Rugby union: England's super 12: Club-by-club guide to the Allied Dunbar Premiership

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Bath

Someone will surely pay for 's failure to win a trophy last season - only the second blank in 14 years. Traditionally, the club expects to win something and they have a strong enough squad to challenge in domestic league and cup, but the European Cup may prove to be their highest priority, especially as they will want to go one better than last season's finalists Leicester.

Coach: Andy Robinson

Assistants: Clive Woodward and Nigel Redman

Captain: Andy Nicol

In: Russell Earnshaw (West Hartlepool), Mark Regan (Bristol), Ieuan Evans (Llanelli)

Out: Ian Sanders (Gloucester), Neil McCarthy (Gloucester), Craig Gillies (Richmond), Alastair Bell (Bristol), Graham Dawe (Sale)

Last season: 2nd Prediction for this season: 2nd

Bristol

The loss of three England forwards - Shaw, Regan and Corry - suggests that there may not be enough finance on board. That in turn suggests they are likely to struggle even more than last season when they needed to beat Bedford in the play-offs to stay up.

Coach: Alan Davies

Captain: Robert Jones

In: Kevin Dunn (Wasps), Ben Thirwell (Bridgwater and Albion), Tom Robinson (Bristol Univ), Mark Griffiths (Pontypridd), Alastair Bell (), John Wakeford (Cardiff), Steve Pearce, Gareth Baber (both Aberavon), Dave Lee (Cork Constitution), Mike Worsley (Orrell)

Out: Mark Regan (), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Martin Corry, (Leicester), Richard Smith (Sale), Ralph Knibbs, Andrew Wadley (both Coventry), Dave Hinkins (Bedford), Craig Barrow (Exeter), Dave Bennett (Clifton), Mark Tainton (retired)

Last season: 9th Prediction: 12th

Gloucester

One of last season's unexpected successes. Richard Hill has quietly and quickly established himself as a coach of quality and with more money at his disposal should improve on those solid efforts.

Director of coaching: Richard Hill

Captain: Peter Glanville

In: Philippe Saint-Andre, Raphael Saint-Andre (both Montferrand), Terry Fanolua (W Samoa), Richard Tombs (New South Wales), Ian Sanders, Neil McCarthy (both ), Andrew Gibbs (Northland, NZ), Nick Osman (Loughborough Univ)

Out: Don Caskie, John Hawker (both Cheltenham), Charlie Mulraine (Moseley), Paul Holford (Worcester), Alistair Saverimutto (St Mary's Old Boys), Peter Hart (Waterloo), Andy Metcalfe (Sandal), Eral Anderson (Stourbridge and Hull RL), Mike Peters (to be confirmed)

Last season: 7th Prediction: 9th

Harlequins

After finishing last season strongly to reach Europe, Quins will want to start quickly. They made a fast start last time, only to fall away mid-campaign, disrupted by international calls. The feeling persists that they are still not suited to a league battle in the mud of January and February and that they may have to settle for mid-table and concentrate instead on Europe.

Director of rugby: Andy Keast

Assistant coach: Graham Richards

Captain: Keith Wood

In: Laurent Belligoi (Bourgoin), Rob Liley (Leicester), Rob Hitchmough (Orrell), Massimo Cuttitta (Milan), Tolsen Tullett (London Broncos RL), Johnny Ngauamo (Tonga), Danny Bull (Scotland U-21)

Out: Dominic Chapman (Richmond), Mick Watson (London Scottish), Andy Mullins (retired), Steve Pilgrim (London Welsh), Dinos Alexopoulos (Wasps)

Last season: 3rd Prediction: 7th

Leicester

Now that Bob Dwyer has had a year at Welford Road it would be a big surprise if Leicester did not win at least one trophy this season. The European Cup would be popular after the humiliation in this year's final by Brive but the playing squad - including six Lions - has so much strength and class that there should be no repeat of the fatigued capitulation which cost them dear in the latter stages of last season's league campaign.

Director of coaching: Bob Dwyer

Coaches: Duncan Hall, Ian Smith, Paul Dodge

Captain: Martin Johnson

In: Waisale Serevi, Marika Vunibaka (both Fiji), Fritz van Heerden (Western Province, SA), Paul Gustard (Blaydon), Martin Corry (Bristol), Michael Horak (Perth Reds, Australia), Jamie Hamilton (London Scottish)

Out: John Liley, Steve Hackney (both Moseley), Rory Underwood, Aadel Kardooni (both Bedford), Rob Liley (Harlequins), Greg Austin (Rotherham)

Last season: 4th Prediction: 1st

London Irish

Jeremy Davidson was a giant in every respect on the Lions tour to South Africa and the confirmation that he will stay at Sunbury has been a huge shot in the arm for the Exiles. However, there has been little change from the squad which had to fight through the play-offs to avoid relegation from the top flight last season, and they will do well not to fade away again once Ireland claim their better players for the Five Nations.

