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Saracens 14:00 Wasps

Aviva Premiership: All 12 in action at 3:15pm on the final day of the regular season

Last Updated: 10/05/14 5:36pm

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Harlequins host Bath at The Stoop in a winner-takes-all shootout for an Aviva Premiership play-off place on the final day of the regular season.

Saracens, Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers are all certain of a place in the top four, while Harlequins – winners of their last four matches - head into round 22 aiming to usurp Bath and steal the last semi-final spot.

A dramatic 30-29 comeback victory against Exeter last weekend kept Harlequins’ hopes alive meaning they enter the final round just three points behind fourth-placed Bath, who have won three of their last five outings.

Nick Easter – who will equal Ceri Jones’ club record of 232 appearances - starts in a forward pack which sees two changes, with Maurie Fa'asavalu at blindside flanker in place of the injured Luke Wallace and George Robson partnering Charlie Matthews in the second row.

The lone change to the backline sees Mike Brown regain the full-back jersey after his late withdrawal from last weekend’s clash at Sandy Park.

Meanwhile, Bath head coach Mike Ford has made just one change to the starting XV that drew 19-19 with Northampton last time out with Eusebio Guinazu replacing the injured Rob Webber at hooker, while Tom Dunn comes onto the bench for Ross Batty.

Table toppers

Saracens travel to Welford Road knowing top spot in the Premiership standings is secure, but Leicester Tigers have plenty to play for despite securing a play-off berth last weekend.

Victory over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium last weekend ensured Leicester would finish in the top four, but they could still finish second, third or fourth dependent on results elsewhere.

The Tigers are currently four points behind second-placed Northampton Saints – who are currently on course for a home semi-final - while they hold a three-point advantage over Bath in the final play-off place.

England forward Tom Croft returns to the Leicester squad for the first time since the opening day of the season, while Steve Mafi and Louis Deacon are added to the pack.

After scoring twice last weekend, Toby Flood is restored in Richard Cockerill’s backline and there are also returns to the starting XV for David Mele and Blaine Scully.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has made a raft of changes with one eye on the knockout stages and their Heineken Cup final.

Jamie George will captain the side from hooker, while Hayden Smith make his first start of the season and there is a debut for England U20 international Maro Itoje at flanker, while Charlie Hodgson and Duncan Taylor are the only players to retain a place in the backs.

Home play-off

Northampton Saints host London Wasps at Franklin’s Gardens knowing a solitary point is enough to secure a home semi-final.

Saints could still be overhauled by Leicester Tigers for second place if they lose, but Jim Mallinder stands by his decision to rotate with an Amlin Challenge Cup final against Bath just weeks away.

George North, Christian Day and Lee Dickson all come into the starting line-up having recovered from their various knocks, while George Pisi, Kahn Fotuali’i, Samu Manoa and Tom Wood all drop to the replacements’ bench, replaced by James Wilson, Dickson, James Craig and Phil Dowson respectively.

Chris Bell returns to captain London Wasps - who have already secured a play-off for next season’s Champions Cup - and there are also starts for Guy Thompson and Jackson, while Dai Young has opted to rest James Haskell, Joe Simpson and Matt Mullan.

Sharp Sharks

Sale Sharks will aim to keep their historic run of five successive away victories going as they travel to the Madejski Stadium to face London Irish.

Fly-half Shane Geraghty returns to captain the hosts and there are also starts for Matt Parr, Mike Mayhew and Leo Halavatau in the front row, while James O’Connor makes his final bow before joining Toulon.  

Sharks director Steve Diamond has made six changes to his side, with Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor and Henry Thomas combining a new-look front row, while neither Dwayne Peel nor Danny Cipriani travel as Will Cliff and Joe Ford take their places in the starting line-up.

Relegation averted

With the threat of relegation averted, Newcastle Falcons welcome Exeter Chiefs to Kingston Park and there is little but pride on offer.

Dean Richards makes all three of his changes in the Falcons pack with on-loan Munster lock Ian Nagle making his debut, while props Gary Strain and Oliver Tomaszczyk also get the nod.

Buoyed by their impressive display against Harlequins, Exeter coach Rob Baxter also makes just three switches, with Ben Moon starting in the front-row in place of Carl Rimme and James Scaysbrook also joins the pack, while Henry Slade takes Gareth Steenson’s fly-half berth.


Relegated Worcester Warriors welcome Gloucester to Sixways and will be desperate not to become only the second side, after Rotherham in 2003/04, to go through an entire Premiership campaign without a home win and head coach Dean Ryan has kept the faith in his starting XV.

Meanwhile, Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies has opted for several changes to his starting line-up, with Nick Wood, Dan George, James Hudson, Steph Reynolds and Henry Trinder all earning starts with Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall and Billy Twelvetrees all ruled out.

MAGIC WEEKEND: The destiny of this season's Premier League title will be decided LIVE on Sky Sports this Sunday – just one piece of drama playing out on a wonderful weekend of sport. Add in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Sky Bet Football League play-offs, the Players Championship, La Liga title race and more and Sky Sports is the only place to be. You can upgrade to Sky Sports or buy a day pass through NOW TV to watch all this fantastic live action.
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Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 22

Nigel Davies: Left frustrated by defeat to already relegated Worcester

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