Best of the Weekend: Golden dawn for Newcastle and victory for the Saxons

A relatively quieter weekend than usual in domestic rugby, with most eyes on the clash between the England Saxons and the Irish Wolfhounds. Here are the best bits:

Solid but few spectacular performances for the Saxons and Wolfhounds at Sandy Park

With only a few days to understand each other’s play and gel in time for an intense encounter, this was never going to be a classic match. As a result, several players on both sides failed to leave their mark down in Exeter, meaning that it seems less likely that there will be call-ups to the senior squad this year unless for injuries. That being said, there was a promising try from scrum-half Ben Spencer for the Saxons, after good work from his forwards at the lineout from James Gaskell and then Paul Doran-Jones in the maul.

The Wolfhounds continued to come back however, nearly scoring from a superb break from fly-half Ian Keatley, with only a controversial tackle from Matt Banahan on Simon Zebo preventing the score. Zebo would finally get his try at the end of the match, taking the Irish side’s tally for the day to three after earlier tries from David Kearney and the impressive substitute Tomas O’Leary.

Ultimately it was the boot of Freddie Burns at fly-half and Thomas Waldrom’s try in the second half that made the difference. England had greater control setting up their platform, plus superiority in the scrum due to a strong showing from Matt Mullan. In fact, the performances of the Worcester prop and Zebo were arguably the best of the evening, doing enough to make their coaches ponder their promotion.

Big wins for Newcastle, Bath, Gloucester and Saracens in the LV=Cup

A good start for Newcastle in the Gary Gold era saw them grab a try bonus point against the visiting Sale Sharks. Four tries, with a total of 22 points for Jimmy Gopperth playing at full back, came easily against a Sale side who were not missing many international players. Still 10 points adrift at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership, turning Kingston Park into a fortress once again is a priority if Newcastle are to stay up, and this was as good a start as they could have hoped for.

Bath look set to reach the LV=Cup semi-finals following their 46-14 win at home over a heavily depleted Northampton Saints side, the third time they have scored 46 points in the LV=Cup this season. Three of their five tries came from the Front Row Union, including a super try from Anthony Perenise. Northampton did as best they could despite the international call-ups, but were disappointingly bullied at the breakdown and unable to handle Bath’s physicality.

Cardiff were another side on the wrong end of a hammering against Gloucester at Kingsholm, the home side running in five tries including a brace for James Simpson-Daniel. The Blues had lost so many players to the Wales training camp in Poland that making this match a contest was never going to happen. One side who did cope without several of their stars however was Saracens, who ran in five tries against Worcester at Vicarage Road, with Joel Tomkins grabbing two scores himself on his union debut.

Beauxis the only injury concern in the Top 14 before the Six Nations

French coach Phillippe Saint-André had spoken of his concern over the well-being of his players during the final round of Top 14 matches before the Six Nations this weekend, but the only casualty initially appears to be Toulouse fly-half Lionel Beauxis, who left the field against Racing Métro with a suspected broken nose, though he should be fit to face Italy. The injury happened during a close result in Paris, with Toulouse taking the lead with four minutes to go and extending their lead in first place of the Top 14 to ten points over Clermont, winning 13-19.

In the result of the weekend in the league, Toulon thumped Bayonne by 40 points in their 50-10 victory at the Stade Felix Mayol, with former London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage grabbing two tries and Jonny Wilkinson kicking 24 points.

Try of the Weekend looked set to be Anthony Perenise’s, until this beauty emerged from France scored by Montpellier winger Martin Bustos Mayano. Watch it below:

This weekend’s Hero however is Perenise. His try might not have been the weekend’s best, but it was a superb effort for a big man, showing a surprising sidestep.

As for a Villian, we’ll give it to the TMO at the match between the Scarlets and London Irish, for giving Deacon Manu’s try without any real conclusive evidence to work with.

by Ben Coles

18 thoughts on “Best of the Weekend: Golden dawn for Newcastle and victory for the Saxons

  1. Anthony Perenise’s try was utterly brilliant. The most outrageous dummy pass followed by the slowest goose step I think I’ve ever seen on a rugby pitch. Ridiculously sublime!

  2. Just read that Banahan and Waldrom have been drafted in to Six Nations squad for weekend to cover injuries. Waldrom I can understand, but Banahan……please. There has to be a better option. He is in to cover for an injury to Trinder, but I’m guessing because he’s been promoted because he can cover both wing and centre positions (both badly). I would still rather see Hopper or Twelvetrees than Banahan.

    1. Yes, saw that news over the weekend and imagined all the groans around the country. Thought about publishing something but didn’t want to ruin everyone’s weekend.

      England captain announcement at 12.30 today, so we’ll have details of that!

      1. Who’s your money on. I would imagine Robshaw is favourite, but could there be a curve ball at the last minute? Robshaw mentioned some other “leaders” within the squad.

          1. Starting team Jimmy, taking into account injuries, would be along the lines of the below

            Corbisiero (am tempted to put Marler in here – think he is the closest that England have to a Gethin Jenkins-style player)
            Dowson/Clark (can’t decide – prob Dowson for the Scots)
            Dickson (youngs is too off the pace at the moment)

            Mike Brown and Strettle would be unlucky to miss out, but I think Foden’s experience just gives the edge over Brown and Ashton teams up so well with Foden that if he plays then Ashton should as well

    2. i watched the Saxons and perhaps i was watching the match in a parrallel universe but Banahan was average, one try saving tackle which i would have expected most Int wingers to make.

      Ben spencer looks tasty.we have a new rivalry!

      and mat mullun, where did he spring from? the guy was immoveable.

      1. Do you think Spencer deserves a shot in the full squad? I like Simpson but playing for Wasps can’t be helping him at the moment, as they are struggling in every competition.

  3. I missed the Saxons game. How did Hopper and 12Trees play in the centre?

    Also, saw George Robson was man of the match. I’ve often thought he was England material. Did he play as well as the award suggests?

    1. both did ok, 12trees looks classy.passes really well off both hands with a mule boot and reads the game well. will be great to see how he fares @ glos.

      stand out player for me was 2nd row matt Garvey.

      absolute beast in the bakkies botha mould ie hit everything at or near a ruck and tackle everything.

      mobile as well for a 19st lock!

  4. Delon Armitage has been arrested in Torquay for alleged assault…got to be his England career over?!

    He’s been chucked out of the squad already but that’s one too many incidents now I reckon.

      1. He does look slightly inebriated doesn’t he! The sad thing is he is a talented player, but his attitude stinks.

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