Sorry this is a day late – I scheduled this on Sunday night for Monday morning, but the system got confused by the timezone change and didn’t know what time to publish it. I was then out of the office all day yesterday and didn’t notice the c*ck up. Please have a read now…
Wasps back on track, Slater steals it for Gloucester
Being a fan of Bath and Gloucester must be a frustrating experience this season. Brilliance one week, then losing games you should win the next. This week it was the turn of Gloucester to bag a famous victory in the West Country Derby. They saw off Bath with the last play of the game for only the second victory in ten attempts against their chief rivals. Willi Heinz and Semesa Rokoduguni traded a brace of tries, with the lead changing hands five times. Just as it seemed Bath had done enough, Ed Slater bundled over for the decisive converted score to win 22-21.
Wasps seem back with a vengeance, beating Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens 38-22. They secured a bonus point in the process, with a number of classy tries the result of them stretching their legs in the second half. Leicester also got a big win in a tough place as they pulled away late on to beat Newcastle 30-13.
Harlequins were the winners in a game with feast of tries against Worcester 41-35. Saracens dispatched London Irish 44-13 and Exeter were made to work hard in Sale, coming out on top 10-6.
Irish derbies go the way of Connacht and Leinster
Leinster won in Belfast for the first time since 2014, inflicting a rare home defeat on Ulster. A bitterly fought first half, in which Jordan Larmour and Sean Reidy traded tries, gave way to Leinster dominance in the second. Luke McGrath bagged a brace in the second half to lead Leinster to a 25-10 win. The other all-Irish affair went the way of Connacht in an epic 20-16 contest against Munster.
Winning continued in the Pro14 for Glasgow as they put Kings to the sword 43-13. How they must be rueing their European mis-adventure. Edinburgh seem to be back on track after a 24-13 win at Treviso – an increasingly tough place to go. Wins for Ospreys have been more scarce than rain in Antarctica, but it happened against Dragons 28-14. Scarlets also beat Blues 30-17 and Zebre were painfully edged by Cheetahs 24-23.
Montpellier bounce back from Euro disappointment
Back-to-back European defeats did nothing to derail the league form of Montpellier as they secured an away victory over Pau. Ex-Saint Louis Picamoles was amongst the scorers in the 22-16 win. There were also wins for Clermont 33-10 over Stade, Racing 29-13 against Bordeaux and Toulon 41-24 when they hosted Brive. Meanwhile, Lyon stayed top by beating Oyonnax 52-18, La Rochelle kept in their winning habits by comfortably seeing off Toulouse 37-21 and Castres beat Agen 43-28.
Injury concerns for England
Matt Mullan and Elliot Daly will not travel to Portugal with the England squad this week after picking up injuries at the weekend. Mullan (elbow) and Daly (knee) will remain with their club for treatment and will have scans over the next couple of days.
Try of the weekend
An early, enforced, but highly impactful substitute, Jordan Larmour cut a beautiful line and turned the afterburners on to destroy the cover for Leinster’s opening score. Very classy indeed.
Hero of the weekend
The West Country derby between Gloucester and Bath is always going to be a firecracker of a game. Ed Slater’s late show displayed incredible minerals to grab the victory away from home against a Bath side in very decent form.
Villain of the weekend
I won’t pretend to know what is going on with the Marland Yarde saga, however it is making himself, Harlequins and Sale (a team that frequently seem to be at the centre of capitalising on player unrest) look bad.
– As mid-table congests, who are best placed to compete with Exeter and Sarries throughout the season?
– Any thoughts on the Marland Yarde fiasco?
– Wales and England forwards are set to train together. Good idea or not?
by Joe Large