Premiership Rugby 2021-22 team by team guide before kick-off

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Gallagher Premiership Rugby’s new season kicks off on Friday with an exciting meeting that sees the Saracens resume their top-flight life against the Bristol Bears after being promoted at the end of their last term.

Bristol Bears v Saracens will start at 7.45pm at Ashton Gate ahead of an action packed weekend in the Premiership.

The Harlequins, who are defending their Premiership crown after beating the Exeter Chiefs in the final at Twickenham after finishing fourth in the regular table, begin their campaign against the Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

And the Exeter Chiefs finalists will face a tough opening at the Leicester Tigers on Saturday.

And before the curtain rises for the new season, we gave an overview of the 13 teams – with no teams relegated last season due to the Covid pandemic – who will face each other in the Premiership this time around.








Gallagher Premiership Rugby season kicks off between Bristol Bears and Saracens on Friday
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Getty Images)




BATH

Land: Le Rec (capacity 18,000)
Rugby Director: Stuart Hooper
Last 5 seasons (2017-21): 5th, 6, 6, 4 (semi-finals), 7
With: Danny Cipriani (Gloucester)
With: Zach Mercer, Henry Thomas, Rhys Priestland, Will Chudley, Jamie Bhatti, Elliott Stooke, Jack Walker, Ross Batty
Prediction: Series underachievers will get stardust in their squad. Hope added with the arrival of Cipriani who always starts well. 8th
Title odds: 25-1

BRISTOL

Land: Ashton Gate (27,000)
Rugby Director: Pat Lam
Last 5 seasons: 12 (relegated), 1 (promoted), 9, 3, 1 (s / f)
Play in: Tom Whiteley (Saracens)
With: Ben Earl, Max Malins, Chris Cook, Siale Piutau
Prediction: Improved every year under Lam, although shocked by Quins in the June semi-final after finishing the season as top dogs. 4th
Odds: 5-1





EXET

Land: Sandy Park (13,652)
Rugby Director: Rob Baxter
Last 5 seasons: 2 (finalists), 1 (champions), 1 (r / u), 1 (r / u), 1 (champion), 2 (r / u)
With: Josh Iosefa-Scott (Waikato), Sean O’Brien (Connacht)
With: Tomas Francis, Alex Cuthbert, Elvis Taione
Prediction: Finalists from the past six years with an ingrained culture of excellence. Expect another postseason. 3rd
Odds: 9-4

GLOUCESTER

Land: Kingsholm (16 115)
Head Coach: George Skivington
Last 5 seasons: 9, 7, 3 (s / f), 7, 11
With: Adam Hastings (Glasgow)
With: Danny Cipriani, Willi Heinz, Matt Garvey, Tom Hudson
Prediction: He fell badly last season and is hoping Hastings can revive a resurgence. Lack of strength in depth. 12th
Odds: 50-1

HARLEQUINS

Land: Twickenham Stoop (14,816)
Senior Coach: Tabai Matson
Last 5 seasons: 6, 10, 5, 6, 4 (champions)
With: Tommaso Allan (Benetton), Huw Jones (Glasgow)
With: Mike Brown, Nathan Earle, Scott Baldwin (Worcester), Ben Tapuai, James Lang
Prediction: Sensational triumph last season, but will lose players to Rugby Test and face the battle to return the play-offs. 6th
Odds: 11-1








The Harlequins are the reigning champions ahead of the 2021-22 season
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PENNSYLVANIA)




LEICESTER

Land: Mattioli Woods Welford Road (25 849)
Head Coach: Steve Borthwick
Last 5 seasons: 4 (s / f), 5, 11, 11, 6
In: Freddie Burns (Japan), Juan Pablo Socino (Saracens)
With: Johnny McPhillips, Tomas Lavanini, Zack Henry, Ben White
Prediction: Borthwick are building an imposing squad which should improve on their sixth place finish from last season. 5th
Odds: 20-1

