Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Perfect start for Quins continues

Round three of the Premiership wasn’t great for the tipsters with two draws, Felix McCabe was on hand to summarize…

Aviva Prem column

This week’s rugby action all over the globe took a back seat as the world of rugby mourned the loss of Nevin Spence. The 22 year old centre come winger played with Ulster Rugby and the Irish Wolfhounds in what would have been a bright and successful career. This past weekend Nevin, alongside his father Noel and brother Graham, passed away as a result of a tragic farm accident. I send sincere condolences to Nevin’s mother and sister. May he rest in peace.

Northampton's Ben Foden receives treatment for an ankle injuryLooking at this weekend’s action, Northampton continued their unbeaten run when they met Bath at The Rec. A first minute try from Nick Abendanon caught the Saints off-guard when he ran in unopposed in the corner. A well worked ruck resulted in a nice grubber kick from Tom Biggs; the ball bouncing nicely for Abendanon. Northampton responded with a string of penalties from the boot of Stephen Myler coming off of a spell of bad discipline from the hosts. Coach Gary Gold would late lament this as a decisive factor in his side’s loss. Ben Foden suffered an ankle injury (pic) after a collision with Biggs and was replaced by Tom May. The veteran took a nice drop-goal but the Saints’ attack sorely missed Foden and couldn’t challenge Bath’s goal area. It finished 18 points to 14 at The Rec.

It wasn’t the prettiest of occasions when Gloucester and Worcester slugged it out at Sixways but some semblance of game ensued. First half exchanges between Andy Goode and Billy Twelvetrees saw Gloucester lead 6-3 at the end of disastrous half that left spectators wondering if these guys had ever played rugby before; a series of mishandling offences making it a non-event. The second half wasn’t much more to write home about. Goode found himself in the bin, for tackling Henry Trinder off the ball, after which kicking duties were assumed by centre, Joe Carlisle. The Cherry & Whites found themselves with the last kick of the game and it fell to Freddie Burns to punt. He slotted home the penalty to deny Worcester victory for the second time this season on a kick. A draw; all either team deserved on the day.

My Sharks are slowly becoming bottom feeders on the Premiership table this season. I don’t understand it either. On paper, they’ve a wealth of talent but in practice they’re slow at the breakdown and are poor at scoring tries. And that’s why it was business as usual for table-toppers, Harlequins. A run of the mill performance: Moyne try here Turner-Hall try there rounded off with a George Robson try and of course a burst of brilliance from Mike Brown to seal a third consecutive bonus-point win for Quins. Sale will play London Welsh next week when they go fishing for their first win this season. A task made tougher now that Welsh have a victory under their belt.

The London Derby produced a long-awaited victory for on-form Wasps despite Irish’s strong start. Winger, Marland Yarde crossed the whitewash first for The Exiles but it would be the only time Irish got under the Wasps’ sticks. Kicking pleasantries exchanged before half-time for a 11-9 lead to the visitors. Whatever Dai Young said (or shouted) at his side during the break seemed to work as the Wasps came out buzzing from the kick-off. Varndell continued his great form with two great tries; this topped off with one each from Joe Simpson and Zak Taulafo put the game to rest. It finished 43-14 at Wycombe.

Saracens' Charlie Hodgson attempts a drop-goalIn a Munster-esque scene Charlie Hodgson had the opportunity to steal a victory for Sarries against Leicester this weekend (pic). He sliced it wide in a game that produced little the way of champagne rugby. Leicester skipper, Geordan Murphy, suffered an injury early on which led to his replacement for fullback Matt Smith. Leicester seemed to rally without their captain and nearly scored a try when Goneva linked up with Hamilton only to be denied by Alex Goode. Pressure from both sides only resulted in penalties and it became a kicking game. Toby Flood scoring three penalties to Hodgson’s two.

Finally we finished in Oxford this weekend with the intense battle between London Welsh and the Exeter Chiefs. The Chiefs got on the scorecard early on with a try from Luke Arscott whilst his brother Tom, in the opposite number, could only look on. Minutes later Exeter would extend their lead to 14 points when Matt Jess went over the line; bringing his personal tally to 4 tries this season! Welsh were not beat at that though and made use of the rolling maul to secure a penalty try which was followed up with another try from Nick Scott. There was only a point in it when the sides went in at half time. Exeter came flying out of the blocks in the second half; mixing powerful strength up front with good, go-forward ball. This brought them within spitting distance of the Welsh line and Richard Baxter was the man to ground the ball. Gordon Ross’ kicking brought London Welsh back into the game and after four phases of good attacking rugby, Ed Jackson would break the line and score. This set Seb Jewell up for the winning kick with two minutes to go. It finished 25-24 to Welsh as they showed us why they belong in the Premiership this season.

Results

Bath Rugby 14-18 Northampton Saints

Worcester Warriors 16-16 Gloucester Rugby

Harlequins 37-14 Sale Sharks

London Wasps 43-14 London Irish

Saracens 9-9 Leicester Tigers

London Welsh 25-24 Exeter Chiefs

Eng Prem table

Next Round

Friday, 21 September 2012

Sale v London Welsh, 20:00

Saturday, 22 September 2012

London Irish v Bath, 15:00

Northampton v Worcester, 15:00

Gloucester v Wasps, 15:15

Leicester v Harlequins, 17:30

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Exeter v Saracens, 14:15

Felix (@lightningrust): Blogger, eternal student of business & law, sunshine rugby player with a passion for music and fitness. Coffee is essential. Leinster fan and Irish proud.

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