Aviva Premiership Team of the Week – Round 2

Rugby

1 – Beno Obano (Bath)
The Bath loosehead was very good all around the field and particularly caught my eye with his strong ball-carrying.

2 – Dylan Hartley (Northampton)
The Saints Captain finally brought his England form in his club shirt, scoring a try and produced a solid game and he led a determined Northampton to successfully redeem themselves from Round 1’s shambles.

3 – Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
The returning Lions tourist proved once again how dynamic he is at the Stoop with stellar ball-carrying and set-piece work but also a lovely behind the back offload to Marcus Smith to set-up Dave Ward’s try.

4 – Calum Green (Newcastle)
Green’s work in the lineout and set-piece granted him a man-of-the-match award in the Falcons’ boring but crucial away victory over Sale Sharks.

5 – Courtney Lawes (Northampton)
Lawes has carried his form for the Lions onto the Saints and was constantly on the front-foot when carrying. He was one of the standouts that earned him Man-of-the-match in the pride-restoring victory over local rivals Leicester.

6 – Don Armand (Exeter)
Armand was at his usual ball-carrying best at Sandy Park on Saturday and scored two strong tries to help Exeter win a bonus-pout victory over Premiership returnees London Irish.

7 – Francois Louw (Bath)
Louw was at his best on Saturday and the South African flanker was a menace for Saracens to contend with at the breakdown and topped off his hard work with a nice try where he beat two defenders to score in the corner.

8 – Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
Hughes has carried on his form from the back-end of last season and was storming through Worcester’s line constantly on Sunday at Sixways. With Billy Vunipola still out with a shoulder injury, is Hughes the man to go to for the England No8 jersey in the Autumn Series?

9 – Kahn Fotualiā€™i (Bath Rugby)
Brought onto the match pretty early because of Chris Cook’s injury, his organisation of his pack and (rare for a scrumhalf) his work at the breakdown were very good. A slightly cynical milking of a penalty by throwing the ball at Schalk Brits, but it was an all-round great performance from the Bath scrumhalf.

10 – Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Smith proved some pundits that they were right to hype up the young flyhalf who came on early for the injured Demetri Catrakilis, and orchestrated a lovely attacking move for Dave Ward to score.

11 – Charlie Walker (Harlequins)
I really like the look of Walker at the moment, he has got a real turn of pace and it showed on Saturday when he was prominent in a swift Harlequins move before blitzing through Gloucester’s disarrayed defence to score in the pouring rain.

12 – Luther Burrell (Northampton)
The England centre was another of Saints’ standouts, scoring a well-worked try and dumping Leicester’s Jonny May to the ground, and he was solid for the rest of the game at Franklin’s Gardens.

13 – Ben Te’o (Worcester)
The Lions international who was so good in New Zealand is replicating his form for his club Worcester, broke the gainline almost every time and give the Warriors some solid foundations to work from.

14 – Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath)
Despite being relatively quiet for 70 minutes of the game, the Fijian flyer dotted down two amazing tries to secure a hard-fought win over Saracens in the last 10 minutes at the Rec. Questions will once again be raised over why he isn’t a regular for England.

15 – Anthony Watson (Bath)
Saracens’ Alex Goode is unlucky to miss out on my selection but Watson was fabulous on Saturday, being rock-solid in defence, fast and sharp in attack and also produced some lovely clearance kicks. Let’s hope his injury is not major because I firmly believe that his future with England is now at fullback.

By Jacob Bassford

16 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Team of the Week – Round 2

  1. Hartley was part of a front row which struggled in the tight even after a relatively lightweight sub at hooker for Leicester. He fell over the line for a try, but his carrying is still non existent. Thought May might get a mention for scoring a try that he had no right to get anywhere near, and Priestland was excellent against a much better team than Quins were faced with.

    1. A few wingers were in with a shout this week i thought, Marcus Watson’s try was a great piece of skill before injury cut short his game, likewise Basset’s was well taken, and the diminutive (by today’s standards) Tom Collins for Saints looked dangerous whenever he got the ball going forward.