Director of rugby: Willie Anderson

Captain: Niall Hogan

In: Mark McCall (Dungannon)

Out: Andrew Dougan (Ballymena), Nigel Richardson (Worcester)

Last season: 10th Prediction: 11th

Newcastle

On paper one of the strongest squads in the league, and Rob Andrew has ensured there should be healthy competition in most positions. Any dismay at facing the toughest possible opening fixture, away to , has been assuaged by Doddie Weir's recovery from the injury he suffered on the Lions tour. Their biggest problem could be their performances away from home.

Director of rugby: Rob Andrew

Coach: Steve Bates

Captain: Dean Ryan

In: David Barnes, Maurice Fitzgerald (both West Hartlepool), John Spence (Newcastle University), Jim Naylor (Orrell), Richard Horton (Middlesbrough), Jonathan Wilkinson (England Schools)

Out: Steve Douglas, Ross Wilkinson (both Northern), Matt Tetlow (Sale), Matt Long (Worcester)

Last season: 2nd in League Two Prediction: 6th

Northampton

No club coached by Ian McGeechan or containing five members of the triumphant Lions party should be underestimated, but Northampton struggled worryingly away from Franklins Gardens last season and will also lose a lot of players to international call-ups and squad training sessions. The pre-season uncertainty over Gregor Townsend's future will not have helped team spirit and there will also be question marks over the long-term effectiveness of Paul Grayson and Martin Bayfield.

Director of rugby: Ian McGeechan

Coaches: Paul Larkin and Colin Deans

Captain: Tim Rodber

In: None

Out: Michael Dodds (Gala), Gavin Walsh (Ireland)

Last season: 8th Prediction: 8th

Richmond

A Smooth corporate machine oiled by several million pounds of Ashley Levitt's money has helped restore Richmond as a power in the land. The squad is certainly big and contains plenty of household names, but a season of consolidation is a realistic ambition, especially as many of the key players are no longer in the first flush of youth.

Director of rugby: John Kingston

Coach: Rob Lozowski

Captain: Ben Clarke

In: Lee Best (England Under-18), Matt Pini (Queensland), Dominic Chapman (Harlequins), John Davies, Barry Williams (both Neath), Rolando Martin, Agustin Pichot (both Argentina), Jason Wright (Otago, NZ), Craig Gillies ()

Out: Steve Atherton (South Africa), Brian Moore (retired), Luke Jones (London Welsh)

Last season: 1st in League Two Prediction: 5th

Sale

Under the dynamic tutelage of John Mitchell, Sale kept puncturing more inflated reputations last season and came agonisingly close to upsetting Leicester in the Pilkington Cup final. If anything the squad is even stronger but a glance at the players' names suggests that last season they performed above their station and may struggle to hit similar heights.

Player-coach: John Mitchell

Captain: Jim Mallinder

In: Chris Murphy (West Hartlepool), Richard Smith (Bristol), Shane Howarth (Auckland, NZ), Matt Kirke (London Scottish), John Devereux (Widnes RL), Matt Tetlow (Newcastle), Kevin Ellis (Widnes RL), Graham Dawe ()

Out: Mark Warr, Neil Ryan, Darren Wright, Simon Verbickas (all Orrell), Alan Yates (Wakefield), Adam Griffin (not known)

Last season: 5th Prediction: 10th

Saracens

If Sale over-achieved, Nigel Wray's dazzling array of international talent definitely under-achieved last season. The steely leadership of their player-coach Francois Pienaar, who definitely has a few points to prove, should inject a greater sense of urgency at the club. The switch to Vicarage Road may also have an uplifting effect, with the club having to play well enough to attract new supporters.

Director of rugby: Mark Evans

Player coach: Francois Pienaar

Captain: Tony Diprose

In: Danny Grewcock (Coventry), Brad Free, Ryan Constable (both Queensland), Brendon Daniel (Bay of Plenty, NZ).

Out: John Buckton, John Green (both Barking), Mark Langley, Darren Edwards (both London Welsh), Gary Clarke (Worcester)

Last season: 6th Prediction : 4th

Wasps

Last season's league triumph was more a reward for consistency and Lawrence Dallaglio's inspirational captaincy than for individual brilliance. They are likely to be an even tougher proposition this season. The arrival of Simon Shaw and Mark Weedon strengthen the squad but whether Wasps can be as successful again depends on whether they have matched the likely improvement of and Leicester.

Director of rugby: Nigel Melville

Coach: Rob Smith

Captain: Lawrence Dallaglio

In: Simon Shaw (Bristol), Mark Weedon (Canterbury, NZ), Trevor Leota (W Samoa), Dinos Alexopoulos (Harlequins), Lewis Gunn (Ruislip), John Ions (West Hartlepool).

Out: Matt Greenwood (Wakefield), Kevin Dunn (Bristol)

Last season: 1st Prediction: 3rd

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