Aviva Premiership Week 6 round Up

Rob Seltzer Roar Guru

By Rob Seltzer, Rob Seltzer is a Roar Guru

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    This was the final round of Premiership action before clubs head into Europe.

    A few club’s will be heading there brimming with confidence while others will be glad of the distraction. Here is the round up from Week 6.

    Harlequins 42-26 Sale
    Sale were once again involved in a high scoring encounter but this time were on the wrong end of the scoreline as they recorded their 10th straight away defeat. Quins young fly half, Marcus Smith, added to his growing reputation with 17 points as the Londoners moved fifth in the table.

    Scotland winger Tim Visser got the score going with a converted try on 12 minutes before a three minute double salvo from Joe Marler and Joe Marchant gave Quins a grip on the game. Smith added two penalties to his three conversions. Sale’s only reply in the first half was a try from fullback Mike Haley brilliantly side stepping his way to the line.

    Visser added his second on 48 minutes as Quins claimed the bonus point before Sale earnt themselves a bonus point with Halani Aulika, Faf De Klerk and Ross Harrison all crossing the whitewash to ensure they took something back north. Quins had the final say though and England winger Marland Yarde continued his impressive start to the season finishing off good work by Smith.

    Bath 29-13 Worcester
    Worcester remain rock bottom of the Aviva Premiership as 14 man Bath recorded the bonus point victory. Freddie Burns was sent of fi the 63rd minute for a tip tackle which seemed harsh but was on recommendation from the video referee.

    It took Bath ten minutes to break the deadlock when discarded England Centre Jonathan Joseph scored a long range try which was converted by Burns. Dean Hammond gave Worcester a one point lead in the 2second minute breaking the tackle of Aled Brew to score. Brew then responded with a try of his own nine minutes later before Ben Tapuai scored on the stroke of half time which Burns converted for a 19-8 half time lead.

    Warriors fly half Jamie Shillcock gave the visitors hope with a try eight minutes into the second half but Brew’s second of the game gave Bath breathing space again. Burns was then given his marching order before Josh Lewis kicked a penalty late on to bring the scoring to the end.

    Exeter 34-24 Newcastle
    Exeter returned to the winners circle with their 11th straight victory at Sandy Park and in the process leapfrog their opponents. They got the bonus point with a penalty try in the 63rd minute when DTH Van Der Merwe collapsed a driving maul.

    Australian duo Nic White and Lachie Turner scored the first two tries of the game with Gareth Steenson converting both and adding a penalty before Newcastle had troubled the scorers. Will Welch got them on the board in the 31st minute powering over from a driving line out. Sam Simmonds then did his England chances no harm at all with a superb 50-metre score before Newcastle got their second in a frantic end to the half as Juan Pablo Socino was the beneficiary of good work from Vereniki Goneva.

    Steenson added his second penalty to stretch the lead to 27-10 early in the second half but the Chiefs couldn’t shake the Falcons and Toby Flood sent Alex Tait over and converted the try. The penalty try knocked the stuffing out of Newcastle a bit but Goneva did get the visitors a try scoring bonus point four minutes from time.

    Gloucester 29-24 Northampton
    Gloucester bounced back from last week’s mauling against Sale but made it hard for themselves. Owen Williams missed five kicks at goal which would have put the Cherry and Whites out of sight. Fortunately Harry Mallinder also missed a couple of kickable penalties on a not so great day for the kickers.

    Henry Trinder continued his fine recent form with a first half brace in the ninth and 40th minute and Gloucester lead 10-7 at the break due to Jamie Gibson replying for Northampton with Mallinder adding a rare successful kick. Mallinder himself had an easy run in to score under the posts three minutes after half time but Gloucester came roaring back and full back Jason Woodward finished off a move that he had started three phases earlier.

    Mallinder then kicked a penalty to give the Saints a two point lead as Williams prolificacy from the tee looked to be proving decisive. The match swung the home sides way with two tries in four minutes from Billy Twelvetrees and Willi Heinz. Williams eventually dissected the posts converting both tries but Mike Haywood’s try and Stephen Myler’s conversion ensured a nervous final ten minutes for the Kingsholm faithful but Gloucester held on.

    London Irish 27-28 Leicester
    Leicester recorded four straight wins on the bounce for the first time since 2015 but Irish ran them very close in a good game at the Madjeski Stadium. It all looked to be pretty easy for the Tigers as Nick Malouf scored three minutes into the game and George Ford added three penalties to give them a 14-0 lead after 27 minutes.

