Aviva Premiership Team of the Week – Round 6

Jamie George

Jamie George

1 – Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Marler returned from his rib injury with a strong performance against Sale on Friday night, he was solid in the carry and scored a good try.

2 – Jamie George (Saracens)
George was magnificent against Wasps, scoring an impressive hat-trick in a man-of-the-match performance. George is putting yet more pressure on Dylan Hartley for the England jersey.

3 – Juan Figallo (Saracens)
The Argentine prop exploited some holes in Wasps’ defence on Sunday was solid in the set-piece.

4 – Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)
Filled in the shoes of the absent Horwill very well, robust in the carry and made two eye-catching interceptions.

5 – George Kruis (Saracens)
Kruis was influential in a very dominant Saracens lineout and was consistent in the other areas of set-piece. Another position where Eddie Jones has some difficult decisions to make.

6 – Zach Mercer (Bath)
Mercer was again very good for Bath on Saturday, bursting Worcester’s defence before feeding Tapuai to score and was consistent for the rest of the game.

7 – Will Evans (Leicester)
Evans in his first Premiership start of the season scored a good try and was solid defensively, making 24 tackles.

8 – Sam Simmonds (Exeter)
Simmonds returned from injury with a bang on Saturday scoring a lovely try in which he showed off his impressive pace to beat Newcastle’s defence.

9 – Danny Care (Harlequins)
Care was brilliant on Friday night with perfectly executed kicks which created two tries for Harlequins.

10 – Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Smith again was instrumental in his organisation of Harlequins as they beat Sale convincingly on Friday night and was also sound from the tee, landing a couple of difficult touchline kicks.

11 – Tim Visser (Harlequins)
Visser was very good for Harlequins on Friday night, showing some skill to finish two great tries which helped his side get a bonus-point win over Sale.

12 – Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)
Twelvetrees and Trinder proved a difficult centre combination for Northampton to deal with. The former England centre was impressive, scoring his own try.

13 – Henry Trinder (Gloucester)
Trinder was excellent for Gloucester on Saturday, scoring two tries and tested Northampton’s defence on multiple occasions.

14 – Jonny May (Leicester)
May was again excellent on Saturday, making 147 metres and scoring a try after receiving an exquisite Toomua pass.

15 – Jason Woodward (Gloucester)
Woodward continued to display his good attacking threat and his work in the air on Saturday, scoring a try and helping his side to a good victory over Northampton.

By Jacob Bassford

33 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Team of the Week – Round 6

  1. Dany Care is absolutely flying at present and should get a start in at least one of the Autumn Internationals. There seems to be a view that England are a bit short of good scrum halves, but Wrigglesworth is also playing better than ever, and Youngs is sharp, although I don´t like his pass much. The one that always impresses me is Sam Harrison, who looked very good for Leicester until he went off this weekend. Surprised he hasn´t moved on to somewhere where he gets a start when the squad is at full strength. Mercer continues to impress, he is such an intelligent player for a youngster. Is Itoje playing 6 at Jones´s request? He is a better second row imo.

    1. I had a similar thought about Sam Harrison – as a Leicester fan I think he is an excellent player and was nervous about losing him to another side where he would be first choice. However, I think scrum half is one area in the premiership with an abundance of talent; even lower table teams have class 9s – Worcester have Francois Hougaard, Sale now have Faf de Klerk – to the point where excellent players are often not first choice. You look at Wasps where Simpson and Robson are competing, or Saracens with Wiggleworth and Spencer.

    1. My choices would be either Cole, Launchers or Care,assuming he gets a game. Tbh I think Dylan will still be captain and start at least two of the tests but he can’t keep leaving George on the bench purely because he isn’t Hartley.

      1. Launchbury is good but not as good as Lawes or Itoje at the moment so he wouldn’t be starting imo. Ford and Ben Youngs are both proven captains at Premiership level, Farrell is a good shout. Having Itoje as Captain without any previous captaining experience, it worked for Wales back in 2011 with Warburton as such a young captain but I don’t think it will work with Itoje.

        1. Itoje actually has quite a bit of captain experience for his age with U20’s and Sarries giving him the role on occasion (mainly LV cup)
          more so than Warbs or even MJ. I have no idea why you don’t think it would work he has all right traits of a great leader

          1. Spot on Leon. A World Cup winning captain with the England U20’s and led Saracens to LV Cup victory in his breakthrough season. Has captained Sarries a couple of times as well.

    2. Not sure about Farrell’s fitness at the moment. If he’s fit I think he should be captain, but if not? Despite his obvious experience I can’t see Eddie giving it to Robshaw. I would be tempted to give it to Itoje. Inspirational on the pitch and a crowd favourite. Also highly respected by the other players.

      1. I think it’s too much on Farrell to be kicking sticks, organising the defensive line and being overall in charge.
        Launchbury is lead from the front, let your actions do talking kind of captain, but I just don’t think he’s loud enough to be in the ear of the ref etc.
        Robshaw is unfortunately the headstone of our failure in 2015 and so should just be left to do what he does best.
        That leaves Care and Itoje, I’d happily have either of them. Care is 50/50 on starting, so that just leaves Itoje!

        1. I think the two things in Farrell’s favour is that he has led the team when Hartley has been substituted and, is also one of the most vocal players on the pitch.

          Ford is another option, but I think it’s a bit early for him having only just starting to captain Tigers.

