Aviva Premiership Round 5: 5 things we learned

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1. Worcester need something special
Worcester Warriors are quite rightly feeling the pressure at the moment; they lost to relegation rivals Newcastle, at home, at the weekend, and Sale and London Irish picked up wins against Bath and Quins respectively. Maybe their trio of newly-signed Argentinians can work some magic now that the Rugby Championship has ended, but Leonardo Senatore, Agustin Creevy and Mariano Galarza have their work cut out. Coincidentally, I predicted Irish to struggle recently due to the amount of injuries they have, but they proved me wrong at the weekend.

2. Will Fraser adds to England’s back-row options
After ripping his lat off the bone, no-one would blame Will Fraser for taking his time coming back from injury, but nearly six months later, he was back in Saracens’ starting XV and back on the scoresheet. It’s a timely return from the youngster who probably would have been capped on England’s tour of Argentina and if he continues show this sort of form on his path back from injury, he could still make his debut in the next Six Nations.

3. Fair play to JP Doyle
All too recently, players have been giving referees far too much of an earful when it comes to managing the game, so thank you JP Doyle who, during the Tigers – Saints match, sin-binned Louis Deacon for dissent. Doyle was heard telling Tigers captain Toby Flood “He came screaming over at me, demanding what I do. Unacceptable!” That’s right, Sir, you remind them who’s boss!

4. England’s future at 10 looks rosy
Owen Farrell will probably be Stuart Lancaster’s first choice, but Toby Flood was back to his influential best against Saints, and there is a huge amount of buzz about George Ford at the moment, although his opposite man at the weekend, Danny Cipriani, was by far the better fly-half. The bad boy of English rugby could have an outside chance if he keeps Sale’s heads above water, but his road to redemption is still long. Freddie Burns has yet to fire this season, but Lancaster will be aware that he is playing behind a badly misfiring pack, so he is not completely to blame.

5. Saints’ England stars are shining
Saints may be frustrated by the fact that they ended up drawing against the Tigers (even though a win was in their grasp) but they will be enjoying the form of their home-grown talent this season. Sam Dickinson has undoubtedly been the revelation of the season, Luther Burrell’s performances have earned talks of an England call up and Courtney Lawes is still smashing his way through the opposition. Not to mention how easily Alex Corbisiero has fit into the team and the consistency of Calum Clark, Phil Dowson, Ben Foden and Dylan Hartley.

By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

9 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Round 5: 5 things we learned

  1. Towards the end of last season I actually thought Fraser was more impressive than Kvesic so it is good to see him back. He is an out and out 7 IMO, and is always going to behind a decent pack at Saracens which will help him play well. Unfortunately Kvesic has been in a poor pack this year, so he has not shone as much as some thought he might.

    On a slight side note, can someone please pick up on how well Foden is playing? I know he is half mentioned in this article but for me he has been one of the stand out players in a fantastic Saints side. Same goes for Hartley.

  2. You see, I’d agree with you over J.P. Doyle, if it weren’t for the fact that we heard over the microphone earlier on “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that last part Dylan”. I don’t disagree with Deacon getting sent off, but that has to be applied evenly. Also, his unwillingness to penalise a scrum walking backwards and standing up and falling over was questionable

    1. wookie, are you aware of what it was that Hartley said? I didn’t see the game, but from reading about it, and reading your post, it doesn’t seem necessarily to lack even-handedness.

      Coincidentally I refereed a game at the weekend where I was on the receiving end of an “angry demand” that I made a certain penalty decision – which indeed was quite obvious irrespective of the temper tantrum. This is a long way away from the “cheeky” comments made from players from time to time.

      I would expect half-decent referees to be able to tell the difference between the two. And I am a long way from being a half-decent ref!

