The biggest surprise this weekend in Round 13 of the Aviva Premiership was Saracens losing their winning streak on home turf to London Irish, 13-22.
If this wouldn’t stun you then I wouldn’t know what would. A quality team sitting top of the Premiership who’ve only been beaten once prior to this encounter.
What went wrong? I know Saracens are without some of their regular first-team players due to their involvement in the Six Nations, but surely dependency on them won’t gain then a place in the Premiership final?
So this is where the irony begins. Three matches all won this weekend on the smallest of margins. One point. Yes,Â you heard right. Northampton Saints travelled to Sandy Park and left it until the dying moments of the game to take control. George Pisi stormed the try line and stole the win, 16-17 against the Exeter Chiefs, pushing them to the top of the Aviva Premiership table after eight consecutive Premiership wins.
And so to Worcester, who welcomed Leicester Tigers to the Sixways Stadium. The Warriors fought hard on home turf but just couldn’t manage to seal the deal. An unfortunate outcome for the home side, which didn’t reflect their game play. Worcester have struggled so far this season but one would say that Tigers’ ill-discipline saw an undeserved win by just one pointÂ 22-23.
Now to the London derby, where Harlequins took on the London Wasps. The last encounter between these two sides resulted in a Quins triumph and a one point score line. But even though history repeated itself this weekend 11-10, it was Wasps who looked the likely winners. They had consistency throughout the game, but fell at the final hurdle to a late try by Sam Smith.
Bath were back with a vengeance this weekend and sitting comfortably in third place of the table. They’re one of the most consistent sides playing at the moment and proof was in the pudding, as they stormed to success at the Rec to win 24-6 against Newcastle Falcons. Bath are a side who’ve not shown any real struggle with the loss of players to the Six Nations – due to strong squad development maybe?
Finally, to the most predictable result of the weekend, Sale Sharks winning 24-19 to Gloucester.
I can’t put my finger on what’s not quite right in the Gloucester pack, lack of enthusiasm maybe? With two yellow cards shown in this game and a weak defence the loss was inevitable. A side that’s slowly slipping down the Premiership table, they need to regain confidence and momentum to bounce back.
One’s to watch next weekend: it’s all to play for in the South-West derby between Exeter Chiefs and Bath in Round 14 of the Aviva Premiership.
By Rhiannon Chandler Day