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Welsh surprise again as Quins go marching on

Week four of the Aviva Premiership provided probably the most surprising set of results of the season so far. With try’s galore once again and a number of tight matches, this is already looking like one of the better seasons of recent years.

On Friday night London Welsh recorded their second win in a row as they travelled to Sale, winning 29-19.

For Welsh it is a vital win, and by beating the teams that are likely to be around them at the end of the season, they are giving themselves the greatest possible chance of safety.

For Sale though, the season goes from bad to worse as they sit bottom of the table without a win. It is hard to explain why, as they signed well this summer, and in Bryan Redpath they have the man in charge that they want.

Somewhere though they are not gelling together properly, and Redpath needs to sort the problem out quickly or confidence will ebb away and Sale could get caught up in relegation worries.

Saturday saw a number of exciting games, with London Irish getting their first win of the season as they beat Bath 29-22. It was a much-needed win after what has been a disastrous start to the season. Gloucester meanwhile beat Wasps 29-22 too, with another impressive display from Freddie Burns who is surely throwing his hat in the ring now for England recognition.

The big game of the day though was at Welford Road where Leicester welcomed Harlequins. Quins went into the game top of the table with maximum points, while Leicester had also enjoyed a good start to the campaign, with a draw at Saracens being the only blip.

Tigers came out ready to fight back after their Premiership final defeat to Quins in May but Harlequins rose to the challenge admirably. In a display of power, class and skill, Harlequins put Tigers under more pressure than I can remember them being under at Welford Road in some time.

In the end, it was a comprehensive 22-9 victory for Quins, a result which will have really sent the warning lights flashing around the country, none more so than in Leicester Once again Nick Evans was the standout player with his pin point boot, and sublime running and passing. He is by far and away the form player in the league.

The other game in the Midlands was at Franklin’s Gardens, where Northampton hosted Worcester. Saints won 37-31 with a bonus point, but after being 25-3 up at the break there will be serious concerns from Jim Mallinder and his team.

For Worcester though, two bonus points, secured in a game where they looked dead and buried, will do their confidence no harm.

Sunday saw Saracens make the tough trip to face Exeter. Exeter have a reputation for making life tough for visiting teams and they played up to that reputation in style as they beat the 2011 Champions 14-12.

The Chiefs will be delighted, particularly after last week’s loss to London Welsh, and will hope to build on the momentum gained ahead of the start of the Heineken Cup when their squad will surely be tested to its full extent.

Saracens meanwhile have a little to consider after a shaky performance against Leicester last week they need to be careful no to let their season slide away form them ahead of the Autumn Internationals.

A rather shocking week for Fifteen Rugby’s predications saw us only guess Northampton and Harlequins correctly as winners, and neither in the manner that we expected.

That’s what makes it a great league though, unpredictability.

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