      1. I’m not going to pretend I’m even handed on the issue, I’m a Tigers fan, but I do think if it’s worth pretending you didn’t hear it then it’s worth penalising, otherwise, why say you didn’t hear it? Like I say, I don’t disagree with Deacon’s yellow at all, in fact, I’d like to see more referees stand up to players and reverse penalties/march people backwards for mouthing off, like the good ol’ days, but you have to penalise all the incidents and there is plenty a ref can do between ignoring it and yellow carding it. I think if Hartley has said something that is strong enough to get a response out of the ref (especially when it comes from the captain), the penalty which Saints had should have been reversed. Similarly, the other occassions where players yell the referee to take note of a penalty offence should attract penalties and free kicks so I wouldn’t applaud him for penalising 1/100 incidents in a game, that just makes it a lottery and Deacon who was not penalised at all in the game the lucky winner.

        I’ll also stand by my criticism of his scrum refereeing. Northampton under the cosh in the scrum, walking backwards, standing up, but instead of penalising standing up he was regularly calling reset rather than making a decision. The point of the new laws was to prevent all the resets and you can feel pretty aggrieved when you dominate 3 scrums and then get penalised for an early engagement when you should have had a penalty already.

  3. Danny Cipriani keeping Sales head above water? Winning the same amount of games as Bath, Tigers, Saints and only a very narrow loss against Falcons due to the wrong man being in charge of the 10 shirt.

    When will this blog and everyone else give Sale Sharks the credit their due. Sale are proving to be a dangerous side and a serious top 6 if not top 4 contender (remove Bath) giving last seasons positioning i’d say we’re doing more than keeping our head above water.

    With injuries of Tuitupo, Leota and Gaskell hitting us and them being 3 of our most influential player and still sitting at where we are now I find that comment very misinformed.

    1. I’m pretty sure 5 games in Sale fans should be thinking about anything other than the next game. They have started well, but nothing special enough to be shouting about top 4. Also, Cipriani has played two and a half games – so I think the idea that he is miles from being proven is still fair.
      Sale are also four points from being 11th, so don’t get carried away. To suggest that this blog is “very misinformed” is somewhat ironic.

      1. As a Sale sympathiser, I have to say, they have to go a long way to convince me still. Wins over Gloucester and Wasps, considering their other games aren’t all that amazing. Bath a week earlier got a thorough pasting from Sarries as well. Sharks have been well beaten by Saints and lost to Newcastle at home.

        Yeah, they’re doing alright at the minute and the start that they’ve got should see them clear of the drop, but I’d be wary of saying anything about them troubling the top 4 or even 6 just yet.

        Heads are above water at Sale, but they could just as quickly dip below. Bare in mind that below them at the minute are unusually sub-par Gloucester and Quins and an attractive looking London Irish with Exeter also there. I think that results from those teams in the future could see them pass Sale easily and with Sale having to face Quins and Exeter in the near future, they’ll be key games to see if they stand a chance or if they’re just going to keep their heads above water. I can’t say I fancy their chances to be competing for the top 6

  4. Yayyy Jacob!

    Constant slamming of a side that is performing very well and against everyones expectation with key players injured is getting VERY irritating!

    Judging on performance so far (as that is all we have to go from) we offer more than Bath, i said maybe top 4 and certainly top 6!

    Cipriani playing 2.5 games is exactly my point, how can he alone be keeping our head above water???!!! Last time I checked rugby was a TEAM SPORT!!

    Cueto is having one of the best seasons EVER so far and he’s only touched the wing once! Paterson, Thomas, Seymour and Braid are influential in these wins just as much as Cips, his game management 100% tackle rate and boot!!

    Looking at the team selection for tomorrow it’s clear Diamond only has one thing on his mind and thats the Premiership!!

    1. Whilst early season for should be taken into account, it isn’t the only thing we have to go on. Cipriani can just as easily turn up next week hungover and play like an amateur. I’m not saying he will, and I hope he doesn’t, but there is no guarantee that he will continue this way.

      Cueto isn’t having one of his best seasons ever. He is playing well. His best seasons ever same him become an England regular. Even age aside he isn’t anywhere near being good enough to get in the England side now. That kind of excitement over a couple of wins is exactly what I mean.

      Sale have started well, that is it. The blog has rightly pointed out that Cipriani will do well to keep Sale’s head above water, as they are right now. I just question your apparent disgust of this blog suggesting that.

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