Tindall and Robinson pay price for Gloucester's failings

Weekend preview

Gloucester v Wasps

"There's a lot riding on this game," says Bryan Redpath, the Gloucester coach, and he's not wrong.

If the West Countrymen are to salvage something from a thoroughly rotten September – two flaccid displays on the road, one scratchy victory over Leeds at home – they must win, and win well, against a peculiarly inconsistent Wasps side this afternoon. If they go under, the rumblings from the Kingsholm Shed will be close to deafening by close of play.

Mike Tindall, the captain, has been relegated to the bench – alarming news for the England hierarchy, who consider him a first-choice centre – so Rory Lawson leads the side from scrum-half. There is a change at outside-half, too: Nicky Robinson, cast in the villain's role when Gloucester fell to Exeter in the opening round, makes way for Tim Taylor in a revamped midfield.

Dave Attwood, fast closing in on a first Test cap, returns to the engine room and has a chance to put one over on Simon Shaw, his rival for the front-jumping slot against the All Blacks in November. For their part, the Londoners will be led by Phil Vickery, once a great favourite of the Cotswold cognoscenti.

Leicester v Leeds

The Yorkshiremen have a dogged look about them, but even mongrels grow tired of finishing second every week. Sadly for them, the losing streak is unlikely to end today. Welford Road is not the most obvious place to go looking for a first victory of the campaign, and even though Exeter gave the champions an almighty hurry-up a fortnight ago, even a Leicester side as fragile as this one generally find a way to win on home territory.

The two Dans, Hipkiss and Cole, return for the Midlanders – bad news for Leeds – and there is a batch of bristling new signings on the bench. The visitors must pray that a Leicester old boy, the outstanding Marco Wentzel, works his magic in the line-out.

Harlequins v Exeter

It had to happen some time. After fielding the same starting line-up for three weeks running, Exeter have lost a player to injury. Nic Sestaret, the Frenchman, moves from right wing to centre for the incapacitated Phil Dollman, with Matt Jess filling the hole. Elsewhere, the Premiership new boys stick with what they know. Quins restore Nick Easter to his optimum position of No 8 and give the much talked-about prop Joe Marler a first start in the front row.

Bath v Sale

Bath were given a horrible going-over by Northampton last week and suddenly look vulnerable: a little elderly in the tight five, a little slow elsewhere. Sale are no world-beaters, but they found a way to win their two home games and are performing as well anyone might reasonably expect, given the unfamiliarity running through the side. Dwayne Peel is back at scrum-half, which should help no end.

Newcastle v London Irish

Bolstered by new investment – the businessman Semore Kurdi bought a 40 per cent stake in the club this week – Newcastle have all the incentive they need to produce a performance this evening. James Hudson's dodgy hamstring robs them of leadership, athleticism and energy, but the Samoan lock Filipo Levi is no mug and it may be that they will test an unchanged Exiles outfit.

Saracens v Northampton

Tomorrow's humdinger deserves a better venue than Vicarage Road. It also deserves all the best players on the field. Unfortunately, Saracens go in without the injured Alex Goode, one of their star turns last season, while the leaders must do without the England wing Chris Ashton. They say he's being "rested". The crutches tell a different tale.


general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before