Fans flock to competitive Guinness Premiership

Round ten of the Guinness Premiership takes place this weekend, with crowds flocking to see the competitive, skilful and exciting matches that have characterised the league over the Christmas period.

This round of matches provides the last chance for English qualified players, almost two thirds of the league, to impress England coach Brian Ashton and Director of Elite Rugby Rob Andrew, before the squad for the RBS Six Nations is announced.

The pick of round ten matches is undoubtedly at the Recreation Ground on Friday evening as second placed Bath Rugby host the leaders, Gloucester Rugby. The match is live on Sky Sports.

Bath lost ground to Gloucester over Christmas as they suffered defeat at the hands of European Champions London Wasps, but Gloucester travel to Bath chasing their first ever league win against their local rivals on their own patch.

The match will be a sell-out and will continue the spell of excellent attendances in the Guinness Premiership. Before last weekend, there had been 5 sell-outs over the course of the whole season, but last weekend saw four of the six matches sell out, with crowds of 11,000 and 17,000 at the other two matches at Headingley Carnegie and Vicarage Road respectively. Indeed, the Yorkshire side have the sixth highest attendance in the Guinness Premiership in their first season back in the top flight.

Beneath the top two, there is a fascinating battle for places, with Saracens in third place and 2005/6 champions Sale Shark having nudged their way into the final play-off place in fourth in recent weeks.

Reigning champions Leicester Tigers are in fifth with European Champions London Wasps down in eighth. Last season’s Guinness Premiership semi finalists Bristol Rugby lie in ninth place as the season approaches the midway point.

Elsewhere in round ten, Harlequins entertain Leicester Tigers at The Twickenham Stoop and also expect a sell-out, with only a few tickets remaining.

At the Madejski Stadium England future may come up against England past and present as the Exiles fly-half Shane Geraghty is set to face Sale Sharks’ Charlie Hodgson.

Premier Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty added, “We have seen large numbers of supporters flock to Guinness Premiership matches over the Christmas period and they have seen some fantastic rugby.

 

As we approach the half way point in the league programme, the reigning champions Leicester Tigers lie in fifth and the European Champions are eighth, with Bath Rugby in second and Saracens third. We believe this demonstrates again that we have the most competitive league in world rugby and that gives supporters matches they really want to see.”

 

Rugbyweek.com

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