Sale finally get a win while London Welsh surprise again

Sale finally got their season up and running following the creation of the “Rugby Strategy Management Board” with a 21-9 win over London Irish.

Sale bossed the game but began to look a little edgy towards the end before a pair of Cipriani penalties eased the nerves and gave everyone in the Sale team a reason to finally celebrate in the Aviva Premiership this season.

London Welsh also surprised a few when they beat Bath 16-9 at the Kassam. Bath had led 9-6 with two minutes left to play when replacement fly half Gordon Ross levelled the scores with a penalty.

Bath had controlled the game up to that point, but World Cup winning fly half , Stephen Donald, then threw the game away when he his pass was intercepted by Nick Scott who strolled home from 70 metres to seal the game for the Exiles.

The other Sunday game saw Saracens edge out Wasps 29-24 in their first game at Vicarage Road of the season. Charlie Hodgson was once again the man to thank as he kicked 21 points for the home side.

Wasps showed plenty of their attacking flair but Hodgson and Saracens’ excellent game management ensured that they never lost control of the game.

The two top of the table clashes saw Harlequins and Leicester build precious momentum after they both claimed narrow victories, Quins beating Gloucester 28-25 and the Tigers beating Northampton 16-12.

The Midlands clash was expected to centre on the return of the banned Callum Clark against Leicester, the side he was facing when he incurred his ban. Clark though was instantly back to his best, reminding observers just why he was picked in Stuart Lancaster’s first squad.

The focus on young George Ford though was too much, the 19 year old fly half has long been touted as a potential England player, and for the first time in his career, despite the scrutiny, he crumbled slightly; missing five kicks at goal that would have eased the pressure on Leicester enormously.

Quins and Gloucester lived up to their reputations as the most exciting sides in the league with their 53 point thriller, Quins though always looked in control and in reality a late Billy ‘36’ Twelvetrees try made the game look a lot closer than it was. Crucially though, it gave Gloucester a bonus point.

The game of the weekend though was Exeters 33-9 victory over Worcester. Not because of the performance or because it further extends their unbeaten run at Sandy Park, rather it was because of Chris Budgen’s try.

Budgen’s prematurely born twin son’s both died recently, and their funeral was on Thursday. The 39 year old prop had only come on for the final five minutes but it was a fitting ending for him to score and to be able to dedicate the try to his sons.

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