    Tommy Bell replied with a penalty in the 33rd minute after Leicester infringed at the scrum. Will Evans’ converted try gave the Tigers a commanding lead and all Irish could do is kick another penalty. Blair Cowan gave the Irish renewed hope 56 minutes into the contest and Bell converted well from out wide.

    Jonny May then continued his blistering start to his Leicester career scoring his sixth try in six games to seemingly put them out of site but David Paice hit back for the hosts seven minutes later. Winger Alex Lewington ran a superb line to score under the posts to give Irish a deserved bonus point and encourage them for the upcoming games.

    Saracens 38-19 Wasps
    A hat-trick from England Hooker Jamie George was the highlight of a dominant display at Allianz Park from Saracens. Wasps are clearly struggling with injuries but will be encouraged from performances from their youngsters that were thrown in especially Jack Willis who scored a deserved late try on his Premiership debut.

    Chris Wyles won the race to an Alex Goode chip through seven minutes into the game and five minutes later Wasps inexplicably switched off to let George run through the biggest of holes following a quick tap penalty. A break from Josh Bassett helped set up an attacking lineout 25 minutes into the game and Marty Moore was driven over.

    Alex Lozowski added two penalties to his one successful conversion to ensure Sarries lead 18-7 at the break. Wasps could do nothing about the driving maul and George gleefully accepted his two further tries off the back off them with Lozowski adding the extras both times. He also added a further two penalties for a personal haul of 18 points.

    Willis was rewarded for his hard work in the 69th minute before Bassett rounded off the scoring in the final minute having had a try chalked a couple of minutes earlier.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • October 11th 2017 @ 3:14pm
      Cuw said | October 11th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

      poor Wasps – they cant buy a trick , atm.

      but Sarries are the kings of offending without getting penalized.

      wonder how the New LAWS are working – seems the players a re still not used to it ; like tackler having to go back.

      and Quins seem to have a very coordinated attack.

      • October 11th 2017 @ 10:28pm
        Samuel Honywill said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

        Ludicrous injury list at Wasps in fairness. Bath and Harlequins have had similar numbers out but they’re all starting to filter back into the squad and the crisis is beginning to ease, for Wasps it just keeps seeming to get worse.

        • October 12th 2017 @ 4:44pm
          Cuw said | October 12th 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

          its who more than how many.

          who would have thunk that without CIPRIANI Wasps cannot play !!!

    • October 11th 2017 @ 3:31pm
      Rob Seltzer said | October 11th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

      Sarries are the new Leicester at the moment. Seem to get away with being offside a lot. Yes their rush defence is quick but on at least 3 occasions they were either not behind the back foot or up too early in the middle of the park.

      Wasps just need to ride this and when they get their players back fit they will be a force again.

      Marcus Smith looks a huge talent

      • October 11th 2017 @ 5:46pm
        Cuw said | October 11th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

        he is not afraid of contact – that is a very good trait to start with.

    • October 11th 2017 @ 7:05pm
      RT said | October 11th 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the round up. I caught the Quins game and the saw the Irish almost pull a miracle. Injury toll is horrific especially at wasps.

      • October 11th 2017 @ 9:58pm
        Cuw said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

        injuries nearing century mark , is what i heard . not just Wasps who are missing like 15 players atm.

        in fact Doctor Jamie Roberts will conduct a study with his hospital colleagues on this issue – as there have been a spate of injuries in just 6 weeks.

        also last week Aviva has approved a request for 13 minute HIA , to make it even ore comprehensive.

    • Roar Guru

      October 11th 2017 @ 8:44pm
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 11th 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

      Thanks for this Rob.

      With long-term injuries in mind (but not the short-term ones) how does your England match day 23 look like for the Test against Argentina?

      Is Sarries (and England) flirting with disaster when they play Itojje non-stop? Or is he one of those special athletes that can handle heavy workloads without ever getting fatigued?

      • October 11th 2017 @ 8:49pm
        Fionn said | October 11th 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

        You’ve got no idea how relieved I was when I saw Vunipola was out for the EOYT.

        I feel awful for the guy, but as a Wallabies fan it was good news.

        • Roar Guru

          October 11th 2017 @ 9:33pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

          I understand you Fionn, with fatigue in play in the Wallabies camp when they face England, all kind of levelers are good news for Wallabies fans.