      1. Tom Collins has looked decent in both games so far, despite being on the losing side the week before last. He looks threatening with ball in hand and comes off his wing to look for work; North could take a leaf out of his book imo.
        In regards to Watson (A), I really hope EJ gives him a run at FB. He has played in this position for the majority of his time at Bath and didn’t look out of place at FB on the Lions tour. It would also mean another winger can be drafted into the team, of which England have many quality ones.

        1. I’ll second that. Watson looks so comfortable at 15 and offers the same defensive and kicking qualities as Brown but with more pace and attacking threat.
          There are so many wingers to choose from it is ridiculous. I would definitely think about switching Daly to 13 and giving some others a go. Obviously May and Nowell are in pole position if Watson and Daly are shifted, but there is no shortage of other quality wingers waiting for a shot.
          By the way, Solomona would not be on my list!!!!

          1. I would definitely like to see a Nowell, Daly and Watson back three for England – don’t really mind who plays at FB. As good as Watson has been there, I would lean towards Daly still. Better boot and more than that, Watson is the most natural finisher out of the three so I would like to see him on the wing to finish those opportunities.

            Whilst I like Solomona as a player, it baffles me that EJ seems such a fan but continues to ignore Roko and more so even Wade, because of their defensive issues.

            In order for back three players – Watson>Daly>Nowell>May>Roko>Wade>Yarde>Solomona…

            1. On Roko, it was interesting reading some of Blackadder’s comments there. He said that Roko knows why that Eddie isn’t picking him, didn’t specify what but did say that the Bath team are helping develop an all-round game and that they weren’t bothering with any attacking coaching, it focused on defence amongst other things.

              Get the idea that attacking prowess clearly recognised and credited, however, there are nuances of other aspects of this game which are probably beyond us sofa critics and only really detectable through the reams of data and analysis they undertake these days (or the experienced eye of someone like Eddie) which mean he is not as high in the pecking order.

              1. EJ has said on numerous occasions that Roko’s defensive positioning is a problem, so it’s still that keeping him out of the side. He was caught out against Fiji a few times during the last AI series so it is definitely a legitimate concern.

                He does have issues there, but his ability with ball in hand goes a long way to counter that!

            2. I think Solomona is overhyped. Yes he is good in attack, but so are most wingers in the Premiership, that’s why they are picked.
              But personally I think players who have come through the age groups and academies and have been playing in the club system will make better players for England. Watson, May, Nowell, Daly and Yarde are good examples of this. Now guys like Lewington, Bassett, Walker, Earle, Collins etc, etc should be pushed to the top level ahead of guys like Solomona.

    2. Yes the front row struggled a lot but I included Hartley mainly over his leadership and galvanizing his squad. His carrying is of course is non-existent and I want Jamie George to wear the No2 jersey in Autumn but Hartley for me was the best hooker at the weekend. I did consider May and Priestland I agree was very consistent but Smith had more of an X-Factor imo

  2. I feel for Roko not being picked for England but EJ has his methods, as for Wade his height and defence are a weakness and in my opinion he and Cipriani are too full of themselves to be picked for England

    1. Can understand the Cipriani stuff, certainly he has proven himself to be big headed on more than one occasion!

      Wade though – what is that based on?

      1. I just think that whenever I seem him play he always wants the ball and be the glory man and that’s very good team spirit, altho that could be argued for Mike Brown at some points. Also I get the impression he seems really overconfident on his social media.

        1. He is certainly desperate to score tries, but he also has tons of assists to his name and has never seemed greedy to me on the pitch. From what I’ve heard of those that know him, he’s meant to be a really nice bloke. Never heard that same about Cips of course…

        2. If social media overconfidance was a reason for international exile then a certain Mr Haskell wouldn’t have quite the number of caps he currently does…

          1. yh Henno good point however, Haskell his days are numbered, England now have Underhill, Curry twins and Evans to look to for 7s jersey. I see him being included for England on experience to the names I mentioned above only

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