Another week, another round, yet still no clarity on the frontrunners on in the Aviva Premiership stakes.
The race remains as wide open as Round 1 and Round 5 produced another set of thrills and spills to rival the best.
It would be fair to argue the English Premiership is entering a heyday, with numerous teams displaying significant quality and title credentials, including unexpected candidates towards the top of the table.
Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons enter Round 6 at the top of the pile with Saracens and Exeter Chiefs in close quarters – while last season’s runners-up Wasps are languishing down in eighth.
Harlequins 19:45 Sale Sharks
The opening fixture of Round 6 comes from Twickenham Stoop as ninth-placed Harlequins welcome a buoyant Sale Sharks for a bout of Friday Night Lights.
The Sharks were emphatically triumphant against Gloucester last weekend, smashing their visitors 57-10 in Salford and they will be looking to climb higher from seventh as they head south.
Quins have struggled to gather pace so far this term, but despite suffering a third defeat last weekend, the London side have a wealth of quality and will be expected to improve and claim an important win in front of their faithful following.
Bath 15:00 Worcester Warriors
Worcester Warriors’ search for a first win of the season enters a sixth week, but travelling to The Recreation Ground to take on Bath is not likely to the source of success for them.
Worcester’s solitary point came courtesy of a losing bonus and they come up against a Bath side who have made a much-improved start on last season.
Todd Blackadder has Bath in shape and playing some sensational rugby in bursts and this weekend he will be hoping the likes of Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni and Jonathan Joseph can put a full five points on the clock.
Exeter Chiefs 15:00 Newcastle Falcons
At the start of the season Exeter Chiefs hosting Newcastle Falcons at Sandy Park would have sounded a run-of-the-mill fixture for defending champions Chiefs.
It is the not the case, though. Newcastle’s form, much like Exeter’s rise in recent years, has given hope to all and they have played strong rugby, both home and away.
Exeter return to their Devon fortress on the back of their second defeat on the season, while the Falcons have slipped just once this term – although taking on the reigning Chiefs in front of a partisan crowd could be the game to prevent them claiming a hat-trick of wins.
Gloucester 15:00 Northampton Saints
Table-toppers Northampton Saints travel to Gloucester on Saturday afternoon hunting a fifth straight win and the opportunity to extend their lead at the helm.
Gloucester return to Kingsholm after a nightmare last Friday, conceding 57 points as they plummeted to 10th in the standings, making the high-flying Saints very unwelcome guests.
Jim Mallinder’s Northampton seem to have clicked early doors this season, with a solid defence led by the talismanic Courtney Lawes, while Tom Collins, George North, Luther Burrell and Harry Mallinder are forming an head-turning backline.
London Irish 15:00 Leicester Tigers
After flying out of the blocks with a shock Round 1 win, London Irish have only gone one way – downhill. Leicester Tigers, their guests at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, have gone the opposite way.
Now with three wins to their name the Tigers are starting to find form and their victory over Exeter Chiefs last weekend is evidence of the wave they are riding, while the Exiles are down in 11th place with just one win.
Rebuilding has taken some time for the Tigers, but the results are evident now in their performances and they will be out to make the most of a stale-looking opposition and claim a bonus-point win.
Saracens 15:00 Wasps
Sunday’s lone fixtures sees Saracens host a struggling Wasps side at Allianz Park, with the hosts seeking a fifth successive win.
Since losing on the opening weekend, the Saracens train has not stopped with four straight wins, although they are short of their emphatic best at this stage, with only two try-scoring bonuses to date.
Wasps, who appeared to be back at their best last season, find themselves down in eighth with three defeats already this term and are struggling to find the fluent blend of rugby which brought about so much success last term.