Well, well, weeeelllll.... I made it to the international break with this series. bout 4 weeks longer than I thought I'd manage!!
So what has the Premiership rollercoaster thrown at our feet this week?
Henry Trinder IS magic
Gloucester had a remarkable turnaround from round 5's mauling by Sale, earning a win over table topping Northampton, but a personal turnaround of fortune has been seen in Henry Trinder over the past few matches. Trinder has had injury issues galore, including 2 rebuilt knees, and a lot of us Shedheads were worried whether we'd ever see him play again let alone see him tear apart defences....
When he's fit and raring to go, few are better that Trinder, he can be damn close to unplayable. Ability to step off of either foot, fast, elusive, deceptively strong and a great rugby brain. Saints saw some of the best of Trinder as he scored one try after a superb break, even managing a forward roll on his way to the line after a great tap tackle, but the second try he grabbed, he had no right to score, squirming and rolling through the Saints defence to cross the line. It was a hugely impressive performance that has seen many media types calling for Henry to get a call from Eddie Jones, a few more outings like this and you can't help but think his phone will ring sooner rather than later!
Jamie George - Wasp swatter!
As a paid up former member of the front row union, I love seeing one of the front 3 grab a 5 pointer, but to see one of them get a hat-trick makes me borderline delirious. That's exactly what Jamie George managed at Allianz Park as Saracens swept aside Wasps. Sarries seemed to coast to their Try Bonus before the bench was emptied and Wasps made the score a tad more respectable, despite now falling to 4 straight losses.
Like Henry Trinder, George's performances have created an increased clamor for him to be picked above the England skipper Dylan Hartley for the Autumn Internationals, he seems to be capable of just about anything, strong lineouts, great in the loose, fast, strong..... he'll certainly get his shot sooner rather than later
Wasps injury woes
As I wrote in my season prediction blog, Wasps seemed light in numbers for their squad, and injuries may see them struggle, well that's what is happening at the moment, A lot of speculation has been in the press with some higher ups at Wasps calling for bigger squads (carefully omitting 'Higher wage budgets' from the quotes) but the reality is that other sides have similar injury problems but are still coping. One of the salary cap management talents is juggling big name signings against youngsters and fringe signings to bolster your numbers, I think this is something Wasps have started to address over the summer, but they will need to address the squad balance further to prevent this kind of injury crisis reoccuring!
They're certainly not the only side with injury woes, in fact injuries are up 35% on last season according to someone on Radio 5 at the weekend. Gloucester can barely field a second row at the moment and have been playing largely with a back row made up almost entirely of under 22's (Ludlow, Clarke, Ackermann, Polledri) Quins seem to have an injury crisis every year, Worcester have barely any scrum halves, having to sign Kitto on loan to fill the void, there was some great chat between Guscott and Simpson Daniel on Radio 5 on Saturday about the new laws keeping the ball in play equalling more collisions and therefore more injuries, whereas I'm not totally convinced that is the whole story, it was certainly enlightening.
Imagine, after stints at Gloucester and Leicester, boyhood Bath fan Freddie Burns making his first start at the Rec for the team he idolises, in the ground he used to sneak into as a youngster, I bet the night before he dreamt of racing in for match winning tries, or conversions from the touch line, what I imagine he never thought of was receiving a red card. But that's exactly what happened (eventually)
It was a clumsy tackle, deemed as a tip tackle originally by the ref, who almost immediately waved a yellow card, although after seeing a replay, and after a lengthy consultation with the TMO called Burns back on field to show the red card.
It's another of these new 'letter of the law' cards, I'm afraid, it's 100% correct, Fred DID lift Adams above horizontal and he DID take him down head first, but there was an arm down marginally before the head/shoulder contact, there was a Worcester player who I've seen argued was one of the causes of the 'twist' that took Adams head first, but intent is not in the law book and the ref got this one spot on, at the second attempt!
Player of the Week - Henry Trinder - Gloucester - Was the lynchpin of everything that went right for Gloucester, a catalyst in the backline, I hope to see many more performances like this from Henry!
Team of the week - Gloucester - Yup. I'm biased, but from what happened last week, to beating the leaders, a remarkable turnabout.
Match of the week -Harlequins vs Sale Sharks - Quins attacked with verve and swagger, Sale never gave up, and it resulted in a high scoring affair on Friday night which involved Danny Care producing one of the best cross field kicks you'll see, hitting Tim Visser perfectly in an unbroken stride right in the chest, it was a real thing of beauty!!!!