        2. Surely Lancaster was the main reason for our failure in ’15? Robshaw has dusted himself down and played out of his skin for England. Yes, the captaincy may have been too much of a burden but EJ rectified that and set Robshaw free. Lancaster was too much of a ditherer and we all paid for it.

    3. Jacob Bassford
      Good ? Maybe it’s partly why Harley is Captn. He’s a leader, a decision maker, can chuck it in & does it by e.g. IOW he’s EXP. What price these commodities? Many hype George, but he’s unlikely to fill a Captn’s role, so Robshaw? Flaked with basic test match penalty decisions prev. Farrell. Too conservative? Ford. Still in naps (like AlexD) & caves under pressure, so what about Launchbury? He’s exp, mature, cool under pressure & leads by e.g., as well as by keeping his thinking going.

  2. Delighted to see a Gloucester trio in the backs. Makes you wonder what could have been had Jonny stayed! Nonetheless, I think Gloucester got a great deal in bringing Slater in so don’t regret losing May too much.

  3. The other question is with Billy out, and potentially hughes not being fully fit?, who should play 8?

    Haskell is nowhere near top form, and I know Clifford is in the squad but has he played much recently at 8?

    Is it too early for someone like Mercer or Simmonds to be in the squad? Two players with real long term promise. Different style of players but still very effective in their own way. With other big ball carriers like Mako, Genge, Sinckler, Launchbury, Lawes, Itoje and T’eo in the squad guys like this could be a real asset.

    1. I think Clifford dislocated his shoulder last weeken so he’s unlikely to be in consideration.

      I’d go for Simmonds, he seems to be in great form. Ben Morgan is still injured isn’t he?

          1. Um Pablito, while I would like Armand to pay for England he’s not definitely an 8 of international quality. Unfortunately, without Simmonds/Hughes/Ewers beside him he’s left exposed, that that happened when he played 8 for Chiefs away to Tigers and he was targeted and effectively neutralised. Also for me Underhill is in better form than Armand so would start ahead of him, however since Argentina Tom Curry has failed to impress me much so I think Armand or Tiger’s Will Evans should be there in Curry’s place.

          2. Jackson Wray?

            Simmonds would be my preferred option, but Eddie hasn’t replaced Clifford in the squad. Really hope we’re not going to see Wood playing 8 again!!!!
            I suspect he is hoping that Haskell will find some form for England, or we will have Harrison, who from what I’ve seen is not good enough at this level.

    2. The no 8 situation is quite intriguing,given EJ wanting 3 players in each position as we are struggling a bit here. I really hope we are not witnessing a slow decline with big Billy. His recent comments about the number of games etc ,make me wonder if even at such a young age ,the physical rigour of modern rugby is taking a bigger toll than we know.
      After Hughes the waters become a bit muddy. Simmonds is on fire but the received wisdom says he is not hefty enough for EJ. mercer is a tyro and again not the biggest, after that i’m a bit blank. Any other names out there?

    3. Hughes should be fit – its just a dead leg so he should be back soon and get a couple of games to regain full fitness before the tests. I’d expect him to call Simmonds in as back up given the lack of realistic options. Other choice is Mark Wilson, can do an ok job at eight and has recent England experience.

      1. Also if he ends up forced to play a smaller guy at eight (like Wilson, Mercer, Simmonds) I would definitely expect Robshaw to make way for Lawes/Itoje on the flank to add an extra carrier.

      2. I’d forgotten about Wilson. Does a good job week in week out for Falcons and was solid for England in the summer. We have options but, all of them have little or no experience at international level. They’ve got to learn sometime!!

  4. Injuries are beginning to mount with Nowell now unavailable. Much as there’s a clear question at 8, it’s not clear who’s going to be in the back 3. May looks like a shoe-in on current form which means that Watson and Daly if fit would also be in there, although it’ll be interesting to see who starts at 15.

    1. On form my wingers would be Yarde and May and my fullback would be Anthony Watson, Daly not been in great form recently.
      With Lawes, Launchbury, Itoje, Underhill, T’eo, Genge/M.Vunipola carrying the ball will having a lighter Number 8 in Simmonds work for England, I think it will. Nick Easter was certainly no heavyweight but was great for England

      1. Taking all current form into consideration for the back line players I would go with Youngs, Ford, May, T’eo, Slade, Yarde (Lewington if he was in the squad!!), Watson.
        I don’t think JJ or Daly have been on top form recently but Slade looks sharp. Care, Farrell and Daly on the bench.

        1. Would say JJ’s form is far better than Daly’s, scored and assisted as well as being solid in defence. Daly has been a nonentity.

  5. I agree he could do the job Leon, but don’t think he needs the extra responsibility at his age. I would see him as being ripe for it after the next World Cup, by which time he will have a large number of caps and a lot of experience. Don’t agree with your assessment of Launchbury, Jacob. He would be one of the first names on my team sheet, hardly ever has a bad game and leads by example. Lawes on the other hand can disappear for long periods and has nothing like the rugby brain that Launch has. I think Ben Youngs has a real fight on his hands to hold his place. Personally I would make Farrell captain and play him at 10, but it ain’t going to happen.

    1. Andy
      Don’t agree with Slade being too young. If you’re good enough age is irrelevant. I’d be happy to see Marcus Smith come on as a sub aged 18 if the case merited it! Owen’s first cap for England (against Argentina in a WC and scores THAT goal) Don’t see the ABs being put off by age either. Agree with the rest if your post however!


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