Not needed by England, the snub of his international selectors clearly spurred Care on at the weekend as he directed his Harlequins troops around Welford Road with aplomb. It may have been the forwards – the likes of Easter and Trayfoot – who took the plaudits with some incredible stats, but Care was equally as influential in getting the ball to them quickly, and in the right areas. While there were no flashy breaks around the fringes, it was perhaps even more impressive that he tempered his game a bit and managed the match well. It’s an area of his game that needed improving, and it seems to be. Will be pushing hard for inclusion against Argentina this weekend, especially after Dickson’s poor showing at Twickenham.
A scintillating performance from Wade against Gloucester, bagging a brace of beautiful tries that showcased his dizzying sidestep and rapid acceleration. He has been slightly off the boil so far this season and as such calls for him to start for England have died down somewhat, but with this performance, coupled with the below-par performance of Ashton (and some, although not I, would argue Yarde), those calls are likely to start up again. It would be great to see him given a go against Argentina, but with Lancaster insisting he wouldn’t be making too many changes, it is hard to see Wade getting any game time this autumn – even if it goes terribly against Argentina, New Zealand is not the team you want to be making wholesale changes for. If he can continue this form, however, he will surely feature in the Six Nations.
The veteran prop was given the honour of captaining his side on Saturday when the Scarlets took on Ulster at the Parc Y Scarlets. The experienced campaigner was playing in his 270th game for the region in what would be a very memorable performance. John led the way with power, steel, determination and heart, which his Scarlet teammates followed to secure an important win against the highflying Ulstermen. The 32-year old displayed all of the attributes the Welsh province needed to lift them against an Ulster side who have been laying waste to the PRO12 since they brushed off the cobwebs in the opening rounds. Led by John, the Scarlets controlled the ball, dominated the rucks and mauls while allowing no creative space for Ulster to utilise their speedy backs.
An impressive performance from Glasgow’s No.10 as the Scots maintained their unbeaten away record in the PRO12 this season. Weir, given the start with Jackson away on international duty, made the most of his opportunity slotting home a conversion and four penalties in a 19-12 victory over Connacht in Ireland. The fly-half dictated play, opening gaps and pulling the strings for DTH Van der Merwe to cross for the first try. The stocky 10 kept the Warriors in change of the match with an error-free kicking display, while shutting down any real Connacht threat.
By Jamie Hosie (@jhosie43) and Alex McLeman
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images