          The English back row will be very interesting to follow this November.

          • October 11th 2017 @ 9:50pm
            Fionn said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

            I don’t like the fatigue argument as I have always thought that it is better disadvantage to just be coming together as a squad as England will be. I always feel more confident on the EOYT when the Wallabies have been together a few months than in June.

            It is more the fact that I still have nightmares about Vunipola just destroying us in 2016, and that was when we had a back-row that was far more formidable than we have now..

            Nick Bishop seemed to think we would be somewhere around 40/45% chance against England in Twickenham. I am doubtful, but if a few more key injuries hit the English then perhaps we will be?

            • Roar Guru

              October 11th 2017 @ 10:15pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

              When the Wallabies face England, Eddie’s boys will have been together for over a month and will have played against Pumas and Samoa, so I think they will be very well prepared by then.

              With the Wallabies brutal schedule from now until then, I am afraid that fatigue very much will be in play.

              Personally, I think NB is optimistic in his prediction. But the Wallabies attack is really coming along nicely, so I understand where NB’s optimism is coming from.

              So far the Wallabies has been rather lucky to avoid injuries to key players, but I doubt that luck will last until the England Test.

              • Roar Guru

                October 11th 2017 @ 10:31pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

                Sorry, the Samoa game is after the Wallabies. My bad.

              • October 12th 2017 @ 10:05pm
                Fionn said | October 12th 2017 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

                The main thing I will say, Neutral, is that the only match in which England impressed me in the 6N was against Scotland (in which they were glorious).

                It could have just been second season syndrome and they might blow us away in November, but England didn’t look at clinical to me as they did in 2016.

            • October 11th 2017 @ 10:19pm
              Samuel Honywill said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

              I don’t think losing Billy is as destabilising to England as it would have been (and indeed was) even as short a time ago as the 6N – Hughes really started to look every inch the international quality player by the end of the Premiership season and on the Argentina tour. The carrying slack can also be picked up elsewhere, the likes of Genge and Williams in the front row like a bullocking run or two and if Lawes and Te’o play there’s more than enough firepower to make up for it. He’s such a quality player of course that its a big blow to lose him but I think England have more options outside of him now than they did this time last year.

              • October 12th 2017 @ 9:48pm
                Fionn said | October 12th 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

                That’s all probably true (although isn’t Hughes injured too?)

                But at the same time he’s been close to England’s best player for a couple of years.

                If England goes for a Te’o-Joseph midfield I would be happier than the Farrell-Joseph midfield.

              • October 12th 2017 @ 10:22pm
                Samuel Honywill said | October 12th 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

                Hughes is fit – he’s one of Wasps’ last men standing! Joseph got work to do to make the squad, seeing as he was left out of the training squad assembled a couple of weeks back. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a Te’o/Slade midfield throughout the autumn, although he might revert to Farrell at 12 for Aus.

      • October 11th 2017 @ 9:06pm
        Samuel Honywill said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

        Fairly strong talk over here that he’s likely to be rested over the Autumn internationals, with Sarries not playing him either. Difficult to pick a 23 at the moment simply as we don’t know what’s happening with the Lions players. I’d be tempted to rest anyone that played in at least two of the Tests, but at the same time that would rule out players like Lawes, Te’o and Watson, who I’d quite like to see being given a run in different positions – Lawes at 6, Te’o 12, Watson 15. Feel this is the last chance for any major experimentation before the world cup so it’s got to be balanced against that. That said, I’d begrudgingly give up a game or two this autumn for a grand slam and a victorious tour to South Africa next summer, so no issue with them missing out.

        • Roar Guru

          October 11th 2017 @ 9:42pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

          Hi Sam

          Makes sense to give Itoje a rest. Of all the Lions players that played the Test series, I believe he is the only one that has started every single game in Aviva or Pro14 this season (and he has played like a boss which made me think he is a very special kind of athlete)

          Maybe Eddie is pondering about playing his Test starting Lions players against Wallabies but rest them against Pumas and Samoa?

          Agree that Lawes and Te’o should be tested at 6 and 12. Watson did start all three Tests in NZ, so maybe EJ is more likely to give him a rest.

          • October 11th 2017 @ 10:26pm
            Samuel Honywill said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

            There is talk of that too – if Itoje and Farrell play at all it will be against Australia. Makes no sense to do that to me though, maybe if it was the first game of the series but seeing as it’s the middle game of three it doesn’t strike me as giving the players much rest at all and therefore defeating the point. We also know that they’d cope just fine and perform well in a big game like that – it would be a bit more informative to find out what the likes of Ewels and Slade or Lozowski were made of over the autumn in my opinion.

