to the Recreation Ground in all competitions.

London Irish v Harlequins

Wednesday 9 September, 7.45pm

Live Stream – BTSport.com & BT Sport app

TV - BT Sport Extra 1 HD

BT Sport's midweek package of live rugby wraps up with a huge London derby at the Stoop where Harlequins face the unusual scenario of being the away team.

London Irish have not tasted victory since the resumption and are winless in their last seven Premiership fixtures, gaining just two bonus points in the process.

Harlequins's fortunes have not been much better. Paul Gustard's men have only won once in the last four rounds of action and find themselves 14 points off the top four. 

It's a disappointing return for the Londoners who had slim hopes of making a late run for the play-offs when competition resumed in August. 

“Making the top four seems very tough now," said Gustard. "The top four are pulling away now and leaving people like ourselves behind.”

Irish lock horns with city rivals Quins on the back of a narrow defeat to fellow bottom-half dwellers Gloucester. 

"I was frustrated by our inability to finish off a number of chances," said Exiles director of rugby, Declan Kidney.

"I know we can be a lot better and will be so in the future but there were positives from us as we still fronted up in the set piece and in other areas against a strong side.

"There's definite improvement and we are going in the right direction but I'm disappointed that we conceded two tries from two set-pieces as we shouldn't be doing that."