The fifth round of the 2021-22 Premiership will commence with a potentially fiery battle as Sale Sharks host defending champs, Harlequins, at the AJ Bell on Friday evening.
Quins are riding high after battering Bristol last weekend, 52-24, while Sale crashed to a 25-15 defeat to Exeter Chiefs. While it is expected that Quins will take this one, it is often good, competitive contest when these two sides meet and Sale, on their home turf, could bring a stiff challenge to their opponents.
Bristol will have to pick themselves up after their heavy defeat to Quins and do battle with Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park. Despite their loss to Saracens last weekend, the Falcons have exhibited some decent form of late, most notably, consecutive victories over Bath and Wasps. Bristol, who finished top of the table last season, have not been firing in this campaign, their only victory from their four outings coming against Bath in Round 3.
An intriguing match-up sees Wasps pitted against Exeter at the Ricoh Arena. Lee Blackett’s men kicked off their campaign with a bang, administering a commanding beating on Bristol, 44-8. Since that Round 2 clash, they fell to Newcastle before taking the scalp of the Exiles last weekend.
After a slow start, Exeter appear to be getting back to their lethal form of the past years. Their last act saw them power past Worcester 42-5 at Sandy Park.
Log-leaders Leicester will have the opportunity to make it five from five when they take on Worcester at Sixways. The Tigers’ latest victims were London Irish, while Worcester exhibited much room for improvement during their excursion against the Chiefs. All things considered, it seems logical to back Leicester to take this one.
Saracens travel to The Rec. Where they will tackle Bath. The latter enjoyed a bye in the last round and will be eager to make up for their most recent result; a 25-20 loss to Bristol Bears. Stuart Hooper’s men have yet to post a victory in the current campaign and the challenge this weekend will be a significant one. Saracens’ victory over Newcastle in Round 4 was a commanding one, especially as the game rolled into the second stanza. Bath will hope that their home-ground advantage will count heavily in their favour for this one.
The round will conclude on Sunday at the Brentford Community Stadium where London Irish will lock horns with Gloucester. The Cherry & Whites’ performance last weekend against Sale was an impressive one with a tight first half spilling over into a second characterised by creative, attacking play. Irish gave a good account of themselves against the Tigers in Round 4 with a thrilling contest that was, in the end, decided by the boot of George Ford. On their home turf, the Exiles will show no quarter to George Skivington’s men as the match takes shape.