Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Premiership roundup : Anglo-Welsh Cup Week 2

by Kristian Ross


Scarlets 44-21 Bath (Fri):

Bath suffered a second consecutive defeat in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as the Welsh region wrapped up a comfortable win at Parc y Scarlets. It was another experimental fifteen for Todd Blackadder’s side, but did feature some familiar faces, with Rhys Priestland starting at out half. Jack Condy and Emyr Phillips both scored braces for the home side along with Josh Macleod as Dan Phillips produced an accomplished performance via the boot. Max Lahiff provided two tries most unusually from the front row as Jeff Williams also got amongst scoring, as the aforementioned Priestland added all three conversions, but it was unhappy return to his old club for the Carmathen man as Bath’s chances of what would be an impressive eleventh Anglo-Welsh Cup win look very bleak.

Ospreys 12-15 Harlequins (Fri):

Harlequins narrowly edged Ospreys in a tight but entertaining encounter at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night. However, it was a missed opportunity for the former PRO12 champions, with the Swansea based outfit leading 12-5 at half time before not registering a single score in the second period as Quins seized the initiative. Luke Price was impressive from the ten position as his try and conversion made sure he came away with a seven-point tally alongside a score from fullback Dafydd Howells. George Naopu and Charlie Matthews both went in for Harlequins as Tim Swiel’s penalty was enough to ensure that the Premiership team would come away with the spoils.

Bristol 26-11 Sale (Fri):

Bristol finally ended a 182-day streak without a competitive win as they grabbed their first victory of the season against Sale. The home side who last tasted victory when they were back in the RFU Championship, produced an excellent display to comfortably beat the Sharks in front of just over 7,000 at Ashton Gate. Three tries from Bristol were plenty to see off their opponents as Jason Woodward, Jack Tovey and scrum half Rhodri Williams all splashed over the whitewash, with Haluna Aulika getting the only try for the visitors. Dan Mugford and Tom Arscott both added penalties, but it was nowhere near enough to overcome a dominant Bris lot who finally have something to smile about.

Saracens 29-18 Newcastle (Sat):

Saracens overcame a spirited Newcastle side as they put last week’s defeat behind with a win them at Allianz Park. Sarries ran away with the match in the second half despite a level scoreline of 10-10. The home side crossed four times with four individual scorers in the form of Nick Tompkins, Scott Spurling and substitutes Jared Saunders and George Perkins. Opeti Fonua and the familiar face of JP Socino crossed for the visitors, with kicks from full back Brett Connon, but a powerful Saracens side did more than enough to get over the proverbial finishing line.

Northampton 19-13 Gloucester (Sat):

Northampton made it two on the bounce in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as they closed out a determined Gloucester at Franklins Gardens. Gloucester who were aiming to close a 10-3 deficit at half time finished with tries from Olly Thornley and Dan Thomas. Charlie Clare went in for the home side but it was Sam Olver who impressed with three penalties, a drop goal and a conversion as Northampton slowly may be starting to hit back at critics.

Leicester 42-3 Newport-Gwent (Sat):

Leicester hammered Newport-Gwent to further cement their intent of taking the Anglo-Welsh Cup seriously at Welford Road. Following a win over Bath last week at The Rec, the Tigers led 27-3 at half time with the Welsh side not registering a single score in the second half. Leicester managed six tries in all through Adam Thompstone (2), Greg Bateman, Freddie Burns, Ellis Genge and Jack Roberts. A single solitary first half penalty Geraint Rhys Jones was all Dragons fans had to smile about on an afternoon that they were mercifully outclassed on.

Wasps 62-10 Worcester (Sun):

Wasps scored sixty for the second time this season as a young side littered with academy talent hammered Worcester at the Ricoh Arena. Remarkably, unlike the Zebre result in the Champions Cup in which Wasps were home and dry at half time, the gap was just nine points at the interval with the home side leading 19-10. But a blitz of tries resulted in ten five point scores overall thanks to Tom Cruse, Thomas Young, Jack Willis, Dan Robson (2), Brendan Macken, Tom Howe, Jacob Umaga and Piers O’Conor. Despite a brave brace from Josh Adams, the Warriors had little to stem a very strong Wasps tide as the home fans were yet again treated to a spectacular display of attacking rugby.

Exeter 62-25 Cardiff Blues (Sun):

Exeter racked up an impressive sixty two points as they put the nightmare of the last three weeks behind them with a rout over the Cardiff Blues. The match was effectively over at half time as the Chiefs led 31-10 with a Blues side struggling to contain any Exeter attack. Incredibly, the ten tries were all scored by individuals, one from the referees whistle as well as Michele Campagnaro, Joe Simmons, Tom Hendrickson, Stuart Townsend, Tom Johnson, Jack Innard, Tom Lawday, Damien Welsh and Shaun Malton. James Sheekey, James Beale and Rhun Williams (2) ran in for the visitors in a game that saw no less than fourteen tries and eighty-seven points shared.


THE WINNERS:

  • Wasps – Sixty plus from what could be considered a B team. An incredible performance from the young Wasps lads who did not give Worcester a moments respite. Unfortunately, a side like Wasps can probably now beat anyone on their day.
  • Bristol – Of course, Bristol were always going to make the winners column this week. Finally, a win and finally something for their fans to cheer. Others and myself included have been critically over the sacking of Andy Robinson, but if it turns things round at Bris, who am I to judge?
  • Northampton – Simple enough, a second Anglo-Welsh Cup win for the Saints has got them into the winners section this week. Just when things were starting to slip at Saints, they seem to be clawing back some momentum,

THE LOSERS:

  • Bath – Harsh as it sounds, Bath should be beating teams of Scarlets calibre. They lost week at home and have followed it up with a second defeat with a team that did contain some star quality. Todd Blackadder will be disappointed.
  • Worcester – Hard to pick the final two slots this week, Worcester make it simply because they conceded sixty plus. In fairness, Wasps could have taken any of the weekend sides on and won by that margin... so maybe hard done by.
  • Newcastle – Shouldn’t really be anywhere near the losers column after two decent enough performances, but performances aren’t good enough unless they come with a big W next to it. Two losses on the bounce, positive play but negative result.

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

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