Aviva Premiership Team of the Week: Round 8

15: Rob Miller (Sale Sharks)
Miller had a hand in two of Sale’s four tries, as they impressed in their win against lowly Worcester. He worked hard in support, and in the final minute ghosted beautifully outside his man to set up a two on one and a simple run in for Arscott. Mention to Mike Brown, who was typically impressive for Quins, and Chris Pennell, who looks consistently too good for a woeful Worcester side.

14: Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath)
Rokoduguni has come on leaps and bounds this season, to the point where he now looks the complete winger. He bagged two tries against Wasps, and while there was power and pace in his finishes, it was the awareness to be on the last man’s shoulder and the timing of his runs that were most impressive.

13: James Wilson (Northampton Saints)
Wilson offers something different in the centres for Saints, a balanced, gliding runner compared with the power of Burrell and Pisi. He was superb against Newcastle, averaging over ten metres per carry to take the ball 123 metres in total, beating four defenders and throwing four offloads in the process. Centre has become an area of serious depth for the Saints.

12: Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
There is a reason why Wilson made so many metres for Saints – the man inside him was occupying the defence most of the afternoon. Powerful and abrasive, it was another superb performance from Burrell, who has been one of the players of the season so far. Showed great awareness and strength to rip the ball and score his try, too.

11: Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
What a prospect Nowell is. On Saturday against Saracens, the young Exeter wing beat an astonishing 11 defenders in 18 carries, and looked dangerous every time he touched the ball. Deserved to be on the winning side. Mention to two other English wingers, May and Monye, who were both excellent at the Stoop.

10: George Ford (Bath)
Surprisingly, Ford completely outplayed opposite number Andy Goode in the areas the elder man usually excels at – game management and kicking. One long scuff aside, Ford was largely good from the tee, and also dropped a smartly-taken goal while his probing kicking from hand kept Bath in the right areas of the pitch.

9: Danny Care (Harlequins)
Care’s snub at international level seems to have spurred him on, and he was at his best this weekend. Sniping and harrying the Gloucester fringe defence, he darted over for a try of his own whilst also directing a pack that completely outplayed the Cherry and Whites.

1: Boris Stankovich (Leicester Tigers)
Stankovich is a Tigers stalwart, but is rarely heralded outside of the Welford Road faithful that know him so well. On Saturday, against a London Irish side who played far more of the rugby, Stankovich was the cornerstone of a Leicester pack that won two penalty tries at scrum time to ultimately seal a vital win.

2: Mike Haywood (Northampton Saints)
A feature of Northampton’s impressive form this season has been the ability of their back-ups to step in and fill the void left by international players, and no-one typifies this more than Haywood. The line-out ran perfectly smoothly against Newcastle, and Heywood himself managed a mammoth 13 carries, beating a couple of defenders in the process.

3: David Wilson (Bath)
The Bath pack absolutely mullered their Wasps counterparts on Sunday, setting the foundation for what was ultimately a very comfortable victory. Wilson dominated Mullan in the scrum and gave a solid platform for his backs, as well as winning penalties aplenty.

4: Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Easter’s ascension to the engine room has worked superbly this season. He has relished the tight encounters and grunt work that comes with the job, while still showing his footballing ability in the wide spaces. He crashed over for a try against Gloucester this weekend, and generally rallied his troops well for an important win.

5: Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Ten carries points to a high work rate for Lawes, whose fine international form spurred him on at the weekend. The line-out was again next to flawless, while there was also his customary huge hit on a fly-half, Phil Godman this time bearing the brunt of it.

6: Dan Braid (Sale Sharks)
Braid was superb against Worcester, crossing the line himself while also giving a lovely offload in the build up to Gaskell’s try. Also topped his team’s carrying stats, completing twelve and beating two men in the process.

7: Jacques Burger (Saracens)
Burger made 35 tackles on Saturday against Exeter. What else really needs be said? In a game the stats would suggest they arguably didn’t deserve to win, Sarries were fortunate to have someone of Burger’s workrate and braveness at the forefront of their cause.

8: Leroy Houston (Bath)
Houston’s assist for Rokoduguni’s second try combined brute force to hand-off the not unsubstantial figure of Tom Palmer, with the deftest of offloads to the winger, arriving at pace. Superb stuff from the Australian.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

6 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Team of the Week: Round 8

      1. I admit that I look on this as an ex back row player! I thought it was when no 8s got too old and slow that they got sent to the second row!!

  1. I just checked match stats for Sarries v Exeter and Burgers tackle rate will tell you where they won the game. The fact that the most tackles by an Exeter player was 15 tells you the difference. Sarries had five players who made 15 tackles or more in that one game!

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