Aviva Premiership Week 1 round up

Rob Seltzer Roar Pro

By , Rob Seltzer is a Roar Pro

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    After a summer Lions tour and many fringe players getting their chance to impress on the International stage the Aviva Premiership is back and it is back with a bang. There were hat-trick heroes, points galore and upsets on the opening weekend of the season

    Gloucester 28-21 Exeter
    Champions Exeter started their title defence with a defeat against Gloucester at Kingsholm in a thriller. Summer recruit Jason Woodward, scored in injury time and Billy Twelvetrees kicked the conversion to give the hosts the bonus point and snatch two points from Exeter’s grasp.

    Johan Ackerman’s tenure got off to the worst possible start. Within five minutes Exeter had opened their account with No.8 Sam Simmonds crashing over after good work from Phil Dolman and Henry Slade. second row Jeremy Thrush cancelled it out with Gloucester’s first real attack but Simmonds and Exeter quickly got their noses in front again as he scored his second of the game.

    Thrush then equalled this feat right on half time when a bold decision to kick for the corner was rewarded. Forgotten England No.8 Ben Morgan then gave Gloucester their first lead of the game 15 minutes into the second half, a lead they held until the 71st minute when Olly Woodburn scored a converted try to level things up.

    With two minutes to go, Slade had the chance to take home the points but missed with his penalty attempt before Woodward won the game for the Cherry and Whites.

    Newcastle 38-5 Worcester
    Newcastle began the new season how they ended the last, scoring tries and winning rugby matches. It was a fairly comfortable win for the Falcons against a Worcester team who played Ben Teo’o after his Lions exertions.

    Teo’o only lasted just over 20 minutes before a wrist injury ended his evening. Alex Tait scored five minutes into the contest with Sonatane Takulua converting. The crowd had to wait until the 47th minute for the next try though and that came to the Warriors for who Tom Heathcote had kicked a penalty.

    Josh Adams try brought Worcester to within two points of the Falcons. This jolted the Falcons into action and prop Rob Vickers crashed over five minutes later.

    Kyle Cooper then made it a double for the front row union as the hooker added his name to the scoresheet ten minutes later before substitute Juan Pablo Socino scored with his first touch of the game in the 75th minute to get the bonus point and give the Falcons the perfect start to the season.

    Saracens 55-24 Northampton
    The first game at Twickenham pitted European Champions Saracens against Northampton.
    The Saints will be looking to improve on last season’s disappointing campaign but seven first half tries made their fans wishing they hadn’t come.

    Saracens were simply brilliant. Sean Maitland scored a hat trick in 14 minutes. His 21st minute try was the third one of the game after Brad Barritt and Richard Wigglesworth had already scored by then. Alex Lozowski and Vincent Koch also crossed the line before half time. The scoreline at half time was 41-3 and Saracens, unsurprisingly took their foot off the gas a little in the second half.

    They still managed to add a further two scores through the evergreen Schalk Brits and replacement scrum half Ben Spencer. Northampton did restore some pride in the second half with Lewis Ludlum and a Tom Wood double converted by Henry Mallinder but they will have to improve dramatically to better their seventh place last season.

    London Irish 39-29 Harlequins
    In the second game of the double header at Twickenham, London Irish celebrating being back in the Premiership, stunning a fast finishing Harlequins. Marcus Smith kicked one penalty for Quins with Tommy Bell kicking two for Irish before veteran winger Topsy Ojo scored the first try at HQ.

    Bell converted to give Irish a 13- three lead before Bell himself crossed the whitewash after a superb pass from Blair Cowan. Joe Marchant took Jamie Roberts offload to burst through to score for Quins to bring them back into the game before half time.

    Samoan No.8 Ofisa Terviranus then added to another Bell penalty to give the scoreline a comfortable look of 32-10. Marland Yarde, Danny Care and Charlie Walker then all scored with Demetri Catrakilis converting two of them and now there were only three points separated the teams. Brendan McKibbin eased the nerves with a last minute try, converted by Bell to give Irish a fine start back in the Big Time.

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    (AAP Image/Ross Setford)

    Wasps 50-35 Sale
    Wasps won another entertaining game at the Ricoh Arena. It extends their unbeaten home run but their defensive frailty that was exposed towards the back end of last season was noticeable again. Dan Robson opened the scoring three minutes in and half an hour later had his hat trick. Christian Wade also scored during a pulsating first half where, at times, Wasps were simply irresistible in attack.

    Byron McGuigan and Ben Curry responded for Sale for whom AJ MacGinty was in fine form from the tee. Wasps led 31-14 at the break but Denny Solomona and Faf de Klerk, on debut, scored in quick succession to bring Sale right back into the contest.

    Will Rowlands shrugged off a challenge after a Gabby Lovobalavu break to dive over before Alex Rieder rounded off Wasps scoring. Scottish back rower Josh Strauss rounded off the scoring for Sale as they went home with a well deserved bonus point.

    Leicester 23-27 Bath
    The final game of the weekend was the hotly anticipated clash between old rivals Leicester and Bath at Welford Road. Manu Tuilagi marked his return from injury with a try but George Ford, who swapped Bath for Leicester over the summer, missed two conversions which proved crucial.

    A Ford penalty opened the scoring in the 21st minute before Tuilagi’s try in the 23rd minute that Ford converted. Bath were one of the few teams to play their Lions contingent with Taulupe Faletau, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson all starting. After the Leicester try, Bath took complete control Centre Max Clark got a quickfire double before Semesa Rokoduguni blasted out an 80m intercept try in a devastating eight minute spell.

    Rhys Priestland was perfect from the tee for give the visitors a 21-8 half time lead. A Ford penalty was sandwiched between two further penalties from Priestland before Jonny May, the winger acquired from Gloucester in the summer, scored two late tries but Bath held on to record their first win at Leicester for 14 years.

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