Premiership Rugby Cup – Round Two Preview

Long seen as a proving ground for upcoming talent, the Anglo-Welsh Cup has been replaced this season by a new-look tournament. This weekend once again features Premiership Rugby Cup action with Round Two matches…

Friday night will kick off the weekend’s fixtures as Bristol host Gloucester at Ashton gate, while Saracens will head to Salford to take on Sale Sharks.

Last weekend, Gloucester put in a strong performance against Wasps, bagging four tries in sixteen minutes, claiming a 31-7 victory and a maximum five points for their efforts. The Bears meanwhile couldn’t hold back an invigorated Northampton, suffering a 51-24 loss at Franklin’s Gardens. The last time the teams met, the Cherry and Whites came away with an assured 35-13 victory against Bristol after coming back from behind at half-time.

Saracens got off to a winning start last Saturday as they fought off Leicester in a thrilling 29-21 game. The Sharks, however, had less luck in their opening game of the tournament, taking a bruising from a confident Worcester outfit, losing 35-3. Saracens have won every game in every competition this season and will be a daunting prospect for Sale going into the weekend.  

Saturday’s double-header will begin at Sandy Park as Exeter go head to head with Bath. Exeter struggled last week, and had to settle for a draw after coming back from 22-10 down against Newcastle. Similarly, Bath will be looking for redemption this week after suffering a 27-19 loss at home against Harlequins. Bath have lifted the cup a record ten times but were denied an eleventh last season by Exeter Chiefs.

Next up on Saturday, at 3pm, Leicester will battle Worcester at Welford Road. The teams last met only a month ago at Tigers’ home ground, with Worcester managing to pull off a 44-37 win in the Gallagher Premiership. Worcester are coming into the game with four wins on the bounce, while Leicester have won only four of their nine games this season.

Sunday’s action kicks off as Newcastle head south to the Twickenham Stoop to take on Harlequins while Wasps host Northampton at the Ricoh.

The Falcons haven’t faced the Quins since February, where they managed to pull off a victory at the Stoop, winning 28-10. Harlequins have had a tough season so far, having lost more than half of their games across all tournaments, but will be hoping to build on the momentum they showed last week at the Rec.

Meanwhile Wasps will have something to prove after last week’s performance against Gloucester. Wasps put up a young side against the Cherry and Whites, their inexperience showing at numerous points throughout the game, and eyes will be on David Young to see if he shakes things up this week.

Northampton stepped up to the plate last week with a huge victory at Franklin’s Gardens. One star to watch is young fly-half James Grayson who won man of the match for his offensive efforts on Saturday, going over the line in the fifth minute and knocking over fourteen points with the boot.

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