Premiership: Which teams have made the grade heading into round 11?

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Jeremy Guscott rates the Premiership title contenders

This weekend the Premiership enters the halfway stage of the 2016-17 season.

With Northampton and Sale set to get round 11 under way on Friday, former England centre and BBC Sport pundit Jeremy Guscott gives his half-term report on how the 12 clubs have fared so far.

Who is top of the class and who needs to stay behind for extra tuition?


Alex Lozowski
Only Wasps' Jimmy Gopperth (128) has scored more points than Saracens' Alex Lozowski (99)

Sarries are in great form, top of the league having only lost two games.

Players like Billy and Mako Vunipola have really steered the club well, and a real bonus is that Alex Lozowski has stepped up at fly-half.

Sarries really like being champions, it doesn't weigh heavily on them.

Grade: A


Kurtley Beale
Wasps' Australia centre Kurtley Beale has yet to play in the Premiership after injuring his knee a day after signing for the club in May

Wasps have carried on well from last season's form. Dai Young has done a great job keeping all his players happy and performing well.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Danny Cipriani-Kurtley Beale combination and see how that goes working together.

They'll be really glad to get James Haskell back from injury in the new year, that'll help them push for honours at the end of the season.

Grade: A


George Ford
Will he stay? Will he go? Bath need to sort out the future of fly-half George Ford one way or another

Bath have had a great start to the season. A realistic expectation for me for this club would have been to finish in the top six and qualify for Europe - to be third is incredibly good.

They haven't done as well against the top opposition and that needs to change for the second half of the campaign.

They need to really sort out the George Ford situation quickly. Is he going or is he staying? They've got a top quality squad and have the ability to definitely finish in the top six.

Grade: B +

Leicester Tigers

JP Pietersen
JP Pietersen has not scored a try for Leicester since the opening day of the season

Leicester have not had it easy this first half of the season. A big loss has been Manu Tuilagi being injured for most of it and JP Pietersen not hitting the ground running form-wise.

The visit to Exeter Chiefs on Christmas Eve will be massive - win that and finishing in the top four is a reality.

Expectation is always high at Tigers, and rightly so given the resources.

Grade: B +

Exeter Chiefs

Jack Nowell
Injury has restricted Exeter's England winger Jack Nowell to just 23 minutes of Premiership action this season

Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Don Armand are all fit again, just in time for a big push into the second half of the season for the Chiefs.

With talent like Henry Slade, Gareth Steenson, Ollie Devoto, Sam Hill and Ian Whitten it's all about getting that midfield combination right. If Rob Baxter does that, look out.

Grade: A -


Marland Yarde
Can England's Marland Yarde help fire Harlequins into the top four?

Consistency has been a problem for Harlequins. They've beaten Saracens and Bath, but have been thrashed by Wasps and lost to the likes of Newcastle and Sale.

They have some quality, stellar names, but do they have the strength in depth to make a real challenge?

Those questions need answering if Quins are to really go for glory in the second half of the season.

Currently lying sixth, if they're still there at the end of the season I think they'll be happy.

Grade: B

Newcastle Falcons

Juan Pablo Socino
Juan Pablo Socino is Newcastle's top try-scorer with four so far this season

Newcastle Falcons are currently in seventh position in the Premiership, I never would have thought that, so well done.

Falcons are much improved from last season, especially in terms of results, partly down to a good pack including a strong back row. Mark Wilson in particular is an outsider for England.

They've got an exciting back line with Vereniki Goneva and Sinoti Sinoti out wide, but conceding points is still an issue, as is scoring them.

There is still perhaps a lack of a top-class 10 to link the pack and backline together, especially when it comes to kicking.

Grade: B +


A decade ago Gloucester topped the Premiership table, but they have only broken into the top six once in the last five years

Gloucester will have to go some to make the top six by the end of the season, despite being level on points with sixth-placed Harlequins at the moment.

Talk of a takeover could be unsettling, but hopefully it will inspire then to kick on and get better results.

They have to start winning the close games they're currently losing, if they can do that they have a chance.

Grade: C

Northampton Saints

Dylan Hartley
Banned England skipper Dylan Hartley will spend a large chunk of the second half of the season watching Saints from the stands

Saints are currently ninth, not a position I would expect them to be given the quality of the squad.

Recently unsettled by the George North concussion investigation and Dylan Hartley's sending off they need to find their winning mojo quickly.

Another poor season would really put Jim Mallinder's position as head coach under the microscope.

Grade: C -

Sale Sharks

Steve Diamond
Could Steve Diamond be welcoming George Ford to Sale in the summer?

Sale always find a way to stay in the Premiership. With limited funds Steve Diamond has done a great job.

I really don't believe Sale are in any relegation danger at all.

However, after back-to-back defeats against Saracens and Exeter at the AJ Bell Stadium, they need to find the great home form of last season to push them up the table.

Grade: C

Worcester Warriors

Ben Te'o
Ben Te'o has won two England caps since joining Worcester from Leinster

They only have one win this season and face Bristol in round 11 away from home. Lose that and it becomes a very, very long season.

They'll be looking for inspiration from Ben Te'o, their big summer signing, but he won't be able to do it all on his own.

For Worcester's survival, the whole squad have got to step up.

Grade: C


Looking at the scoreboard has not made pleasant viewing for Bristol this season

Played 10, lost 10, it doesn't look good at all for Bristol.

But a win against Worcester in round 11 could be the turning point.

The pack has struggled to compete, which makes life very difficult indeed in this league.

If they don't beat the Warriors I don't see Bristol in the Premiership next season.

Grade: C -

Jeremy Guscott was speaking to BBC Sport's Brent Pilnick.

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