A little later than usual for one reason or another, Jono Frank looks at the players that caught the eye last weekend.
Ed Jackson (London Welsh)
It is likely that after their first two matches, people feared the worst for newly-promoted London Welsh. However, Ed Jackson’s last-ditch try against Exeter showed that nothing is certain in Premiership rugby. A fine display from the forwards earned the league’s newcomers their first win; but it was the 23-year-old Number 8 who stole the headlines as he spotted a gap and powered over to leave London Welsh needing only a conversion to seal the victory. With the determination of young prospects such as Jackson on their side, London Welsh will be hoping to carry this momentum forward and hold onto their place in the Aviva Premiership.
Jordan Williams (Scarlets)
Wales seems to have a habit of producing exciting young backs and Jordan Williams is no exception to the rule. A dazzling debut display at the weekend saw the 19-year-old (it’s his 19th birthday today) provide two tries and an assist as the Scarlets extended their winning run with a 24 – 11 win over Connacht. It is too early to draw comparisons with Shane Williams, but his diminutive stature and excellent footwork bears many resemblances to the Welsh great. The youngster looks an extremely bright prospect, but the competition is fierce. It will be interesting to see whether he can establish himself alongside the likes of North and Cuthbert.
Joe Simpson (Wasps)
After a hugely frustrating start, Wasps finally notched their first win of the season. An influx of new young talent has seen Wasps rejuvenated after last season’s disaster, but this weekend’s match saw a comparatively old head steal the show. Still only 24, Joe Simpson has stuck with Wasps through the highs and lows. His fine display in helping his team’s destruction of London Irish coincides with James Haskell’s statement this week, “there was a massive pool of talent before I left and now its even bigger and better”. Simpson’s pace and potential to snipe around the breakdown will keep defences honest and create space for those out wide.
Henry Trinder (Gloucester)
It is always difficult to find a standout player in a cagey encounter. However Henry Trinder, 23, provided one of the few moments of real excitement at Worcester, crossing the line for Gloucester, providing a moment that should have been decisive, if it weren’t for the slippery hands of James Simpson-Daniel. The young centre is becoming more and more renowned for his incisive breaks and intelligent playing style, and the calls for him to be part of the England fold are starting to gather momentum. With his injuries behind him, there is every opportunity for him to build some consistency and establish himself within Gloucester’s and Stuart Lancaster’s plans.
Tim Visser (Edinburgh)
The Dutch-born winger is in fine scoring form and while not the youngest player to feature in the Scout Notes, he certainly deserves his place. At 25, there is still time to grow and improve, and if he maintains his current purple patch, there is no doubt he will be a real threat internationally and in the Heineken Cup. His sixth try of the season was a sight to behold as he chased down Halangahu’s 20-metre headstart to gather his kick and cross the line to cap off a fantastic evening for Edinburgh. Additionally Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has singled the flying winger out as a real danger to his side’s title bid – for pure, exciting wing play, this is the man to watch this season.
By Jono Frank
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images