Very late with this blog this week, those following my Facebook and Twitter will already know why, but I will be trying to keep this series going, no matter the delay! Also, I realise the name of this blog series now no longer fits the content, but let's stick with it.....
Newcastle vs Gloucester
The Friday night kick off saw 2 sides on contrasting runs clash at Kingston Park, a place where Gloucester have come unstuck more often than not in recent seasons, however, Gloucester seem to be a different animal of late, and with on-fire Henry Trinder missing, it was another Henry with the magic in his boots on the day, as Henry Purdy put in a man of the match performance in a bonus point victory.
In all, it was a pretty hard fought matchup, and I think the Falcons will be annoyed at the tries they conceded, with a cheeky line out move between Hanson and Thrush being the most obvious example of catching Falcons defence sleeping, but it was another thoroughly professional performance by the Cherry and Whites who have continued their upward mobility!
Final score - Newcastle 7 - Gloucester 29
Bath vs Harlequins
The matchup over at the Rec saw 2 teams that are suffering losses to the international window meet and it was a high scoring affair, with Bath sprinting out to a huge 29 - 7 lead at half time, before a far more even second half, which was lit up by a sensational show of speed from Gabriel Ibitoye (respect to prop Max Lahiff for a awesome chasedown)
Freddie Burns managed to grab himself a haul of 17 points in a fine showing, and overall Bath took scored 4 of the 6 tries from the match, earning them a vital bonus point as the top 4 battle starts to hot up, whereas Quins remained tied in to the cluster of teams around 20 points.
Final score - Bath 38 - Quins 14
Sale vs Northampton
Two more sides from the group around Quins also met on Saturday as Sharks met Saints, both sides have bags of potential,and even though it ended a relatively low scoring match up we did get a few little treats. Tom Curry scoring for (what I think) was the fourth match on the spin.We also saw 2 Springbok scrummy's that seem to light up every match they're in, with Faf De Klerk and Cobus Reinach teach managing to grab a try!
The final score was 18 - 15 as Sale clinched the win via a Will Cliff kick, leaving Saints to rue a little bit of indiscipline that saw them lose 3 players to the naughty step!
Leicester Tigers vs Worcester Warriors
Worcester have starting to look like a different team in the last couple of weeks and indeed, created some history by earning their first ever victory at Welford Road and they did it in style, grabbing a try bonus point in a 7 try thriller that could have gone either way right up to the final play of the match.
Tigers had won 6 on the bounce prior to this match and I would imagine the Worcester victory was long odds with the bookies with how their season had gone up until now. As I said last week, Warriors are a different prospect with Francois Hougaard (what is it with South African scrum halves in the Premiership these days??) and combined with Jonno Lance at 10 and some exciting backs behind them (2 try Josh Adams for one) and the second half of the season will be very interesting for the Sixways men!
Leicester were missing players, but it's hard to begrudge Warriors their slice of history!
Final Score - Tigers 27 - Warriors 31
London Irish vs Wasps
Bottom club Irish gave one of the pre-season favourites a mighty scare, with Irish having some tremendous discipline to keep the scoreline close, but unfortunately, Wasps did what Wasps do and in the absence of penalties, ran in 3 tries instead. But Wasps have a pretty high average for points score and against the bottom club, a close defeat was certainly not on the cards and Irish deserve a whole lot of credit for a hard earned bonus point (which may yet prove to be vital!)
Final Score - Irish 13 - Wasps 17
Saracens vs Exeter Chiefs
A repeat of the Premiership semi final from last season and yet again it was a late score from the Devonians that won the match! The match turned with Saracens going 2 tries up, Exeter just seemed to find another gear and struck back, spending plenty of time pushing Sarries much vaunted defensive line to the limit.
Obviously both sides were depleted with international matches also staged over the weekend, but for Saracens, it was a tough task losing both of their first team fly halves, Farrell and Lozowski, but in Max Malins, they have a star of the future, who had a solid match under difficult circumstances, but indeed, it was the Chiefs day at Allianz Park. The defeat was the first at home for Saracens in 20 Premiership matches and the win extended Chiefs lead at the top of the league to 5 points
Saracens 18 - Chiefs 20
Match of the week - Leicester vs Worcester
Team of the week - Worcester Warriors
Player of the week - Clean sweep..... Jack Singleton for the Warriors!!!