It’s been a while, friends.
Since we last talked, Eddie Jones has revived England, Ireland (and England, sort of) have proved that the All Blacks are fallible, and the youngsters have been given a run in the Premiership Rugby Cup. Some of them even got a run in the Premiership this weekend! Find out what happened with your Premiership Conclusions…
Gloucester turn on the style to demolish Leicester…
Eddie Jones can claim that George Ford rivals Danny Cipriani in attack all he likes, but those in attendance at Kingsholm last night were treated to a reminder that few in the world compare with the mercurial fly-half when on form.
Cipriani masterminded a devastating 36-13 win over a Leicester side shorn of numerous internationals across the field. Ollie Thorley also impressed, scoring two stunning tries – the second will live long in the memory of the Gloucester faithful.
Leicester are now languishing in 7th, and interim head-coach Geordan Murphy rued refereeing decisions:
“The game got away from us in the first half when we conceded three tries. The first one was frustrating as I felt Dan Cole was held down in the scrum and the try could have been chalked off, but we were then a bit naive and lost concentration.”
Newcastle fail to translate European form to the domestic arena…
Since you last read Premiership Conclusions, Newcastle have had something of a revival, winning both their Champions Cup games – triumphing in Toulon, and a thrilling victory over Montpellier at home.
Nevertheless, their woeful Premiership form continued in South-West London on Friday night, losing to a Harlequins side missing multiple key players. With just one win so far this season, Newcastle are in a domestic rut, and it’s one they need to get out of quickly or there will be clear daylight between the Falcons and the rest.
Harlequins’ victory was a welcome one, and they now lie in 5th, only one point off the playoffs ahead of a trip to Worcester next weekend.
Young trio guide Northampton to victory over Wasps…
While Northampton’s academy has long been one of the most prosperous in the country, the results in transitioning from junior to senior rugby are not as successful as they might have been.
This looks as if it could change. In James Grayson, Northampton have one of the brightest talents in English rugby, while Fraser Dingwall looks as if he could benefit from the loss of Rob Horne to make the 13 shirt his own.
Another youngster, Ollie Sleightholme, scored within twenty seconds of coming on to secure a 36-17 victory for Northampton, who seem to now be settling under Chris Boyd and will be looking to progress up the table.
Wasps’ academy is in ruins after the move to Coventry, and every year they struggle in international windows as a result. The next two games – Bristol at home before a trip to take on the Champions at Allianz Park – are crucial, with their advantage over 5th place only one point.
Saracens fight past late Sale comeback…
When Saracens led 21-6 only minutes before half time, it looked as if victory over Sale was certain. But with 10 minutes to go, Sale found themselves ahead, new signing Rob du Preez kicking 20 points as the Sharks led 25-21.
It wasn’t over, though. Joel Kpoku, on Premiership debut, crossed for Saracens to give the Champions the 28-25 advantage. The drama wasn’t finished, as du Preez missed a late penalty to level the scores, but Sale were forced to travel back to Manchester with one point instead of four.
Whisper it quietly, but Saracens don’t look to be the well-oiled machine that Exeter do, and a trip to an angry Leicester side may well be the acid test for Mark McCall’s men.
Sale have already strengthened with the signing of Rob du Preez and brother Jean-Luc, while the third member of the family – Dan – is rumoured to be joining to strengthen Sale’s bid to avoid relegation. If they can produce more performances like today, they will survive comfortably.
Bath end winless run with win over Worcester…
Since we last spoke, Bath’s winless run has continued. Freddie Burns’ colossal mistake ensured defeat against Toulouse, and the streak reached seven before Worcester’s visit to the Rec.
Worcester were in sparkling form, with the Ollie Lawrence inspired Warriors going five unbeaten before losing to Saracens in the Premiership Cup last week.
Despite what the form book would have suggested, Bath easily beat Worcester 30-13, taking advantage of some opportunistic moments, most notably Tom Ellis’ charge down try.
Nevertheless, Worcester looked encouragingly sharp, and their form will worry numerous teams around them, especially Bristol. It was a welcome victory for Bath, who are now two points off the play-offs in such an open Premiership season.