As expected Round 2 was a cracking weekend of Aviva Premiership action with multiple twists and turns. As we started to do last week, this season we’re going to be casting our eye over the performances behind the results and look at the key influencers over the course of the Premiership weekend.
At Sixways there are two players that I’d like to focus on and they ply their trade in completely different parts of the field and for different teams. The first is Gloucester’s Ben Morgan. He made the most carries of all on the field at Sixways with 14 and was only topped in the tackled count by Donncha O’Callaghan. It was the Gloucester forward’s work rate that impressed me, highlighted by his statistics, and if the Cherry and Whites are going to have a chance at playing the type of game that they want to then they need the hard ball carrying abilities that their Number 8 can bring.
The other that caught my eye on Friday night was Perry Humphreys. The 21-year-old came off the bench and made a big impact on the game. He looked totally unfazed by the Premiership stage or by the fact that Worcester then had to finish the match with 14 men. He showcased pace, power and superb finishing skills and provided the type of flair that they missed in Round 1. Interestingly Humphreys made 77 metres in total, a number only topped by Henry Purdy (116) and the latter played an entire half more than the Worcester back.
At The Recreation Ground once again the spotlight has to be shone on George Ford. Not only did he add another 18 points to his season’s tally but it was his kicking out of hand and game management that blew both Directors of Rugby away. Dean Richards’ described it as ‘one of the most complete performances that you’ll see’ while Todd Blackadder knows that he’s got a gem on his hands and finished his glowing assessment with the words ‘he is class’. The fly-half’s kicking out of hand was so accomplished, he manoeuvred Bath about the park effortlessly and showed the full effect of his first-class rugby instincts and decision making.
Wasps had a memorable day at Welford Road gaining their first victory at the home of the Leicester Tigers since 2008. Alongside Jimmy Gopperth’s exceptional work there was another back rower that stood out; Guy Thompson. He gained limited game time last season and had his season cut short due to injury but is making the type of impact those who have seen him in full flow before expected. The back row forward made the hard yards that Wasps needed, combined that with great hands offloading out of contact and scored a superb try. Along with Sam Jones he worked tirelessly and it should leave Wasps’ fans in no doubt that their side will maintain the type of impetus and power they’re used to despite James Haskell’s absence.
Aviva Premiership Round 2 Results
Worcester Warriors 23 – 23 Gloucester Rugby
Sale Sharks 19 – 10 Harlequins
Bath Rugby 58 – 5 Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers 22 – 34 Wasps
Bristol Rugby 10 – 32 Northampton Saints
Exeter Chiefs 13 – 34 Saracens