I really ought to change the name of this blog.... last week? Last weekend? ah screw it, you all know the routine!!!
Friday night started with resurgent Worcester Warriors hosting the inconsistent Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons met at Franklin's Gardens both looking for a win to end their respective bad runs!
Both matches went to the wire, over at Sixways, Sale managed to sneak a 14 - 18 victory out of the bag, despite having Faf de Klerk sin binned and Byron McGuigan seeing red for 2 yellow cards, one for a deliberate knock on and one for a horrible looking tip tackle, Mark Jennings being the hero to cross the whitewash for the match winning try, whereas in Northampton, it was another away team pinching a late win, 24 points to 22 when Tongan Nili Latu went over for a try to tie things up in the final play and Sonatane Takulua turned it into a 7 pointer and sealed the match with a conversion. Saints have been on a bad run of late and this loss to another side on a bad run will smart for the fans and team as they head to the European match weeks, Newcastle will certainly not care as they return to the winners circle!
Saturday treated us to three high scoring affairs, as Exeter Chiefs beat Bath 42- 29, resurgent Gloucester beat bottom club London Irish 39 - 15, Irish skipper David Paice getting a red card before half time not helping the Exiles cause and finally, Wasps overcame Leicester Tigers 32 - 25 at the Ricoh Arena.
Chiefs stunning first half performance (28 - 3 up at half time) secured the match and extended the Devonians lead at the top of the table to 8 points, but Bath grabbed a try scoring bonus point in a much improved second half performance to take a little consolation from the match. Gloucester jumped up to 2nd spot following the win over 14 man Irish. Paice's red card was unarguably deserved (an off the ball collision, with Paice's shoulder leading into the head of Gloucester skipper Willi Heinz) in truth, it was a disjointed match, but a playmaking masterclass from the Billy's, Burns and Twelvetrees and another great outing for Glaws young back row saw the Cherry and Whites secure a 5th straight win for the first time in 6 years! Wasps old boy Jonah Holmes almost came back to haunt them in a two try Premiership debut for the Tigers, it should have been a hat-trick but for a fantastic, albeit slightly controversial, steal by Dan Robson on the try line. The last laugh went to the Wasps though as Kearnen Myall scampered over for the decisive score and the defence held out a last desperate push for the line by the Tigers to secure the win.
This left us with just one match on Sunday as Harlequins and Saracens met at the Twickenham Stoop. Both sides could finally boast their England contingents in their return to club duty, and it was Quins who were celebrating at the end of the match. Outscoring Saracens 3 tries to 1 and on the back of another great showing from Danny Care, Quins made it 3 defeats in a row for Saracens in a 20 points to 19 victory! Sarries day was made worse losing Maro Itoje for the foreseeable with a double fracture to the jaw. The defeat dropped Saracens to 3rd in the table, but for Quins, it was a vital win to keep them in touch with the top 6, but now just 10 points separate 2nd place and 10th, so all is to play for!
Player of the week - Billy Burns - Gloucester - 2 tries, an assist and an all round great performance. Even David Flatman is questioning if Billy is now eclipsing his brother Freddie (who on a #rugbyunited QA has already said that Billy will be better than him!)
Team of the Week - Exeter Chiefs - Came out of the blocks hard and threatened to embarrass Bath before their mini comeback. The Champs are 8 points in the clear now and at least in the league format, will take some stopping!
Match of the week - Exeter vs Bath - a topsy turvy encounter that saw 10 tries scored between the two teams.
We have a couple of weeks of European matches now, so this blog won't be airing, I'm sure I'll be able to write something in it's place!