Wow back to normality, well at least for one week before the European competitions kickoff! Here is my round-up of the action.
Harlequins 16 – 14 Sale Sharks
London Irish 14 – 45 Bath
Worcester Warriors 28 – 20 Newcastle Falcons
Northampton Saints 6 – 12 Saracens
Exeter Chiefs 19 – 6 Leicester Tigers
Wasps 23 – 3 Gloucester Rugby
6 from 6, a good week on the predictions front.
Quins grabbed a narrow one over Sharks who normally don’t travel well. In a tight first half the only scores were a Sale try and a Quins penalty. Sales discipline would be a problem for them as they game up twice as many penalties. Quins struggles at the line out where they lost 5 is something they will need to improve. There summer signings have been a good improvement with Visser’s try adding to the penalties from Evans to put Quins into the lead. Sale did pull back a try and probably should have won the game after Cipriani missed a late penalty and drop goal to take the lead back.
Bath jumped out to a lead before losing a player to the bin. Irish weren’t able to take advantage as their scrum half stamped on a Bath player and was red carded. With both teams down a player they traded tries so that Bath took a ten point lead into halftime. Two early tires in the second half for Bath secured the TBP and put the game to bed. Irish did pull a try back but never were in the game and Bath added another couple of tries in the closing stages.
Warriors had a dominant first half that capped a perfect start to the season for them. Their outside backs bagged 4 tries and the TBP. Falcons managed two tires of their own to trail by 11 at the break. Warriors will be worried that they switched off in the second half rather then seeing the game out. Luckily for them Falcons only managed a penalty in a barren half for scoring.
Saracens won a battle of the defences with Farrell’s kicking boot seeing them over the line. They were perhaps lucky that he stayed on the pitch after he put his hands in Wood’s face. However it was Saints who took the lead and it wasn’t until late in the first half that Saracens could drag them back. Saracens managed 3 penalties around halftime and that in the end with their defence was enough to take the game.
Steenson won the battle of the flyhalves as he scored all 19 of Exeter’s points. A confident Exeter kicked to the corner and Steenson stretched out for the try line form the catch and dry. Chiefs tried it again but this time were bundled into touch later in the half they kicked two penalties to Tigers one and led by ten at halftime. In the second time both sides cancelled each other out until the last quarter where Chiefs answered William’s penalty with tow of their own to go second in the table.
Wasps magic outside backs created something from nothing to get the opening try. With defences on top Wasps knocked over 3 more penalties to have comfortable lead at the break. Then early in the second half Gloucester lost a player to a red card for a late high tackle. Wasps only managed a penalty try but that was enough even when they lost a player to a red card late on.
Connacht Rugby 33 – 19 Benetton Treviso
Leinster 19 – 15 Scarlets
Ospreys 36 – 3 Zebre
Cardiff Blues 30 – 35 Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh 14 – 16 Munster
Newport Gwent Dragons 12 – 19 Ulster
Connacht have gone top on the table but it’s close at the top with Munster and Scarlets within two points. Treviso are off the bottom of the table but Blues, Zebre, Dragons and Ospreys are bunched just above them within two points as well.
Toulon 52 – 8 Montpellier
La Rochelle 38 – 3 US Oyonnax
Section Paloise 33 – 31 Agen
Brive 16 – 3 Bordeaux Begles
Toulouse 52 – 12 Grenoble
Castres 34 – 8 Racing Metro 92
Stade Francais 14 – 9 Clermont Auvergne
Despite the loss Clermont remain top of the standings but Toulouse have closed the gap to two points. At the other end Agen and Oyonnax are struggling.
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