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London Irish 16:30 Harlequins

Aviva Premiership: Defending champions Leicester face Bath in one of three Saturday clashes

By Ben Hampshire - Follow me: @BH92.   Last Updated: 14/09/13 2:37pm

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Round two of the Aviva Premiership sees four games across Saturday and Sunday with Exeter Chiefs, London Wasps, Worcester Warriors, London Irish, Bath, Leicester Tigers, Saracens and Gloucester all in action.

Exeter Chiefs host London Wasps at Sandy Park on Saturday with both sides seeking their first win of the season.

Rob Baxter's Chiefs endured a disappointing opening weekend as they found themselves on the wrong end of a 38-11 drubbing from last season's runners-up Northampton Saints, leaving them at the foot of the table.

Wasps did earn a losing bonus point in their first-round clash, an agonising defeat when Andy Goode's overtime conversion attempt hit the post and ricocheted out to hand Harlequins a 16-15 victory.

There is only one change for Exeter as England Under 20s centre Sam Hill makes his Premiership debut at the expense of Matt Jess, who drops to the bench. Welsh international Craig Mitchell also gets a spot on the bench ahead of Carl Rimmer as one of the two options at prop.

Wasps head coach Dai Young welcomes back captain Chris Bell following his spell on the sidelines with injury. The outside centre slots back into the starting XV as one of three changes, with Josh Bassett replacing the injured Tom Varndell on the left wing while Ashley Johnson joins the back row of the pack.


London Irish make their way to Sixways on Saturday afternoon to face Worcester Warriors after both sides lost their round one matches.

Dean Ryan's Warriors were sunk 32-15 by defending champions Leicester Tigers, conceding four tries in the process. Josh Matavesi and Chris Jones did touch down for Worcester but it was not enough to prevent defeat as the Tigers title defence began in rampant fashion.

The Exiles also suffered teething issues on the opening day as they also conceded four tries to Saracens in the London derby. Flanker Kieran Low and winger Marland Yarde both raced in but the London Irish defence was no match for Sarries who claimed a 42-20 bonus-point victory.

Scrum-half Paul Hodgson lines up against his former club as one of four changes from the Worcester side which lost last Sunday. Props Paul Andrew and Euan Murray both start, while Chris Jones takes over from Dean Schofield in the second-row.

Former Scarlets wing Andy Fenby makes his first start for Irish, handed an opportunity in the number 11 shirt instead of Sailosi Tagicakibau. In the pack, Kieran Low moves from back-row to lock, with Jon Fisher at six while number eight Chris Hala'ufia making his 100th appearance for the Exiles.


Elsewhere on Saturday, defending champions Leicester Tigers travel to The Recreation Ground to face Bath Rugby as third plays fourth in the top-flight.

Bath overcame testing conditions in Newcastle last weekend as they beat the Falcons 21-0 at Kingston Park. Anthony Perenise scored the first for visitors before the referee awarded a penalty try to Gary Gold's men; while George Ford was not deterred by the driving rain as he slotted home 11 points from tee.

Further south, the Tigers began their defence in crisp style as Adam Thompstone, David Mele, Jordan Crane and Niki Goneva all bagged tries in a 32-15 victory over Worcester Warriors. Goneva's moment of solo excellence sealed the bonus point for Richard Cockerill's side right at the death as they started as they mean to go on.

Gavin Henson will make his first Premiership start for Bath as one of two changes to the side. Wales international Henson replaces Kyle Eastmond, partnering Jonathan Joseph in midfield, while the other switch sees flanker Guy Mercer replace Mat Gilbert.

Leicester head to The Rec accompanied by a lengthy injury list that sidelines the likes of Tom Croft, Geoff Parling, Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs and Mathew Tait. Centre Anthony Allen assumes the captaincy while Ed Slater, Sebastien de Chaves and Steve Mafi all get starts.

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