It’s back! After what feels like years of no premiership rugby, this weekend we were treated to the best of what Northern hemisphere has to offer.
Bath claim first victory in two months
Freddie Burns helped his side get their first win in two months kicking three penalties and three conversions against Worcester. However, they had to wait until Elliot Stooke’s 77th– minute try to deny the visitors of any chance of a late win. Worcester didn’t offer much in terms of points, but held strong to make Bath fight for their win. Duncan Weir’s boot scored most of Worcester’s points, apart from a try from Ryan Mills during the first half.
Bath missed out on the bonus try, however, the home win is a positive for Todd Blackadder’s men who have been struggling to find form in recent weeks.
Tigers are slowly losing their roar
When the international period came around, Leicester Tigers used to be a team that were still formidable without their ‘key’ players. But now, Tigers are struggling both with and without them. Their loss to Gloucester on Friday night wasn’t pretty as the Cherry and Whites put 5 tries past the once premiership giants.
Tigers, haven’t been at their best for a while, and the backroom instability is starting to show. Tigers fans do always remain optimistic in the way the saying “oh wait till the end of the season, we’ll make the top four” and that used to always be true, however now that saying seems a little more difficult to achieve.
For the sake of the club, hopefully when their international players return things will start to get better. They do have big absentees in Ford, Youngs and May to name a few. But Tigers need to start winning more games, or at least gaining a bonus point to keep their big names from looking elsewhere.
Exeter get a wakeup call
Exeter maintained their unbeaten record in the Premiership with a last-minute penalty try to cruelly deny Bristol of a win. It was a real test for both teams but shows that Bristol have taken advantage of the Premiership Cup to build on their squad, rather than Exeter’s approach of resting some players that featured on Sunday.
Bristol fought hard and Sheedy’s penalty kick at 76 minutes looked to have sealed the win, however, Exeter’s lineout driving maul took the famous victory away from them.
Exeter did look slightly worried for periods of the match and the late win proves how tough the Premiership is, with the 11thside nearly beating last year’s finalists.
Wasps’ big name absentees are starting to show
Wasps are starting to look like a side shy of any confidence as they remain without some of their biggest names. Their defeat at Franklins Gardens marks their seventh match without a win across all competition and something that we rarely see from the Coventry based club.
It was a very disappointing match for them against Northampton and showed little forward momentum throughout.
Fundamental errors and a lack of consistency is costing the former Premiership champions and having absent big names and a rather small squad isn’t helping.
Joe Launchbury, Dan Robson and Jimmy Godperth are all still injured and in recent seasons have been the glue that keeps Wasps’ performance together.
Wasps do still sit forth and would feel that come the end of the season will still defiantly be looking to take a place in the semi-finals, nevertheless, the sooner players return from injury the better.
What has happened to Newcastle?
From being in the semi-finals and looking like a team ready to win the Premiership last season to sitting in twelfth place this season, Newcastle have really had a fall from grace. Their European campaign is going well, beating French giants Toulon and Montpellier and now sit top of pool two however, domestically they are really struggling to find any sort of consistency or form.
During their loss at the weekend to Harlequins they lost their fly-half, Joel Hodgson to the stretcher early on in the first half and centre Jonny Williams to an injury before kick-off.
They currently have six players on international duty, including Mark Wilson who is starting to feature more in Eddie Jones’ plans and subsequently, they have had to hand top-flight debuts to less experienced players.
With their current form in the Premiership, they might be the side who wins in Europe but gets demoted in England.