Another full round of domestic rugby saw yet more thrilling action, and a few notable performances that caught the eyes of our scouts.
ESPN may have named Saints’ Christian Day as Man of The Match against Bath but Phil Dowson has to get a mention for another imperious performance. His contact work at the breakdown was superb, he crossed the line himself, but the true moment of genius was as he broke from the back of a maul, gave the show-and-go to make twenty yards, with a perfect offload to Ashton that left Bath on the canvas. Totally outshone a certain England captain in the blue number seven shirt and deserves serious consideration.
The understated Walder was a commanding force for London Wasps and showed true game leadership and tactical nous throughout – everything you want from a top flight 10. He clearly heeded Shaun Edwards’ half-time team talk too as the home side remained calm against the champions’ asserted lead. Territorially and in slotting the goals, his precision from the boot was key in Wasps’ steady ascent and his delicate chip, admittedly made a howler of by Murphy, was perfectly weighted to allow Haughton to touch down for the win. The only thing potentially holding him back was the ex-Leicester England boss watching from the stands.
The Ulsterman is in sensational form with the boot for Exeter. He is apparently crucial in the Chiefs’ bid for survival, and he notched up another 17 points against Newcastle to secure Exeter’s second win of the season. He has played for Ireland U19s and U21s in the past and if he continues in this vein, the Irish coaches might not be able to ignore him for too long.
With all the talk about Gavin Henson, if and where he will play and in what position, centre Davies has come out of his shadows and provided a stunning performance against Aironi to prove there is a new kid on the block. Scoring a hat-trick, he delivered an impressive all-round performance to stake his claim for a place in the Welsh squad for the Autumn Internationals.
Missed the first few games of the season for Cardiff with a hand injury but launched onto the scene with a superb performance to further confirm the view that he is one of Wales’ most exciting backs. He scored a try in the first half and his all-round performance was one to note.
In light of Toby Flood’s injury, Wilkinson’s current performances have been even more exciting. He scored 23 of Toulon’s 28 points in their win over Clermont Auvergne to leave club president Mourad Boudjellal singing his praises, suggesting that he has returned to his ‘2003 form’.