Wins for London Irish and Sale as Premiership continues to surprise

Joe Marler

Here are the results from the Gallagher Premiership at the weekend, along with the Superbru predictability – only one match was picked by the majority of people.

Northampton 16 – 20 London Irish 1%
Bath 13 – 10 Leicester 90%
Bristol 34 – 16 Gloucester 38%
Exeter 19 – 22 Sale 3%
Worcester 26 – 30 Wasps 21%
Harlequins 41 – 14 Saracens 15%

Should we take from this that the league is wonderfully competitive and all teams can beat each other on any given day? Or should we put it down to the fact that with no relegation battle and Exeter likely to win the league, nobody really cares any more?

It can’t be a coincidence that since the news of Saracens’ relegation broke, 5 of the 6 results were unexpected, with the top two of both Northampton and Exeter losing at home, Wasps winning away and Sarries conceding over 40 points.

The whole thing is a shambles and the sooner this season is over, the better in my opinion.

At least we can focus on the Six Nations for a while, which looks set to be a fascinating edition.

Also in the news this morning is that Kyle Sinckler will join Bristol at the end of the season, and everyone immediately thinks of salary caps. Do Harlequins need to offload him to be compliant? How does he fit in at Bristol, where several big names are coming together?

11 thoughts on “Wins for London Irish and Sale as Premiership continues to surprise

  1. I’m not sure how Bristol at home were considered the underdogs, especially for a derby match when the fans often turn out in force. Quins always turn up for Saracens, and considering the number of internationals away for Saracens I think they were always going to find it tough, even before considering the whole relegation impact.
    I don’t think it can be inferred that because relegation is gone none of the teams care anymore. On the contrary, the teams that lost have the most to play for this season; Gloucester, Saints and Exeter are all playing for play-off places. Wasps and Irish both scored at the death to win their fixtures, so not really a case of Worcester and Saints not caring.

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  2. The league isn’t all about Saracens. There are 11 other clubs vying for points, position and prestige.
    They all want to win and improve their standing.
    Unusual results are not uncommon. Even the best sides lose in the Premiership. At its best, the league can be ultra competitive. There isn’t much between the teams on a given day.
    Factor in the England call ups and the reaction to 2 weeks of Europe and this weekend was always likely to produce the odd surprise. That is a good thing, surely?

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  3. 5 out of 6 went against the grain. As a Saffer I know pretty much which Saffers are playing in the UK & France. I don’t claim to be a boff on the teams playing in the premiership. My opinion of Sarries is ” Stuff it there is nothing to play for at the moment, win , lose or draw we are going down.” For the others I don’t have an answer.

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  4. For the first time this season Quins really looked the part against Sarries. Care showed why he should have gone to the WC in front of Youngs and Heinz, Dombrandt raised two fingers at EJ, and Smith showed that he could be a once in a generation player. His decision making and game management were awesome for such a young man. The prospect of Ford, Smith, Symonds, Umaga and Grayson competing for the Jersey over the next few years is mouth watering. As for looking forward to the end of the season, I could not disagree more. With Saracens out of it the battle for the top four becomes wide open and will probably go right to the wire. What will also be interesting is to see whether teams will play a more expansive game without the threat of relegation hanging over them. As a last thought, the Northampton red card was farcical. The LI player dived illegally over the ball, sprung up suddenly in front of a player legally joining the ruck, and then milked the inevitable contact for all it was worth. Pathetic.

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    1. Agree; Dombrandt was so dynamic but Smith stood out the most for me. Such a well rounded performance. How Umaga was included for England ahead of him is beyond me!? Maybe because he’s only 20…he has a lot of time left so I’m not too worried about his omission atm.
      Disagree with you re Saints red though. Ratuniyawara tucked his arm and made contact with the head, there’s not mitigation if the player is rising. Poor clearout. He is unlucky as this isn’t penalised as often as it should be at the breakdown.

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      1. I think EJ picked Umaga to have an early look at him and give him some things to work on, not because he is ahead of Smith (who EK has already looked at). Let’s face it a FH spot isn’t up for grabs at the moment. Ford and Farrell are nailed on.

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  5. It still bemuses me why Care was omitted from the England set up, I can only assume he wasn’t a ‘yes’ man for EJ and maybe they had a bit of a falling out that never came to the surface in the press. He seemed to fall out of favour post 2018 six nationsl and he did have a couple of below par games v Scotland and France but he was behind a pack that was not performing. However seems Youngs is continually allowed to have more off games than good games and goes unpunished. Very odd.

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    1. Care speaking openly on the podcast he does for Rugby Union Weekly maybe landed him in it. Still though, one would hope EJ would put anything like that aside, especially considering how p*** poor Youngs has been at times.

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