Aviva Premiership Round 3: 5 Things we learned

Manu’s not rusty

Leicester Tigers welcomed back Ben Youngs, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi this weekend, and the young England centre showed no signs of his recent injury in his first competitive game since the Lions tour. He set up Graham Kitchener’s try by breaking through no less than five tackles before finally being felled, and he kept up that form all game, giving the Newcastle defence a torrid time and ensuring former boss Dean Richards had a miserable return to Welford Road. Devastatingly for Tigers and England fans it seems he is now set to be out for a while with injury.

Injuries are going to take their toll

London Irish lost 29-23 to Exeter Chiefs despite being the better side for most of the game, but what might make Head Coach Brian Smith more depressed is the fact that his side suffered three fresh injuries. Topsy Ojo, Halani Aulika and Jebb Sinclair are the new players spending time in the treatment room, meaning that there are now an incredible 14 players out injured. At this rate, Irish’s lack of strength in depth is going to be exposed and with games against Bath and Harlequins coming up, they are going to struggle.

Fans deserve a pat on the back

It’s safe to say that the weekend’s game between Gloucester and Northampton ended in controversial circumstances, but what has gone relatively unnoticed is the fans’ behaviour during all of this. In any other sport (or as has been the case in some international matches), Billy Twelvetrees’ match-winning kick would normally come under an intense barrage of boos and jeers, but the Saints’ fans were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. For that they deserve praise and a huge amount of credit.

Robshaw is still the man

There has been a lot of speculation recently about whether Chris Robshaw deserves to be England captain or whether he should actually be playing at all, but on Friday night he finally got the chance to shut his critics up. He inspired his Quins side to an easy 37-13 victory away at Worcester with his dominance around the breakdown and many impressive turnovers. If he carries on this form, Stuart Lancaster won’t have a choice other than to start him at openside during the Autumn internationals.

Gary Gold is no fun

Bath were well and truly out of the game by half time during their clash against Saracens, so could Gary Gold have afforded to keep Gavin Henson on the field just a little bit longer? The Saracens PR team whipped up a cheeky little offer for Bath fans that if Henson scored at any point during the match, they could get their tickets refunded. Four minutes after Henson was substituted, Semesa Rokoduguni crossed for the visitors. Come on Gary! Do it for the fans!

By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

6 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Round 3: 5 Things we learned

  1. I was disappointed that Gary Gold didn’t offer Henson a kick at goal. I don’t know how tough Ford’s shot was as I missed the first half, but if it was a sitter (and Henson is better than just sitters) it would be nice to stick it to your opposition

    1. Do you think they felt like they were being mocked though? I reckon giving Henson a shot would have felt like validating the Sarries marketing ploy!

      1. hmm… it all feels a bit cynical to me.

        It is a really clever marketing ploy – but I can also envisage it being used in a fergie-esque “mind games” attempt.

        Do you think these ploys can effect individual performance or team strategies? I’d be pretty dissapointed if it did. – They are professionals after all.

    2. Ford only played the second half, as Heathcote started the match. I personally didn’t think Heathcote did much wrong in the first half, and bringing Ford into the game coincided with other changes which made much more of a difference. It made Ford look good because he was getting better, faster ball then Heathcote did in the first half. In the first half the forwards were the difference, not the backs.
      Henson’s main contribution was dropping the ball, which we Sarries fans found particularly amusing! As I’m sure you can appreciate.

  2. Gould could have kept him on but he wouldnt have made the intercept so what is said is completely irrelevant. Gould obviously made the correct decision cus Roko scored

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