1. Marland Yarde is the real deal
The season’s barely begun but already Yarde is starting to look like the complete package and chances are he’ll be among the top try scorers come the end of the 2013/14 season. He took two tries in great fashion on Saturday, including a 40 metre run-in, and his finishing is lethal. He’s a big lad who is hungry for the ball and England could do a lot worse than the 21-year old who already has two international tries after just one cap against Argentina in June. With fans unimpressed with Chris Ashton’s international form, maybe Marland is the answer. A special mention to David Strettle who also scored twice at the weekend and now has 10 Premiership tries in his last 12 games.
2. What a difference a week makes
After Sale’s surprise win at Gloucester last week and after Newcastle were dominated at home by Bath, most people would have had money on the Sharks being the victors when the two sides met on Friday night (including this writer). So the shock of the round goes to the Falcons who just managed to squeeze in a win, courtesy of four penalties by Phil Godman and one from Rory Clegg. Unlike their match against Bath, Newcastle were equal to their opponents up front and managed to put the squeeze on them in the scrum, helping them to a narrow 14-15 victory.
3. Wasps have a serious Devon hoodoo
Wasps came into the season with plenty of optimism, but find themselves two games in and still without a win. They came agonisingly close on the opening day, and played well again against Exeter, but eventually lost out to the Devon team 30-26. They have now failed to beat Exeter in their last six games, not a stat anyone at the Wycombe club will relish.
4. Saints are a team for all seasons
After destroying Exeter last week with an impressive attacking display on a firm pitch in dry weather, Northampton were then able to beat Harlequins on Friday with a streetwise display in the wet. They kept the ball in tight, sent strong runners crashing over the gainline and used their strong scrum and rolling mauls to full effect. Just two games into the season, they are by far the most impressive team; they are structured and if they keep up this impressive form whatever the weather, they have to be amongst the favourites for the title.
5. Props in the spotlight more than ever
Props were in the public eye quite a lot this weekend, most notably Nick Wood for stamping on Jacques Burger, but fair play to the guy, he looked distraught and couldn’t wait to apologise. Joe Marler was true to himself and looked like he wanted to fight every man in a Saints shirt, but by far the biggest error by a prop this weekend was Davey Wilson. An error that will have every old-school prop rolling in his grave or spitting out his ale. An error that will ensure that every time Wilson props down this season, his opposite man is going to have a dig at him. What is this dreadful error you ask? Davey Wilson wore white boots. Need I say more?
By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images