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England Premiership weekend preview: Heavyweight showdowns on the cards

This weekend throws up some exciting encounters in the Premiership, from derby clashes to teams battling for those all-important play-off places.

The action starts with two games on Friday evening in the West Country, before the weekend’s fixtures conclude with an intriguing clash in the East Midlands.

Bears facing uphill battle

WhatBristol v Sale Sharks
WhereAshton Gate, Bristol
When19:45, Friday 14th April 2023
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsBristol 6/5, Tie 20/1, Sale Sharks 8/11

Bristol will have to step up if they are to have a chance of overcoming Sale Sharks on Friday night at Ashton Gate.

The Bears’ defence was exposed in their last Premiership game as they suffered a 46-24 defeat to Leicester Tigers and conceded six tries in the process.

As for Sale, the Sharks will be looking for a response after their 36-18 defeat in their last league outing against London Irish.

Sale are looking to cement second place in the table and are 8/11 favourites to claim the win on Friday night at Bristol.

Points and pride at stake for derby clash

WhatGloucester v Bath
WhereKingsholm, Gloucester
When19:45, Friday 14th April 2023
How to watchPRTV Live
OddsGloucester  2/7, Tie 25/1, Bath 11/4

The points and bragging rights are up for grabs in Friday’s other game, as arch rivals Gloucester and Bath face off at Kingsholm.

Both sides find themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table, with the Cherry & Whites in ninth and Bath just one place behind them.

Gloucester have been on a poor run in the league, but gave a good account of themselves in their European Champions Cup defeat to La Rochelle.

The Cherry & Whites can build on that performance across the Channel and are 10/11 to win with a -9 Handicap.

Quins can’t afford any more mistakes

WhatHarlequins v Newcastle Falcons
WhereTwickenham Stoop, London
When15:00, Saturday 15th April 2023
How to watchPRTV Live
OddsHarlequins  1/8, Tie 33/1, Newcastle Falcons 5/1

If Harlequins are to return to the play-offs, then they can’t afford any mistakes when they play host to rock-bottom Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.

Quins were beaten 36-24 in their last Premiership game against Saracens and find themselves playing catch-up for a top-four finish.

Back on home turf and with England fly-half Marcus Smith pulling the strings, Quins will be hoping for a bonus-point win over Newcastle to keep themselves in play-off contention.

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Onus on Saints to claim victory

WhatNorthampton Saints v Saracens
WhereFranklin's Gardens, Northampton
When15:00, Saturday 15th April 2023
How to watchBT Sport 3
OddsNorthampton  4/9, Tie 20/1, Saracens 15/8

With Saracens already confirming their place in the top two this season, the onus is on Northampton Saints to claim the victory when they meet on Saturday.

Sarries' win over Quins means they can’t drop lower than second and will have a home play-off semi-final to look forward to.

However, Northampton need points to ensure their journey continues past the regular season and the Saints fans know it.

All tickets have sold out for this one at Franklin's Gardens and Northampton are 4/9 to claim a valuable win in their bid to secure play-off rugby.

Massive game at Welford Road

WhatLeicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs
WhereWelford Road, Leicester
When15:00, Sunday 16th April 2023
How to watchITV1 & BT Sport 1
OddsLeicester  2/7, Tie 25/1, Exeter 11/4

The weekend’s fixtures conclude with an intriguing battle at Welford Road as Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs go head to head on Sunday.

It’s so tight in the table that every point matters at this late stage of the regular season and both Leicester and Exeter need wins.

After a thrashing at the hands of Leinster in the Champions Cup last time out, it will be interesting to see how Leicester respond.

Exeter are the team on the up after a 42-17 win over the Stormers and the Chiefs are now at a price of 11/4 to do the business at Welford Road and get the win to keep their play-off hopes alive.

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