It has been a thrilling weekend which has seen two draws, Nothampton Saints put four tries past newly promoted Leeds and Saracens maintain their 100% record so far this season.
The first match to take place in round 4 of the Guinness Premiership was Harlequins taking a trip to the north-east on Friday night. It finished 17-17 with Quins desperately needing the points to add to the solitary one they had after three matches. Newcastle Falcons did not make it easy for them and made it three draws out of four.
Both teams remain winless and firmly in the bottom half of the table. Tane Tu’ipulotu and Tim Swinson were both set up by the impressive scrum half, Micky Young, to score tries and etablish a 14-3 lead at half time for the Geordies. A try from Ugo Monye and four penalties from Kiwi Nick Evans helped salvage a draw for the London club.
Northampton continued their season confidently with a 30-10 win at home against Leeds Carnegie. Shane Geraghty was inspirational in his performance which saw the Saints claim top of the league albeit for a mere 24 hours. The fly-half, likely to play at 11 for England this autumn, scored with his hands and with the boot.
Although Leeds took an early lead through a Ceiron Thomas penalty Geraghty touched down for the Saints first and also kicked seven points. He proceeded to set up both of Jon Clarke’s tries to help pummel the now bottom-of-the-table relegation cadidates. Chris Ashton scored the fourth as they crossed the line 3 times in five minutes.
Sale Sharks suffered their first defeat of the season as they narrowly lost away to Worcester 24-18. Worcester were 10-0 up after 13 minutes as Willie Walker scored a drop-goal and Marcel Garvey scored a try. Miles Benjamin also scored a try for the home side to deny Sale.
But Mathew Tait and Chris Bell also showed equal amounts of individual talent to get the visitors’ tries whereas Lee Thomas scored a last gasp drop-goal to ensure the Sharks would leave with at least a losing bonus point. Worcester have finally beaten Sale at the eigth time of asking with this hard-earned second home win.
The pick of the bunch from the fixture list had to be Bath-Leicester. Two of the Premiership’s big guns battled it out in a crab-like game, which saw both teams edge out in front but eventually ended all square- 20 points apiece. Both fly-halves Jeremy Staunton and Nicky Little exchanged penalties whilst Matt Banahan’s try gave Bath a narrow 14-13 lead at half-time.
Dan Hipkiss scored a superb try five minutes from time, which looked to have won it for the Tigers. However Little came back from the sin bin to score his fifth penalty of the match and make the game end in stalematein front of 10,600 fans at the Rec.
Today’s fixtures saw in-form Saracens take on Gloucester at home and London Irish host Wasps in a local derby.
Sarries continued their winning streak, and their best start in over a decade, with a nail-biting 19-16 win over Gloucester. They won despite their captain and England captain Steve Borthwick having to leave the field with a nasty cut to the eye and clash of heads with Olivier Azam.
It was Gloucester’s third loss on the trot, but it was they who took the lead after Rory Lawson touched down for the cherry and whites in the second minute. Replacement Schalk Brits came on to score the only try for the men in black and Glen Jackson also kicked 14 points to keep his side top of the Prem.
Irish climbed to second in the table with a solid 28-16 win over previously unbeaten Wasps. The Samoan, Sailosi Tagicakibau, brought his try tally to five from three after he crossed the line twice today. Both fly halves Ryan Lamb and Danny Cipriani scored plenty of points, 15 and 11 respectively but Lamb’s side reminded everyone that they are a team determined to reach the final again at Twickenham come May and go one better by winning it.
Next weekend’s fixtures are as follows:
Friday 2nd October
19:45 Sale vs London Irish
Saturday 3rd October
15:00 Leicester vs Worcester
18:05 Harlequins vs Bath
Sunday 4th October
15:00 Leeds Carnegie vs Gloucester
15:00 Wasps vs Northampton
15:00 Newcastle vs Saracens
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BIOGRAPHY: Georginio Wijnaldum