IRISH LONDON

Land: Brentford Community Stadium (17,250)
Rugby Director: Declan Kidney
Last 5 seasons: 1 (promoted), 12 (relegated), 1 (pro), 10, 9
In: Marcel Van Der Merwe (La Rochelle), Ben White (Leicester), Rory Jennings (Clermont)
With: Waisake Naholo, TJ Ioane, Blair Cowan, Tom Homer
Prediction: The move to Brentford has given the club a real buzz and they expect it to be stronger than the sum of its parts. 10th
Odds: 125-1





NEW CASTLE

Land: Kingston Park (10,200)
Rugby Director: Dean Richards
Last 5 seasons: 8, 4, 12 (rel), 1 (pro), 10
In: Mike Brown, Nathan Earle (both Harlequins)
With: Tom Arscott, Joel Matavesi, Cooper Vuna, John Hardie.
Prediction: Brown and Earle are serious signings that will add class to an already improving team. 11th
Odds: 150-1

NORTHAMPTON

Land: Franklin’s Gardens (15,200)
Rugby Director: Chris Boyd
Last 5 seasons: 7, 9, 4 (s / f), 8, 5
Plays in: Frank Lomani (Melbourne, Australia), Juarno Augustus (Stormers, SA), Chris Cook (Bristol).
With: François Van Wyk, Owen Franks, Harry Mallinder.
Prediction: Better last season but still not the strength they would expect from themselves. Dan Biggar returns to the helm after a bruised Lions tour. 7th
Odds: 25-1.

TO SELL

Field: AJ Bell Stadium (12,000)
Rugby Director: Alex Sanderson.
Last 5 seasons: 10, 8, 7, 5, 3 (s / f)
Players in: Tommy Taylor, Simon McIntyre (both Wasps), Nick Schonert (Worcester)
Players: WillGriff John, Jake Cooper-Woolley, Valery Morozov
Prediction: Improving year on year and under Sanderson can make it all the way to Twickenham this season. 2nd
Odds: 7-1

Buckwheats

Land: StoneX Stadium (10,500)
Rugby Director: Mark McCall
Last 5 seasons: 3 (s / f), 2 (champion), 2 (champion), 12 (demoted), 2 (pro)
With: Ivan Van Zyl (Bulls, SA), Ethan Lewis (Cardiff)
With: Ali Crossdale, Tom Whiteley, Juan Pablo Socino, Jonathan Kpoku, Michael Rhodes
Prediction: Back in the big time and with the shame of the salary cap behind them and the stars of the loan, all recalled should be great again. 1st
Odds: 9-4








The Saracens will desperately need a strong start as they return to the top flight on Friday
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Picture:

Getty Images)




WASPS

Field: Coventry Building Society Arena (32 609)
Head Coach: Lee Blackett
Last 5 seasons: 1 (r / u), 3 (s / f), 8, 2 (r / u), 8
With: Francois Hougaard (Worcester), Elliott Stooke (Bath), Ali Crossdale (Saracens), Nizaam Carr (Bulls, SA), Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes, NZ)
With: Will Rowlands, Lima Sopoaga, Tommy Taylor, Simon McIntyre, Kieran Brookes, Juan De Jongh
Prediction: The injury-plagued season has killed their 2020/21 momentum and it might take a while for the wasps to hit their straps. 9th
Odds: 25-1

WORCESTER

Land: Sixways (11,499)
Head Coach: Jonathan Thomas
Last 5 seasons: 11, 11, 10, 9, 12
Starred in: Duhan Van Der Merwe, Rory Sutherland (both in Edinburgh), Scott Baldwin (Harlequins), Owen Williams (Japan), Willi Heinz, Matt Garvey (both in Gloucester), Christian Judge, Will Chudley (both in Bath)
With: Duncan Weir, François Hougaard, Schonert, Cornell Du Preez
Prediction: Huge player rotation but hard to see even the arrival of two Scottish Lions keeping them out of the basement. 13th
Odds: 100-1


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