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Premiership - Rugby Union: Week five preview

The title contenders are starting to rise to the top of the standings as the Gallagher Premiership enters the fifth round of fixtures this week.

Week 5 certainly starts with a bang as fourth host third in a south-west battle at Ashton Gate on Friday night.

Title contenders square off

WhatBristol Bears v Exeter Chiefs
WhereAshton Gate, Bristol
When19:45, Friday 7th October 2022
How to watchBT Sport
OddsBristol 6/5, Exeter 4/6

Expect fireworks in this opening game as Bristol welcome Exeter to Ashton Gate for a Friday night showdown.

Both sides have made positive starts to the season but saw their perfect winning records come to an end last time out.

Bristol were stunned by strugglers Newcastle, as the Falcons recorded a 30-15 victory at Kingston Park, while Exeter were beaten 28-20 on the road at Sale Sharks.

With both teams desperate to get back on the horse this looks set to be an intriguing clash in the south-west.

The Bears were without skipper and England prop Ellis Genge for their defeat at Newcastle but he returns to the Bristol starting XV, as does full-back Charles Piutau.

Exeter welcome back their own skipper Jack Yeandle for what could be a clash that goes right down to the wire under the lights at Ashton Gate.

Gloucester looking to add to leaky Bath's woes

WhatBath v Gloucester
WhereThe Recreation Ground, Bath
When15:00, Saturday 8th October 2022
How to watchBT Sport
OddsBath 12/5, Gloucester 1/3

Still the only side not to have recorded a win after four games, it has been a disastrous start to the Premiership campaign for Bath.

A home clash against old rivals Gloucester might not be the ideal next opponent for a side shockingly low on confidence and leaking points.

Having conceded a remarkable 154 points in their first four outings, Bath will need to plug the gaps if they are to stand any chance of beating Gloucester.

The Cherry & Whites have only played two games so far this season and will be feeling fresh and ready to pile more misery on their old nemesis.

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Sharks eyeing Tigers scalp

WhatLeicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
WhereWelford Road, Leicester
When15:00, Saturday 8th October 2022
How to watchPRTV
OddsLeicester 1/3, Sale 12/5

Fresh off the back of their win over Exeter, Sale will be full of confidence when they head to the home of reigning champions Leicester on Saturday.

The Sharks did an excellent job on the Chiefs and are really looking like a side that could pose a serious threat in the play-offs.

Leicester will be looking to dust themselves down after a 51-18 hammering at the hands of Saracens last time out.

The defeat in the capital will have been a tough one to take for Tigers boss Steve Borthwick and his side as they return to the home comforts of Welford Road.

Along with the opening game of the week at Ashton Gate, this clash between the Tigers and the Sharks is another stand-out game for the round.

Saints determined to cut out errors

WhatWasps v Northampton Saints
WhereCoventry Building Society Arena, Coventry
When15:00, Sunday 9th October 2022
How to watchBT Sport
OddsWasps 8/11, Northampton 11/10

Northampton have lost their way in recent weeks and will be determined to kick-start their season when they make the trip to Coventry to face Wasps on Sunday.

Saints suffered a 35-29 defeat at Harlequins last time out and, while there were positives to take from the game, the East Midlands outfit still came up short at the Twickenham Stoop.

Northampton confirmed this week that star fly-half Dan Biggar will be leaving Franklin's Gardens at the end of the season.

The Wales international has been a key figure in the Saints' backline and will be looking to go out on a high at Northampton this term.

Wasps have hardly set the Premiership alight either this season, with expected wins over Newcastle and Bath to their names.

The men in black should be fresh for his encounter with the Saints, having last played a Premiership game on 23rd September in a 39-31 victory at strugglers Bath.

With nothing to choose from in terms of the match odds, this is expected to be a close encounter.

In the last seven games between these teams, the winning margin has been a converted try or less on six occasions.

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