            • Roar Guru

              October 11th 2017 @ 10:41pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

              Very fair points Samuel.

              Farrell has not played that much rugby this season, maybe he will play?And he is most likely to replace Hartley as long-term the captain if Jamie George finally gets the nod to be the starting hooker.
              Otherwise, who is gonna captain the team with the other two long-term captaincy prospects –
              Itoje and Vunipola – both out? Launchbury or Ford maybe? But that would be a missed opportunity to establish a new captain.

              I’d begrudgingly give up a game or two this autumn for a grand slam and a victorious tour to South Africa next summer,

              I think Eddie wants to avoid a loss against the Wallabies at all costs and retain the “aura” that England is a step ahead of the pack chasing the AB’s.

              • October 11th 2017 @ 10:49pm
                Samuel Honywill said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

                George another who was involved in all three Lions Tests so can see him sitting out, although given both other hookers Jones has capped – Cowan-Dickie and Taylor – are injured I think we’ll see George on the bench. I don’t think Eddie’s anywhere near as keen to get rid of Hartley as plenty of fans are and I don’t think his place, rightly or wrongly, is under any serious threat just yet, meaning the captaincy isn’t an issue for now.

              • October 12th 2017 @ 9:08am
                Rob Seltzer said | October 12th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                A really good discussion going on here. I think the big thing is the injuries at the moment. It has been pointed out how many players Wasps are missing but all teams have have suffered just not as much as them.

                With the Lions tour in the Summer, players will need a rest, I know a few boys missed the start of the season but they are all back into it now and players are dropping like flies. I can seen EJ playing as near to a full strength team against Australia as he can, that includes Itoje and Farrell. Against Samoa and Argentina you will see a lot of the players that went on tour to Argentina in the summer.

                I would love to see form players getting a chance, players like Trinder, Sam Simmonds at Exeter etc. They are playing extremely well and it would be great to see what they do on the INternational stage with different coaches and different patterns of play.

                Whatever happens, at the moment England are blessed with a deep level of competition in most positions

              • October 12th 2017 @ 3:39pm
                Cuw said | October 12th 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

                i dont get this infatuation with LIONS players.

                sure they played a few matches, but then almost all of them are back in AVIVA and playing many minutes.

                if someone needs to control gametime, it shud be the clubs. its not as if they dont have players . i think most of these clubs have squads as big as 40 or even more.

                one thing noone can control is the head knocks. Sam Underhill , the heir to 7 jersey got ko’ed in his first match for Bath.

                going forward , this will be the major issue for all nations – basically who is not concussed.

                the issue is unlike other physical injuries, noone seems to know what happens with concussions, atm.

                some come away fine within the hour , while some never recover from them. as we say in cricket , its kind of hit or miss.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 9:18am
                Rob Seltzer said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

                CUW, as you can see from the amount of injuries this season the game is faster and more physical than ever. The guys that went on the Lions tour would have played, Premiership, European Cup and 6 Nations rugby, that is a lot of high level rugby.

                By the end of the season you will struggle to find a player that is playing at 100% fully fit after the battering these guys bodies get week in week out. Players need the off season to just relax switch off mentally as well as physically from rugby, the guys that went on the Lions tour didn’t get that, in fact it couldn’t have been more opposite than that with the hype that went into the tour.

                As you are seeing with Wasps at the moment, yes clubs have big squads but there is a clear divide between your front line match day 23 and the rest of the squad so you want to have your best players as much as possible and here is the problem.

                Rugby clubs are a business now. There is a lot of money in the game, more coming in every year and fans want to see the best players week in week out. Clubs want the fans so they play the best players week in week out. PLayer welfare is unfortuantely not too high on their agenda, the bottom line is. Look at Welford Road. Yes Leicester get good crowds weekly but when they had the glory days of Johnson, Back, Rowntree, Healey, Greenwood etc yout couldn’t get a seat for love nor money there, now they barely ever sell out.

                That is a whole other discussion but players certainly need to be managed better to help them get the best out of their careers

    • October 11th 2017 @ 10:27pm
      adastra32 said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

      This autumn will be a good test of the England strength in depth. If they do well, it will mean having identified a set of real contenders for a number of positions.

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