It is crazy to think that this weekend will take us over a quarter of the way through the Aviva Premiership Rugby season and it is already shaping up to be a thrilling campaign.
Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons were unlikely to be many people’s tips to occupy the top two spots at this stage but their electric form is further evidence of the strength in depth throughout the league.
And the big games just keep on coming, with six enticing match-ups ready to see you through Round Six.
Hungry Harlequins hope to stop rot
Beating Wasps on the road is an impressive result but Harlequins have failed to kick on since they emerged from the Ricoh Arena with the points.
The Londoners have suffered back-to-back losses to Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints, but they have not lost three on the spin in four years.
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) October 5, 2017
John Kingston is hoping international class will aid his cause against an in-form Sale Sharks, with Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw both back in the team.
They face a Sale side brimming with confidence following their 57-10 win against Gloucester Rugby last week.
That was the Sharks’ biggest win in the competition since 2004, and they have made just one change to their side with Marc Jones replacing Rob Webber at hooker.
Bath seek home comforts
Bath Rugby have claimed three wins this season but two of those have come away from the Rec.
Newcastle Falcons secured a stunning win in the West Country in their last home game and Todd Blackadder’s men will be desperate to put that right against a Worcester side at the bottom of the table.
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) October 6, 2017
The Warriors are yet to win this season but the formbook is not on their side. They have lost their last 15 away games and have never tasted success at the Rec.
But they do have proven quality pulsing through their ranks and Dean Hammond returns to form an exciting back three partnership with Josh Adams and Chris Pennell.
Bath have been involved in several thrillers so far this season so expect the points to flow again.
Newcastle aim to emulate Exeter’s rise
On Saturday afternoon an in-form, exciting and up-and-coming team will take to the pitch at Sandy Park – but it will not be the home side.
Exeter Chiefs are now part of the established elite in the Aviva Premiership, their transformation from newcomers to heavyweights complete.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) October 5, 2017
Newcastle Falcons seem to have taken their title as the new big thing and they have captured the imagination so far this season with their attacking style endearing them to fans far and wide.
They sit second in the table but face an almighty task against an Exeter side that is used to winning at home.
The Chiefs have won their last ten games in front of their own fans but Newcastle have won their last three on the road. Something has to give.
Gloucester bid to bounce back
Gloucester Rugby shipped 57 points to Sale last weekend and only once have they conceded more – unfortunately for them that was against Saturday’s opponents Northampton Saints.
Northampton won 58-21 against Gloucester in 2002 and they have the confidence to do something similar this weekend.
“We get to put things right a week later…”
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) October 6, 2017
Jim Mallinder’s side have been outstanding so far and sit top of the table with four wins in a row following their London Double Header defeat against Saracens.
Northampton are also unbeaten in nine encounters against Gloucester, but the home side have plenty of reasons to confident.
All five of their matches this season have been won by the home side, including a mightily-impressive victory against Exeter on the opening day.
Can Leicester continue Irish dominance?
Leicester Tigers have responded superbly to their disappointing start to the new season with three consecutive wins against Gloucester, Harlequins and Exeter.
They visit the Madejski Stadium, a place where they have won on their last seven visits, full of confidence – although boss Matt O’Connor has made multiple changes.
It appears some Christmas 🎄🥂 Party planning is taking place at Welford Road today❗️
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) October 6, 2017
Gareth Owen and Dan Tuohy make their Tigers debuts, while George McGuigan and Sam Harrison make their first starts of the season.
Irish are set for just their second home game of the campaign following three away trips and the London Double header at Twickenham.
Super Saracens look for 18 in a row
Last season Wasps led from the off on their way to finishing top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, but this season already looks a harder challenge.
Three defeats on the spin have left Dai Young’s men eighth in the table ahead of Sunday’s trip to Allianz Park, where Saracens have won their last 17 games.
🍺🍔🌭 – Discover the amazing food and drink options at Allianz Park this Sunday with our interactive game day map!
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) October 6, 2017
The Champions Cup holders have won four of their five games so far and sit third in the table with a 31-21 loss at Bath the only blemish on their copybook.
They look poised for a strong run again.