Weekend preview: Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi back for Harlequins test


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The Independent Online

Bath v London Irish

Bath believe the veteran Irish half-back Peter Stringer has sparked their damp-squib attacking game, while the Exiles, not wildly pleased at losing a number of high-quality players to the West Countrymen next term, are excited by the form of Shane Geraghty at inside centre and Marland Yarde on the wing.

Saracens v Exeter

Saracens play a first Premiership fixture at their new Allianz Park home and should be too strong for fading Exeter, despite heavy personnel losses to the Six Nations. The Devonians have two newcomers in the back five of the scrum: Damian Welch at lock and Kai Horstmann at No 8.

Worcester v Northampton

Both clubs suffered numbing defeats last time out and need to regenerate the feel-good factor. Worcester have Andy Goode back at outside-half and restore Euan Murray at prop but the Saints, armed with the current England players Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes, start as favourites.

Harlequins v Leicester

A real fun-and-games affair, with the reigning champions in bristling mood for the visit of the current leaders. Quins have Danny Care back from England duty and will start Nick Easter at lock. Leicester have Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood and Thomas Waldrom in their armoury, courtesy of the red-rose hierarchy.

Wasps v Gloucester

Tomorrow's contest will be played at blinding pace out wide, with Christian Wade and Tom Varndell up against West Country pairing Charlie Sharples and Jonny May. A test of Gloucester's new confidence on the road as much as the Londoners' renaissance.

London Welsh v Sale

This has the word "macabre" written all over it, for the losers will see the relegation trapdoor opening beneath them. London Welsh need another couple of wins from somewhere and will throw the ferocious Argentine forward Julio Farias Cabello straight into their starting line-up.