Aviva Premiership Review: Rd 6

Trouble on the Road!

Well, you can’t say I didn’t tell you! I know I keep banging on about how hard it is to win on the road in the Premiership but still try and pick some away wins.

Well I did no better this week with my prediction of three teams that would do just that. I went for 3 away s and of course all 6 home teams triumphed!

Not only did all three of my away teams lose – two were by substantial margins and none of them ended up with even a bonus point for their troubles – not even the Tigers!

 Starting on a miserable and wet Friday evening in Bath the home side dogged out a drab 15 -12 advantage over Gloucester.

George Ford kicked five penalties for their only points but missed several others that would have seen them home earlier and more comfortably. For Gloucester Freddie Burns, released from the England camp contributed all 13 points including the game’s only try – achieved when he charged down Ford’s attempted clearance kick.

Bath’s head coach attributed the win to his forwards with flanker Carl Fearns getting man of the match.

 

On Saturday Exeter Chiefs piled yet more misery on Dean Ryan’s team when they ran riot in demolishing Worcester Warriors by scoring 6 tries to finish 40 – 6 to the good. Ben White picked up a couple and Aussie Dean Mumm added to his season’s try count by galloping over before half time.

Exeter have been moving steadily up the table and now sit handily in 4th just behind Bath. They look like they will give anyone a hard time – especially visitors to sandy Park. Tom Johnson was again lively together with his back row colleagues White and Ewers.

The Warriors are increasingly looking like the side to go down at the end of the season – even after just 6 games and with 16 matches still to go

 

The predicted close battle between the top two sides turned out instead to be a massacre with Northampton Saints comfortably on the right side of a 41 – 20 final score. They also brought to an end the Saracens unbeaten run in the Premiership. After their loss at home to Toulouse in last Saturday’s Heineken game it’s not been a good week for the Saracens.

Like the Chiefs, the Saints ran in 6 tries – two from Ben Foden plus one each for Luther Burell, Samu Manoa, Jamie Elliott and Ken Pisi.

American Manos has continued his rich vein of form from last season and deservedly picked the man of the match trophy. The Saints stay second but by gaining the bonus point and denying one to Saracens they moved to within one point of the leaders and are looking ominous even without their England Internationals.

I was also completely wrong in predicting an away win for the resurgent Sale Sharks who were greeted by a noisy crowd of nearly 12,000 at the Stoop. Harlequins got their show back on the road in an impressive manner that will have lifted the spirits of head coach Connor O’Shea.

With several players away in the England squad and with Tom Guest departing in the first half with an injury the Quins fielded a fresh faced bunch. The youngsters did well in support of the old hands like Nick Easter and Nick Evans. Evans was nursing a leg and Botica took over the kicking duties landing himself 14 points for a good afternoon’s work. Danny Cipriani showed little of his recent form and only had 2 penalties to his name before he was replaced on 55 minutes when he gave way to Ford.

Quins came home 24 – 3 and were never in real trouble

 

Sunday saw another fine home win with Wasps once again beating Leicester at Adams Park – where the visitors have not won now for 6 years!

The only try went to Christian Wade who had a simple run in from a sublime overhead miss pass from his centre and captain Chris Bell. James Haskell, in a cameo appearance, had a monster game when he came on in the second half and on this form must harbour ambitions to catch Stuart Lancaster’s eye once more. Joe Simpson buzzed around full of energy and similarly would not look out of place in the England squad – despite being only about 4th choice at the moment. But it was the game management of Andy Goode that broke Leicester hearts and resistance in the end. His kicking was immaculate all afternoon – not least the two perfect drop goals when his side were down to 14 men in the second half that finally took the game away from the visitors.

Good ended up with 17 points and the man of the match – his last penalty from his own half in the 76th minute clinched the win and denied Leicester even a bonus point.

 

The final game of the weekend was London Irish’s visit to Newcastle where the Falcons once again proved that home advantage really counts – although to be fair this was their first win of the season at Kingston Park. They picked up 4 valuable points in coming from behind to win 13 – 11. It was always close with no team getting ahead by more than the one score – both scored a single try and it was the kickers who ended up deciding who eventually won.

Irish could have won it late in the game when both Humphreys and Geraghty missed penalties. The conditions did not help but they will have been disappointed not to get more from the game. The bonus point does however move them further away from Worcester at the bottom.

 

Results R6

Bath 15 – 13 Gloucester

Exeter 40 – 6 Worcester

Harlequins 24 – 6 Sale

Northampton 41 – 20 Saracens

Wasps 22 – 12 Leicester

Newcastle 13 – 11 London Irish

 

Table after 6 rounds

Pos

 

Team

Pl

W

D

L

Pts

1

 

Saracens

6

5

0

1

23

2

 

Northampton Saints

6

4

1

1

22

3

 

Bath Rugby

6

4

0

2

18

4

 

Exeter Chiefs

6

4

0

2

17

5

 

Leicester Tigers

6

3

1

2

17

6

 

Harlequins

6

3

0

3

15

7

 

Sale Sharks

6

3

0

3

13

8

 

Newcastle Falcons

6

3

0

3

13

9

 

London Wasps

6

2

0

4

13

10

 

London Irish

6

2

0

4

10

11

 

Gloucester Rugby

6

2

0

4

10

12

 

Worcester Warriors

6

0

0

6

2

 

So – another mixed week for my predictions – I ended up with 3 right and 3 wrong in the end. I was also wrong in suggesting in my previous article that there was a gap for the Premiership during the International window. They will all be at it again next weekend starting on Friday night when bottom club .Worcester host third place Bath

My predictions will appear here later this week – don’t be surprised if there is a surfeit of home wins forecast!

 

About David Shute

Shutey’s obsession with all things rugby far exceeds his ability on the pitch during his playing days as his blog (www.rugbyoldbloke.wordpress.com) certainly testifies.
He lives in England and can be caustic about the progress of his team since his mate Clive resigned – this is reflected in his writing about the state of Northern Hemisphere rugby. You can follow Shutey on twitter but only if you seriously have nothing better to do.

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