The Aviva Premiership is back in full swing over the Christmas period and it is time to make a move for teams outside of the all important play-off places at the top end of the log.
On Saturday there is just one match, where Northampton Saints will look to surge into the top three with a victory over struggling Bath at Franklins Gardens.
Bath desperately need to pull their socks up, as the historically strong side find themselves floundering near the foot of the table and in danger of ending up in the scrap to avoid relegation.
New Bath skipper Francois Louw will hope to inspire his side to a famous win over Saints for the perfect Christmas present.
The action returns on Monday for some Boxing day fun with two matches, while the final three games are on Tuesday giving the lads a chance to burn off the Christmas lunch.
In the biggest match of the weekend leaders Harlequins tackle second-places Saracens on Tuesday at Twickenham.
Sarries will be eager to narrow the gap between themselves and the log leaders, while Quins have the chance to stretch their already impressive lead.
We look at all the Round Eleven matches:
Saturday, December 24
Northampton Saints v Bath
(Franklins Gardens, 15.15)
Northampton Saints have won their last two games at Franklin’s Gardens – against Saracens and Castres, but their four match winning run in Aviva Premiership Rugby ended last time out at Leicester.
Bath Rugby have slipped to four straight defeats in all competitions, whilst their only victory in their last seven encounters since October was 16-13 at home to Montpellier on 20 November. Bath’s most recent away win was 13-12 at London Irish on 29 October.
The last five fixtures between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day. Bath’s only victory against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens since 1994 was 17-13 on 22 April 2000, although Bath did beat Saracens 37-30 there in the Premiership on 6 November 2004.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Vasily Artemyev, 13 George Pisi, 12 James Downey, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Scott Armstrong.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Ben Williams, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Francois Louw (captain), 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Ross Batty, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Will Tanner, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Referee: David Rose
Monday, December 26
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons
(Edgeley Park, 14.30)
Sale Sharks have won their last three games in all competitions. The Sharks have slipped to successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats at Edgeley Park, against Leicester and Exeter, but have not lost three in a row at home in the tournament since 2007.
Newcastle Falcons have won four of their last six matches in all competitions, and ended a four game winless run in the Premiership with their 26-25 home win over Gloucester in round ten. The Falcons’ only away victory since March came at Petrarca Padova in the European Challenge Cup on 19 November.
Sale’s only win in their last five encounters with Newcastle was 35-18 in this equivalent fixture in September 2010, whilst the Falcons have been victorious on three of their last five visits to Edgeley Park.
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou (captain), 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Vadim Cobilas, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Andrew Higgins, 23 Will Addison.
Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Luke Eves, 13 Corne Uys, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Suka Hufanga, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Jordi Pasqualin, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson (captain), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 Dan Frazier, 19 Adriaan Fondse, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Tom Catterick, 23 Jeremy Manning.
Referee: David Pearson
Gloucester v Wasps
Gloucester have won their last two games – against Connacht in the Heineken Cup – but in Aviva Premiership Rugby have been victorious in just one of their last five encounters: 24-19 at Exeter on 5 November. Gloucester have lost their last two Premiership matches at Kingsholm, but have not lost three in a row at the venue since 2005.
London Wasps ended a three game losing run with their 25-11 home win over Bayonne on Thursday. Wasps have not won away from home in the Premiership since they visited Worcester on 28 October.
Gloucester did the double over Wasps last season for the first time since 2007/08. Wasps only victory at Kingsholm since 2006 was 35-6 on 24 October 2009.
Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway (captain) 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Peter Buxton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Charlie Sharples
London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Joe Burton, 7 Matt Everard, 6 Richard Birkett, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Bob Baker, 18 Jeremy Castex, 19 Sam Jones, 20 James Harris, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Tom Varndell.
Referee: Greg Garner
Tuesday, December 27
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs
(Madejski Stadium, 13.20)
London Irish have won just one of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: 21-17 at home to London Wasps in round nine, this victory is also the Exiles only one at Madejski Stadium in their last four games in all competitions.
Exeter Chiefs are on a run of five successive wins in all competitions, including victories in their last two encounters away from Sandy Park, at Sale and Newport Gwent Dragons.
London Irish have won all four competitive matches they have played against the Chiefs, with all four games being played at different venues: The Avenue, County Ground, Sandy Park and Madejski Stadium.
London Irish: tbc
Referee: Dean Richards
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers
Worcester Warriors’ only defeat in their last five matches in all competitions was 9-15 at Exeter in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 3 December. The Warriors, however, have gained just one win from their last five Premiership encounters: 16-7 at home to Bath in round nine.
Leicester Tigers have suffered a single reversal in their last nine fixtures: 12-30 at Clermont Auvergne on 11 December. Tigers’ have won three of their last four away games in the Premiership.
Worcester’s solo triumph over Leicester since 2005 was 23-19 at Sixways in the Premiership on 8 March 2008.
Harlequins v Saracens
Harlequins’ only defeat in any competition since May was 10-21 to Toulouse at the Twickenham Stoop on 9 December. Quins have a perfect played 10, won 10 record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season, whilst Harlequins have won on their last two visits to Twickenham, both against London Irish.
Saracens have won their last three games in all competitions, whilst their only Premiership defeat since the opening round was 8-30 at Northampton on round nine. Sarries only victory in their last four visits to Twickenham was in last season’s Aviva Premiership Rugby final against Leicester.
Saracens have won their last four encounters with ‘Quins. The two teams have clashed once before at Twickenham, with Harlequins winning 24-21 on 6 September 2008.
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