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Gallagher Premiership Slideshow

Exeter beaten as top 4 takes unfamiliar shape

This strange Gallagher Premiership season continued over the weekend, with more unexpected results, and the top four of the table is fairly unusual.

This strange Gallagher Premiership season continued over the weekend, with more unexpected results, and the top four of the table is fairly unusual.

Here are the results, along with the percentage of people that predicted the outcome on Superbru – as you can see, only two matches went the way of the crowd favourite.

Gloucester 17 – 23 Sale 63%
Harlequins 34 – 30 Exeter 5%
Leicester 14 – 8 Worcester 82%
Northampton 21 – 27 Saracens 49%
London Irish 26 – 36 Wasps 25%
Bath 13 – 19 Bristol 15%

Sale Sharks’ win at Kingsholm on Friday night saw them move into 2nd place, with Bristol also winning at Bath and moving into third. Northampton’s defeat to Saracens at home has put them in 4th place, and it’s very tight in mid-table, with no fewer than four teams just one win away from jumping into the playoff places.

There was some controversy at the Stoop as a penalty try in the dying moments gave Harlequins the win over league leaders Exeter Chiefs, reducing the gap between first and second to just 5 points. Saracens’ win at Franklins’ Gardens would normally see them into 2nd place on 38 points, were it not for their 105-point deduction.

Leicester Tigers beat Worcester in what would have been a significant relegation clash, had Sarries not done both teams a favour already.

I confess to not being terribly interested in the league this season, but maybe that will change as we get towards the business end, particularly if the top four features teams like Sale and Bristol. I feel as though we’re killing time waiting for some drastic change to sweep through the global Rugby calendar, although perhaps that’s more out of hope than expectation.

How are you enjoying the Premiership season this year? What were the main talking points from the latest round of action?

13 replies on “Exeter beaten as top 4 takes unfamiliar shape”

I enjoy the Prem if games are competitive, particularly if tries are scored & not just through the forwards, refs do their jobs properly, & not over officiate, as at Qunis on Fri night & ‘newer’ teams like Bristol challenge rather than just make up the mid table, or lower, numbers. I suppose a main talking point was the aforementioned Quins win at the death, including it’s manner. I thought Ex would pull away & win it fairly comfortably in the end. Well, they did pull away. The trouble was, Quins kept pulling it back. Dombrandt was picked out by the commentor (Bayfield?) for his prodigious, effective play. Particularly his ball carrying in attack & accurate, pinpoint defence . Still what does Bayfield know eh Ed? Don’t always agree with Andy, but are England really missing a truck at 8? The final, match clinching Quins’ pen try was eventually awarded after prolonged, dog’s dinner officiating, by the ref. 1stly, he blew early for an Ex red zone offside when Quins appeared to have superior numbers on the left. He eventually awarded the pen try after repeated collapsed scrums with Ex down a couple, c. 4 minutes overtime on the clock, but with no clear & definite likelihood of an actual try being scored. Accumlated guilt? Mmm.

1

Dombrandt has been praised by countless ex internationals all saying he should play for England ie Dallaglio, Heaslip…but what would 2 ex no 8s know about playing there compared with the great Messiah and genius Eddie who thinks all his small group of players should be able to play in countless different positions and won’t pick anyone who all the pundits rate as these common oiks don’t have his masterful ability to spot the resemblance between x player and obscure All Blacks. Let’s face it, if you can’t be described as resembling Carter at age 10 or Giteau aged 4 then you’re a busted flush.

1

Well Dallaglio hasn’t played professional rugby for 12 years now so I would take what he says with a pinch. Heaslip also predicted an Ireland victory if Curry played at 8 so…
Though I do want to see Dombrandt, Simmonds or a fit-again Mercer come in to the squad, I don’t think there is a huge amount wrong with the back-row balance at present. Lawes-Underhill-Curry all bring different things to the game and they have played well together, Lawes in particular is in a great patch of form.

Would you play this back row in a WC final though? Would it likely be more effective with a proper 8, 7 & 6 in place? Perhaps it’s really not just SH players whom are suppressing English ones, as Bolter alludes.

