Weekend Rugby Review – 28 December

It was a weekend of big games across all the leagues with plenty of good rugby and surprise results. Here is my review of all the action.

Aviva Premiership

London Irish 25 – 23 Northampton Saints
Exeter Chiefs 33 – 17 Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers 22 – 10 Newcastle Falcons
Wasps 16 – 26 Saracens
Bath 21 – 14 Worcester Warriors
Harlequins 39 – 39 Gloucester Rugby

4 from 6, an ok weekend as you can’t be expected to pick the draw.

London Irish managed to get their first win of the season in the league. They came out of the traps firing and built a 15-3 lead just after half an hour. Saints did pull back a try before halftime to go in 7 points down. Saints pulled an try back early in the second half and then there was an exchange of penalties. Saints were the more attacking using their offloads to create 10 more line breaks and beat more defenders. That eventually told and just after the hour mark Saints took the lead. A yellow card for Irish could have been the end of it but they weathered the storm and got a penalty try close to the end to win the game.

Sharks struck first through the boot of Cipriani but Exeter are in fine form and struck back with two tries. The two missed conversions meant that Sharks could even things up with a converted try before halftime. Sharks then pulled ahead with another converted try early in the second half. Chudley went over for his second to close within one, then Steenson put a penalty over to take the lead back. It wasn’t until there were a couple of tries late on though that the Chiefs secured the win.

Falcons came out of the traps quickly and took full advantage of Tigers losing a man to be the bin early on. After that though it was one way traffic. Soon after Tigers had their first points on the board due to a penalty, Falcons lost two players to the bin. Tigers only managed a converted penalty but that evened things up for halftime. Tigers got an early second half try to take the lead and a late try sealed the points but wasn’t enough for the TBP. Tigers racked up an impressive 640 meters running with the ball but turning it over 21 times held them back.

In the first half the defences were on top with only 3 penalties scored and both sides happy to put boot to ball. That meant that Wasps went in to the break 3-6 down but after an exchange of some more penalties it was all even 9-9 just before the hour mark. Then Saracens scored two converted tries in 5 minutes that won the game. Wasps did pullback a late try but never got back to within a score. The stats are similar for both sides and just reiterates Saracens clinical nature.

Bath got the expected moral boosting win over Warriors and it looked much easier than it was going to be with an early try. After an exchange of penalties, a try from Australian international Vuna put Warriors 1 point ahead. It looked like Warriors were going to hang onto that lead going into the break, however Bath managed a second try with the last play of the half to lead 15-11. A penalty goal each meant that it was a 1 score game for all the second half and only a late Bath penalty opened the gap to 7 points.

Quins and Gloucester played out a highly entertaining draw at Twickenham. Quinn had the lions share of the position and territory in the first half but trailed on the scoreboard for most of it. Gloucester got the first try but fell behind to a try and penalty. Quinn lead though only last for 5 minutes and after half an hour had a 9 point lead. A Care try closed that to 2 points at half time only for Gloucester to score first in the second half as well. Then Quins had their best period with two tries in three minutes to take the lead. They often say a side is most vulnerable after scoring. So it proved as Gloucester evened things up straight away with a try of their own meaning both sides had a TBP before the hour mark. Then Gloucester got a penalty and converted try to open up a 10 point lead heading into the closing stages. Quins showed great character to score 10 points in the last ten minutes to even things up and go home with a share of the spoils.


Scarlets 26 – 27 Ospreys
Connacht Rugby 3 – 10 Ulster
Zebre 28 – 25 Benetton Treviso
Newport Gwent Dragons 20 – 21 Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh 23 – 11 Glasgow Warriors
Munster 7 – 24 Leinster

2 from 6, this was always a weekend of competitive games but I clearly read the tea leaves totally wrong.

Losses for the top two teams at home allowed the others to close the game and as Leinster have a postponed game they could go top. The Italian teams still hold the bottom two spots but if Zebre win the return fixture this next weekend they could climb up to 10th!


US Oyonnax 25 – 12 Stade Francais
Section Paloise 15 – 11 La Rochelle
Montpellier 45 – 20 Agen
Castres 23 – 8 Brive
Bordeaux Begles 25 – 19 Grenoble
Clermont Auvergne 16 – 20 Racing Metro 92
Toulouse 31 – 8 Toulon

That big win for Toulouse has taken them top of the table with Racing in second. Amazingly Racing are the only team with no bonus points so far this season. Oyonnax pull themselves off the bottom and last seasons champions, Stade Francais, are 3rd from bottom.

6 Nations Predictions

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