She’s back – Week 1 Aviva Premiership Review

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Oh how we’ve missed her. The Aviva Premiership sashayed back into our lives this weekend. Some new lipstick and a different hairdo but basically the same alluring fragrance as before. The rugby sizzled tantalisingly, some really good bits poking through; the blouse suitably unbuttoned to be this side of sexy.

Gloucester started things off. Friday night lights and we all found ourselves peering through the gloom at an unusual scoreline. Leicester would have to produce something good to win this. But that is what Leicester do. And, concerningly, losing games from twenty-four points clear is something Gloucester can do. You old tease Tigers. JP Pietersen to the manor born and the masterful Harrison’s poke into the corner; the inexorable ten man maul. Cherry and White fans doubled over in pain at what coulda, woulda, shoulda; the Shed crumpled as one.

To Twickenham and a double header; Saracens re-finding an ominous groove. Owen who? Lozowski kicking his points and crossing the whitewash. Worcester will have looked on with interest as Sale almost beat Newcastle the night previous but their trouncing at the hands of the European champions will have had their friends in the North smiling. The bottom of the league will be wetsuit tight; Worcester play Gloucester next Friday night; they will both have to bounce back.

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Manifold questions surrounded Bristol before kick off and they seemed to have answers at HQ against ‘Quins. Henson peeled back the years to impress in the midfield, and his partner, Will Hurrell, ploughing fields in the Championship with the Doncaster Knights last season, looked as though he could turn over more soil this year. But we would not be complete without a contentious issue and Joe Marchant’s score had more than a whiff of a forward pass about it. Curmudgeonly Andy Robinson, as dour as he could get post match, will, however, find reasons to smile this week; Bristol look equipped to hold their own this term.

Bath won at Saints through the boot of George Ford. Todd Blackadder cunningly described his ten as ‘as good as Carter’ pre-season; the All Black would have been happy with Ford’s haul of eighteen points. Two drop goals to compliment four from the tee. A fine start for the former Crusader’s West Country troupe; Talupe Faletau’s twisted knee the only real down side. Medial trouble for the Wales 8; Bath can scant afford too many injuries.

And what of Saints? Mallinder pointed skywards, ’twas the rain what did it. An opening day loss at the Gardens, with a creeping penalty count, will dampen any East Midland spirit. Picamoles on debut could not break through; enter South African scrum half Nic Groom. Two late tries to grab a point and half a glass of respectability. Away to Bristol next for ‘Thampton. Will be one to watch.

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Wasps/Exeter at the Ricoh. The best ’til last? It wasn’t a classic, not like they’ve had before, but both sides flexed their top four muscles. Chiefs manufacturing a lead like only they can; simple, effective. And then Wasps finding the right gears. The moment of representative narrative: Alec Hepburn, the Chiefs’ prop so impressive in South Africa during the summer, puts in a hit on Tommy Taylor that would have dented the stadium wall. But the blond haired hooker staggers back to his feet and takes his team down field. He throws a good arrow at the line out and then tags in underneath the big black rolling maul to dot down and complete the comeback. Taylor graciously, rightfully, picks up the Man of the Match award, although Gopperth would’ve been an equally good shout. Tommy looks pretty, plays tough; maybe he was the better Sale signing?

And there we have it, the curtains close on week one of her new season. The Aviva Premiership already giving us one of those glances. Take it slowly please my lovely… but let’s go!

Team of the Week

15 Tom Marshall (Gloucester)

14 Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle)

13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins)

12 Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)

11 JP Pietersen (Leicester)

10 Alex Lozowski (Saracens)

9 Sam Harrison (Leicester)

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

2 Tommy Taylor (Wasps)

3 Phil Swainson (Wasps)

4 Will Witty (Newcastle)

5 Dave Attwood (Bath)

6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester)

7 Jack Lam (Bristol)

8 Tom Ellis (Bath)

Sam Roberts © 2016. (Text only). All Rights Reserved

Sam Roberts © 2016. (Text only). All Rights Reserved

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