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English Premiership weekend preview: Some cracking contests at the turn of the year

With the Premiership action for 2022 drawing to a close there are some mouthwatering contests to look forward to this weekend.

Manchester, London, Newcastle and Northampton will all play host to what should be some thrilling clashes at the turn of the year.

Title contenders meet in Manchester

What: Sale Sharks v Leicester
Where: AJ Bell Stadium, Manchester
When: 19:45, Friday 30th December 2022
How to watch: BT Sport 1
Odds: Sale Sharks 1/2, Leicester 17/10

All eyes will be on the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night as two of this season's title contenders in Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers go head to head.

Leicester have begun a new era following the loss of head coach Steve Borthwick to the England job and ran out 28-13 winners in their last outing against Gloucester.

The Tigers moved up into fourth place with that win over the Cherry & Whites but the reigning champions will face a much sterner test when they make the trip to AJ Bell Stadium.

Sale will be determined to get back to winning ways after suffering just their third defeat of the Premiership season with a shock loss at Newcastle Falcons last time out.

The Sharks have been formidable on home soil this season and are justified favourites at 1/2 to claim the victory against the Tigers on Friday night. 

Pick of the weekend games at StoneX Stadium

What: Saracens v Exeter Chiefs
Where: StoneX Stadium, London
When: 15:00, Saturday 31st December 2022
How to watch: BT Sport 2
Odds: Saracens 4/11, Exeter Chiefs 11/5

Saracens and Exeter Chiefs have played out some massive games over recent years and all their stars are set to be on show once again when they meet at StoneX Stadium on Saturday.

Sarries suffered their first defeat of the league campaign last time out as they were stunned by London Irish with a 29-20 defeat.

Meanwhile, Rob Baxter's Exeter will head into this encounter on the back of a 20-15 win over a Bath side that made the encounter far tighter than expected at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs were far from convincing against Bath and it will take a special performance to overcome Sarries on their own patch this weekend.

After that loss to the Exiles at the Gtech Community Stadium, expect a Saracens backlash on Saturday.

Intriguing battle at the bottom

What: Bath v Newcastle Falcons
Where: The Recreation Ground, Newcastle
When: 15:00, Saturday 31st December 2022
How to watch: PRTV
Odds: Bath 2/5, Newcastle Falcons 2/1

While there will be no relegation from the Premiership this season, all sides are determined to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of the standings this term.

Bath currently occupy bottom spot but have a chance to climb the standings as they prepare to face Newcastle at The Rec.

In a week in which Scotland centre Cameron Redpath put pen to paper on fresh terms at the club, Bath will be looking to make home advantage count when Newcastle arrive.

The Falcons will be buoyed by their success against Sale and this has the makings of a tense classic at The Rec.

Related Rugby Union News

Rugby Union: Steve Borthwick excited by England challenge

English Premiership weekend preview: Sarries seek a perfect 10

Saints and Quins set to put on New Year's Day show 

What: Northampton v Harlequins
Where: Franklin's Gardens, Northampton
When: 15:00, Sunday 1st January 2023
How to watch: BT Sport 1
Odds: Northampton 4/7, Harlequins 11/8

A great game to kick start the New Year, expect more fireworks when Harlequins make the trip to Northampton Saints on Sunday.

Saints have endured a tough run of late after a Premiership defeat to Gloucester was followed by back-to-back losses in the Champions Cup against La Rochelle and Munster.

Northampton were last in action on 18th December with that defeat to Munster and will be much fresher than the Quins side that lost to Bristol Bears in wet and windy conditions on 27th December at the Twickenham Stoop.

That freshness might well play a role in a game that should have plenty of tries.

This encounter at Franklin's Gardens is likely to be a tight but high-scoring encounter, with Northampton at 10/11 to win with -3 in the Handicap market. 

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