Shame the Quins-Exeter game ended with such a dreadful refereeing decision. The ref made a rookie mistake in trying to even things out after he erred badly in not allowing Quins advantage when they looked to be strolling in for a score. The game itself was an entertaining one, with lots of good play and tries. I thought Simmonds outperformed Dombrandt, who didnt have one of his more influential games.
Elsewhere we saw good wins for Sale, Bristol and Wasps away from home. Sale are going along very nicely. They have a largely settled side and arent impacted much with international callups.
Bristol go from strength to strength. Pat Lam is assembling a very strong case to be coach of the year, such is his ability to make the best out of the players he has got.
Wasps are enjoying a bit of a post Dai bounce.
The league continues to be a bit of a mixed bag. There are some good games but the quality is not uniformily high. None of the sides – bar arguably Exeter – are showing much consistency. Trying to predict who will end up in the top 4 right now is a mugs game.

2

Thus far this season I have managed to get one Quins result out of 12 right. Playing havoc with my Superbru performance. I do wonder whether Premiership rugby considered for a moment the immediate lessening of interest in many quarters when there is no relegation involved. Hopefully the penny will drop and they will knock ring fencing on the head. The game is in a dire state at present and needs a strong, well promoted Premiership and a properly funded professional Championship with movement between the two to survive. As a Quins fan may I say that rob Baxter is a true gent. Taking a terrible decision on the chin and making nothing of it took a huge amount of self control and showed that in places the spirit of the game is not entirely dead. Top man.

2

I have given you and Steve a thumbs up each just to keep a smile on your face Don, but I think you are partly right about people being apathetic about the Prem. The Sarries situation has had serious repercussions in that it is clearly a nonsense to have the best side in Europe competing in a league if they can´t win it, because every time they win with what has virtually amounted to a second team for most of the season it holds up a mirror to the lack of quality in the rest of the league. Add to that the fact that with no relegation so there is little interest in what the bottom three or four sides are doing, and throw in the complete disruption caused by players not being available because of the WC and international duties, and I think there a re a lot of spectators feeling short changed at present. More controversially, I also think that dire refereeing of basic facets of the game such as offside, obstruction, going off the feet at the ruck, not straight at line-out and scrum, letting players get away with arguing the toss, pinching four of five metres at every kick etc., plus some ludicrous interpretations of what constitutes a high tackle at all levels have led to a cynicism about the laws of the game that will eventually kill it unless there is a change of attitude. I played my first game over 61 years ago and have been involved ever since, but tbh I am less enamoured of rugby now than I have ever been.

1

I have to agree with this. This season has been a complete train wreck and we still have the potential impact of Coronavirus cancelling games.

The whole lack of relegation competition because of Sarries has been informative. Personally I’ve always been a luke-warm advocate of ring fencing with the idea being that without the threat of relegation teams would play with more freedom. Turns out that in Worcester’s case if you take the threat of relegation away then most of the players just don’t bother trying anymore. It’s been quite disheartening.

1

Returned the favour Andy, so we can both now grin ourselves to death, as per The Housemartins song. Yes, Sarries & PR between them have have obviously kept their thinking going through the sorry salary cap saga. Forethought is a wonderful thing. Also, agree that refs ought to pull their socks up. Maybe applying the rules instead of ‘coaching’ might be a good start? I get particularly peed off with ‘shepherding’ (blocking) whereby the ball carrier runs directly behind team mates as shields to prevent his being tackled. Also, cheating by refusing to immediately give up the pill following a penalty against the carrier’s team; also the kicking it away, ‘accidentally’ tripping over, treading on it, throwing into, over the hoardings etc. This & yr other aforementioned stuff has become semi accepted & so demeans the game & refs too often sit on their hands.. or rather their whistles.

1

Wanna bet? A (Christian, I kid you not) friend of mine reckons that I look at the 1/2 empty glass! Personally, I reckon it’s his round, but that’s another story. Anyway, my pet theory is that, if you’d been born in NZ, or I’d been born in Blighty, we’d likely agree on everything! Well, almost! Maybe?

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