All the team selections are in for the long-awaited restart of the coronavirus-affected 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season which gets going this Friday in London, with other matches to follow across the weekend at Worcester, Exeter, Bath, Bristol and Northampton.

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With 2019 champions Saracens already automatically relegated to the Championship for the 2020/21 season as punishment for repeated breaches of the top-flight salary cap, the emphasis over the remaining nine rounds of matches will be on the race for the play-offs and whether current leaders Exeter can be reeled in by the chasing pack.

A total of 57 matches – 54 regular-season games and three in the play-offs – will be played between now and October 24. Here are your teams for the first half-dozen fixtures this weekend: 

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Former Scotland international Alex Grove guests in the latest episode of The Lockdown, the RugbyPass pandemic interview series

Friday, August 14

Harlequins v Sale Sharks (Twickenham Stoop, 7:45pm)

Referee: Luke Pearce (98th Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Paul Dix. TMO: Rowan Kitt. Citing Officer: David Guyan.

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Saturday, August 15

Worcester Warriors v Gloucester Rugby (Sixways, 12:30pm)

WORCESTER: 15. Melani Nanai; 14. Tom Howe, 13. Ollie Lawrence, 12. Ashley Beck, 11. Scott van Breda; 10. Billy Searle, 9. Francois Hougaard; 1. Ethan Waller, 2. Niall Annett, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Anton Bresler, 5. Graham Kitchener, 6. Ted Hill (capt), 7. Sam Lewis, 8. Matt Kvesic. Reps: 16. Beck Cutting, 17. Lewis Holsey, 18. Richard Palframan, 19. GJ van Velze, 20. Cornell du Preez, 21. Gareth Simpson, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Francois Venter.

GLOUCESTER: 15. Jason Woodward; 14. Ollie Thorley, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Jonny May; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Joe Simpson; 1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Jack Singleton, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Ed Slater, 5, Freddie Clarke, 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt), 8. Jake Polledri. Reps: 16. Henry Walker, 17. Logovi’i Mulipola, 18, Jack Stanley, 19. Matt Garvey, 20. Jack Clement, 21. Stephen Varney, 22. Tom Seabrook, 23. Louis Rees-Zammit.

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Referee: Christophe Ridley (23rd Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson & Wayne Falla. TMO: Keith Lewis. Citing Officer: John Byett.

Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers (Sandy Park, 2pm)

EXETER: 15. Stuart Hogg; 14. Tom O’Flaherty, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Olly Woodburn; 10. Joe Simmonds (capt), 9. Jack Maunder; 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Harry Williams, 4. Jonny Gray, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Jannes Kirsten, 8. Sam Simmonds. Reps: 16. Jack Yeandle, 17. Ben Moon, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Don Armand, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Gareth Steenson, 23. Ian Whitten.

LEICESTER: 15. George Worth; 14. David Williams, 13. Jaco Taute, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Jordan Olowofela; 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Tom Youngs (capt), 3. Dan Cole, 4. Tomas Lavanini, 5. Calum Green, 6. Harry Wells, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Jordan Taufua. Reps: 16. Jake Kerr, 17. Nephi Leatigaga, 18. Joe Heyes, 19. Hanro Liebenberg, 20. Luke Wallace, 21. Thom Smith, 22. Ben White, 23. Zack Henry. 

Referee: Tom Foley (77th Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald & Jonathan Healy. TMO: Stuart Terheege. Citing Officer: Buster White.

Bath Rugby v London Irish (Recreation Ground, 3pm)

BATH: 15. Anthony Watson; 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Josh Matavesi, 11. Ruaridh McConnochie; 10. Rhys Priestland, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Lewis Boyce, 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Charlie Ewels (capt), 6. Zach Mercer, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Taulupe Faletau. Rep: 16. Jack Walker, 17. Beno Obano, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Elliott Stooke, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Cameron Redpath, 23. Tom de Glanville.

LONDON IRISH: 15. Tom Parton; 14. Ben Loader, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Terrence Hepetema, 11. Ollie Hassell-Collins; 10. Paddy Jackson, 9. Nick Phipps; 1. Harry Elrington, 2. Motu Matu’u, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Ben Donnell, 5. George Nott, 6. Matt Rogerson, 7. Sean O’Brien (capt), 8. Albert Tuisue. Reps: 16. Matt Cornish, 17. Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18. Ollie Hoskins, 19. Sebastian de Chaves, 20. Blair Cowan, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Theo Brophy Clews, 23. Matt Williams.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (74th Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Robert Warburton & Phil Watters. TMO: David Grashoff. Citing Officer: Brian Campsall.

Bristol Bears v Saracens (Ashton Gate, 4:30pm)

Referee: Matthew Carley (93rd Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Jack Makepeace. TMO: Claire Hodnett. Citing Officer: Duncan Bell.

Sunday, August 16

Northampton Saints v Wasps (Franklin’s Gardens, 3pm)

NORTHAMPTON: 15. George Furbank; 14. Harry Mallinder, 13. Fraser Dingwall, 12. Piers Francis, 11. Ahsee Tuala; 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Alex Mitchell; 1. Francois van Wyk, 2. Mikey Haywood, 3. Paul Hill, 4. David Ribbans, 5. Api Ratuniyarawa, 6. Courtney Lawes, 7. Lewis Ludlam, 8. Teimana Harrison (capt). Reps: 16. Sam Matavesi, 17. Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18. Owen Franks, 19. Alex Coles, 20. JJ Tonks, 21. Henry Taylor, 22. Matt Proctor, 23. Taqele Naiyaravoro.

WASPS: 15. Matteo Minozzi; 14. Zach Kibirige, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Jimmy Gopperth, 11. Josh Bassett; 10. Jacob Umaga, 9. Dan Robson; 1. Ben Harris, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Kieran Brookes, 4. Joe Launchbury (capt), 5. Will Rowlands, 6. Jack Willis, 7. Thomas Young, 8. Brad Shields. Reps: 16. Gabriel Oghre, 17. Tom West, 18. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19. James Gaskell, 20. Sione Vailanu, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Lima Sopoaga, 23. Ryan Mills.

Referee: Karl Dickson (26th Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe & Hamish Smales. TMO: Graham Hughes. Citing Officer: Danae Zamboulis.

 

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