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Rhiannon’s Aviva Premiership Roundup – Saracens lose again

The air was thick with anticipation on Friday night as a much lauded celebrity stole the limelight; making his debut and hopefully his mark, running out to make history, as a cross-code player, for Bath, at the Rec, against the Harlequins.

Yes, it was all about Slammin’ Sam. The hype on social media and in the press was electric and when Mike Ford brought Sam Burgess on in the last quarter of the game, the cheer pierced the night as the Rec erupted. He only touched the ball a handful of times and it took a hefty group of defenders to drag him down when he was on the rampage, but nevertheless, he looked as happy as a pig in mud after he’d shaken off the nerves and the initiation and integration has started.

He’s constantly described as the answer to England’s prayers but 2015 is only round the corner. Maybe a lot of hard work will have to go into nurturing this incredible man before then if Stuart Lancaster envisages him as one of his few chosen centres; but maybe not.

So let’s turn our attention to the other man who stole the show, Mr Barnes. Wayne’s World strikes again. What a bizarre situation, “I’ll send three to the bin if I have to”… wow! He’d have been wiser awarding what was rightfully a penalty try to Bath and been done with the nonsense of to-ing and fro-ing, in and out of the bin! It caused chaos on and off the pitch and I witnessed Harlequins helplessness; unable to defend driving mauls on several occasions for fear of being sucked in and unable to defend else where on the pitch. Final score, 25-6. Unbelievable scenes.

In other news, it was only last week I was speaking so highly of Exeter Chiefs and they’ve done it again; storming to their fourth consecutive victory in the Premiership, this time over the Saracens at Sandy Park, 27-19. The question is, who can stop this side that’s quite clearly on fire? It’ll be interesting to see Sarries form when absent players return.

A team not so on fire though are the Leicester Tigers and it was evident a home advantage proved pertinent for them on Saturday as they clinched a late 18-16 win over their new arch rivals, Wasps. Ill-discipline cost the visitors as they snapped at the heels of a shaky Tigers pack. But the East-Midlands side bagged the four points and move up the Premiership table to fifth place, on par with Sarries points wise. A win’s a win but Richard Cockerill seemed in no doubt that Tigers must play a better game.

On Sunday, round 9 concluded with a trio of games.

Firstly, a sound Saints side stood strong at the Kassam Stadium and then they ran rings around London Welsh; scoring seven tries to bag the bonus point and take them back to top of the Premiership table, with a 14-43 victory. Job done wouldn’t you say Mr Mallinder? But London Welsh are scoring now, climbing that mountain and building week on week. Well done London Welsh!

Well David Humphreys would’ve been saying quite the opposite to the Cherry and Whites at half time in the changing room at the Madjeski Stadium, as his team were only 0-3 up against London Irish. A tongue in cheek Ugo Monye called it a ‘thriller’ first half … whilst the second was a little more fruitful and Gloucester bossed an impressive 9-21 win. London Irish resembling a ‘push me pull you’ at the moment, leaving everyone guessing weekly what their performances will produce.

We knew it’d be an eventful Northern battle at Kingston Park and it definitely wasn’t one way traffic. The Falcons led at half time but the Sharks didn’t succumb to the hosts’ pressure and it was a last chip from Danny Cipriani, sending Johnny Leota over the line to finish up 13-18. That’s now Sale’s third consecutive win, Steve Diamond will be a happy chappy. As for the Falcons, well we all know they can now fly!

And as our attention turns to this weekend’s European fixtures and players return from England duty, it’ll be time for some clubs to reflect on a tough month and for others to look and see what’s on the horizon … December -you’re looking promising!

Grab your hand warmers, mulled wine and mistletoe, it’s going to be a cracking month … of rugby of course!

Round 9 Results:

Bath 25-6 Harlequins

Exeter Chiefs 27-19 Saracens

Leicester Tigers 18-16 Wasps

Newcastle Falcons 13-18 Sale Sharks

London Welsh 14-43 Northampton Saints

London Irish 9-21 Gloucester

Aviva Premiership Table

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Northampton Saints

9

7

0

2

7

35

2

Bath

9

7

0

2

5

33

3

Exeter Chiefs

9

7

0

2

4

32

4

Saracens

9

5

1

3

3

25

5

Leicester Tigers

9

5

1

3

3

25

6

Sale Sharks

9

5

0

4

4

24

7

Wasps

9

4

0

5

5

21

8

Gloucester

9

4

0

5

4

20

9

Harlequins

9

4

0

5

3

19

10

Newcastle Falcons

9

3

0

6

2

14

11

London Irish

9

2

0

7

4

12

12

London Welsh

9

0

0

9

1

1

By Rhiannon Chandler-Day

@RhiannonCDay

You can see more from Rhiannon at: http://rhiannonsrugbyunionblog.blogspot.co.uk

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