Thursday, October 06, 2016

Premiership Week 5 roundup

by Kristian Ross


Northampton 20-19 Exeter (Fri):

Northampton got back to winning ways at Franklin Gardens with a hard fought win over Exeter. Jim Mallinder’s side fell behind 13-0 on their home patch and looked like they were staring down the barrel of a third defeat this season. Olly Woodburn’s try for the Chiefs coupled with the boot of Gareth Steenson gave the away side an early lead, but it was the Welsh talisman George North who steadied the ship, also setting up Rory Hutchinson to give the Saints a half time lead. Mallinder looked to his son Harry to deliver the goods which he did, a second half of points via the kicking tee was enough to ensure a narrow win.

Bristol 0-39 Saracens (Fri):

Bristol continued their woeful Premiership form as Saracens recovered from a first defeat of the season in a hammering at Ashton Gate. Alex Lozowksi has earned a placed in the forthcoming England elite squad and once again showed why, a terrific performance from the Sarries man delivering two tries and a conversion. Jamie George, Chris Wyles and George Kruis also got on the scoresheet as Mark McCall’s men romped to a bonus try win in a match that Bristol provided little for their fans to shout about.

Sale 34-30 Leicester (Sat)

Sale produced an excellent display as they beat Leicester on Saturday at the AJ Bell Stadium. It was second win of the season for the Sharks who had already beaten Harlequins a few weeks previously as the Tigers fell to a surprise defeat. Peter Betham had scored twice to put Leicester in front but Johnny Leota’s try made sure that Sale led at the break. Mike Phillips, Paolo Odugwu and Halani Aulika all got scores as the home side grabbed the bonus point with Will Addison’s penalty striking the crucial blow. Adam Thompson’s scored had Leicester within touching distance but the Sharks held onto the win despite Owen Williams’s effort via the boot.

Gloucester 6-15 Bath (Sat):

Gloucester suffered a third Aviva Premiership defeat as Bath took the spoils at Kingsholm. Bath who were looking to recover from a first loss of the season to Leicester the week previous scored the only tries of the game thanks to Matt Banahan and Anthony Watson. James Hook and Greig Laidlaw scored Gloucester’s only points in what was a star studded scoresheet, but the glitz stopped their in what was a pretty uneventful encounter as David Humphrey’s team still seemingly haven’t shackled the demons from last season’s campaign.

Wasps 47-18 Harlequins (Sun):

Wasps showed their ambitions for the title once again as they swept aside Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena. Dai Young’s side continued their excellent start to the season scoring an impressive seven tries and had the bonus point wrapped up within just over half an hour. Elliot Daly, Ashley Johnson, Dan Robson, Christian Wade, Kyle Eastmond and Guy Thompson all crossed the whitewash in Coventry as Jimmy Gopperth made sure his scoring tally kept on ticking over for the season, nailing six penalties. Jamie Roberts and James Chisholm provided consolation for the visitors in the first half as Quins tried to stay in sight, but it was yet another show of dominance this season as Wasps made it five wins from five.

Worcester 11-9 Newcastle (Sun):

Worcester eased their relegation worries as they got a vital four points against Newcastle at Sixways. Newcastle who had beat Gloucester the previous week were looking for a second consecutive win in the Premiership but had to settle for a losing bonus point as Tom Heathcote and Ryan Lamb’s penalties were the difference as the Falcons tried to battle from 11-3 down. Wynand Oliver’s try got the ball rolling for the Warriors and it turned out to be the only score of the game as Mike Delany and Joel Hodgson’s penalties secured a losing bonus point to take back to the North East.

THE WINNERS:

  • Northampton – It was a big weekend for Jim Mallinder as his son secured a win for the Saints on home turf. So far this season, the Saints have looked inconsistent and another defeat would have ensured more pressure from the rugby mad Midlands city. Exeter could have proved a banana skin, but the narrow one-point margin ensured the majority of fans leaving Franklin Garden’s had a good afternoon.
  • Sale – A second win of the season for Sale over tough opposition sees the Sharks proved they could mean business this season. Perhaps unlikely to challenge for the top four places, but the top six may be reachable as they should guts and determination to beat a top Leicester side.
  • Worcester – A massive four points for Worcester at Sixways ensured some breathing space at the bottom of the table after defeating Newcastle. The pundits always argue its these sorts of matches that are vital come the end of the season and they could well be right as the Warriors finally got that all important first victory.

THE LOSERS:

  • Bristol – Bristol’s hellish start to the Premiership got worse after being nilled by Saracens at Ashton Gate. Andy Robinson would have been all too aware that if Worcester were to win at Newcastle, a gap would open up at the bottom of the Premiership and sure enough, a Warriors win means Bristol are already fighting to make up ground with a deficit of seven points hanging over them. Still might be too early to call it, but it looks like relegation is very likely.
  • Newcastle – It’s all about consistency and Newcastle would have been looking for a second win on the bounce, especially with a winnable tie against Worcester. But mistakes and poor kicking out of hand ensured the Falcons succumbed to defeat in game that was all about small margins.
  • Harlequins – Harlequins anniversary season once again took a bad turn after they were hammered in Coventry. No shame at all in losing to Wasps these days, but perhaps fans at The Stoop are searching the phonebook for a C.O’Shea as another defeat means that Quins are now second bottom after five rounds.

@Kristian7Ross - 22, Geordie, part time journalist and Irish Rugby fan.

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