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Rugby union: talking points from the weekend’s Premiership and Pro12 action

Leicester are back in the title shake-up, Wasps’ crowds are creating excitement in the midlands and it’s getting tough at the top of the Pro12

A new year has dawned, bringing with it Leicester’s annual acceleration towards the play-offs and a sharp increase in transfer speculation. Bath chose not to confirm the news after Sunday’s game but the Welsh fly-half Rhys Priestland is heading to the Recreation Ground on a two-year deal that raises all kinds of interesting questions. It would appear Priestland is resigned to missing out on Wales’ World Cup squad, with Gareth Anscombe and Leicester’s Owen Williams jostling for places in the squad alongside Dan Biggar. There is little doubt that the Scarlets – and Warren Gatland - would love Williams to return to Wales but the talented young No10 is establishing himself as the Tigers’ first-choice playmaker, a hard shirt to relinquish. Either way Leicester are back in this season’s title shake-up, their return to form having coincided with Exeter’s loss of momentum over the festive season. Bath are a better side than they showed against Leicester but a Northampton-Bath final no longer looks as safe a bet as it seemed a week ago. Robert Kitson

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