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Rhiannon’s Aviva Premiership Roundup

As Sale Sharks caught wind in their sails and headed off into the victorious distance on Friday night, beating the Exeter Chiefs, all eyes turned to the duo of local derby matches on Saturday. But one outshone the other. 

It would be hard not to mention it, so let’s talk about it: the red card…or should it have been a yellow?  There’s a lot of talk surrounding the incident and the decision making process leading up to it and ultimately the intervention of the TMO. Will it change? 

Well, we all know the chat in the Tigers camp prior to the game would’ve been, “Wind Dylan Hartley up – that’s all you need to do.”  And the whole squad tried from Geoff Parling and Dan Cole to Matt Smith.  With Richard Cockerill saying, “You would’ve thought he’d have learnt by now,”  when the Northampton skipper retaliated. 

But I’m in two minds on this.  Firstly, if J P Doyle was happy to award a yellow card, then why on earth did Sean Davey the TMO intervene?  Doyle is competent enough as a referee to make these decisions, or does he honestly need to be spoon fed or force fed decisions in his ear.  If Doyle says, “Ok I’ve seen it, it’s a yellow card” when does the TMOs input overrule the referee’s?  Does it and should it? No.

Maybe it’s worth mentioning that the TMO isn´t always consulted and the decision to consult is down to the referee.  Recent changes have allowed the referee to consult the Television Match Official with regard to foul play or personal injury and also alert the referee to any incidents he may have missed. This seemed to be selective by the TMO on Saturday.

Luckily, the match result was in Northampton’s favour but surely if I’d been writing this with a Leicester victory as the outcome, there’d be some very disgruntled Northampton supporters and players.  So let’s put the emphasis on a strong, fourteen man Saints squad, who pulled together for their captain.  As for people doubting his England career, he’s the best England hooker we have and no one can fault his consistent performances.  Let’s not take attention away from his fantastic ability. 

So, to the second big focus of the weekend and to the Ricoh Arena where local Coventry boy, Andy Goode, carved it up for his Wasps team against London Irish. He set a new individual points~scoring record by kicking 33 of their 48 points – the highest recorded in any one Premiership game.  The move to the Ricoh invigorated him and his team, setting the bar high.  What a welcome to their new home! 

And now let’s mention the West-country rivalry at Kingsholm.  It looked to be a balanced game in the first half but Bath took the Cherry and Whites by the scruff of the neck in the second and it paid dividends, as they ramped up an historical victory.  

But it wasn’t such an exciting game at the Stoop as the Harlequins only managed a narrow 15-7 victory over the Newcastle Falcons.  

And inevitably Saracens smashed London Welsh by seventy odd points to creep up the Premiership table.

Premiership Results:

Sale Sharks 18-11 Exeter Chiefs

Gloucester 16-39 Bath

Northampton Saints 23-19 Leicester Tigers

Saracens 78-7 London Welsh

Harlequins 15-7 Newcastle Falcons

London Wasps 48-16

Aviva Premiership Table

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Northampton Saints

10

8

0

2

7

39

2

Bath

10

8

0

2

5

37

3

Exeter Chiefs

10

7

0

3

5

33

4

Saracens

10

6

1

3

4

30

5

Sale Sharks

10

6

0

4

4

28

6

Wasps

10

5

0

5

4

26

7

Leicester Tigers

10

5

1

4

6

26

8

Harlequins

10

5

0

5

4

23

9

Gloucester

10

4

0

6

3

20

10

Newcastle Falcons

10

3

0

7

2

14

11

London Irish

10

2

0

8

4

12

12

London Welsh

10

0

0

10

1

1

By Rhiannon Chandler-Day

@RhiannonCDay

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

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