Aviva Premiership wrap: Wasps stun defending champions
Aviva Premiership wrap: London Wasps stun defending champions as World Cup markers are laid down
Tickets go on sale as a number of players make the claim for a starring role in World Cup
The weekend marked the start of the application process for fans across the world to get their hands on tickets for all the matches at next year’s Rugby World Cup and a number of players took the opportunity to put themselves in the shop window over the weekend. Exiled fly-half Danny Cipriani impressed the most, despite his Sale Sharks side slipping to a 34-27 defeat away at Gloucester. Cipriani set up three tries and scored one himself as he looked on course to orchestrating a dominant win for the Salford side The Cherry and Whites fought back in the second half, though, primarily through the boot of Cipriani’s opposite number Greig Laidlaw, who notched 19 points alongside tries from Jonny May and Rob Cook as well as a penalty try to break Sale hearts. Another player whose stock rose over the weekend was Saracens back row forward Will Fraser, who was inspirational in defence as his side routed Harlequins 39-0 at the Twickenham Stoop. Having been featured in England’s training squad last month and playing opposite national captain Chris Robshaw, Fraser shone with 10 tackles a driven try and no fewer than three turnovers at the breakdown. The sort of performance that won’t have gone unnoticed by England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Wasps sting champions to bring the buzz back to Adam’s Park
While many teams would have struggled to recover from a heartbreaking loss in the dying seconds to Saracens, London Wasps are finding that mental toughness that they have so sorely missed to stun defending champions Northampton Saints 20-16 in an enthralling encounter at Adam’s Park. Without the enigmatic Christian Wade, who was allowed a week off after a car accident in mid-week, many predicted the hosts would succumb to a Saints side who made a massive statement in week one. Instead after a nervy first half ended with a penalty apiece, Wasps bagged a pair of tries in as many second half minutes to turn the game on its head and leave fans of the black and gold licking their lips in anticipation for what is to come this season. They have the perfect mix of youth and experience with new captain James Haskell and Andrea Masi just two of the old heads that taught Saints a lesson on Sunday.
Welsh must learn fast or face long season at the top
After conceding more than fifty points for the second time in a row, it is clear to see newly promoted London Welsh have problems. While they will be pleased they managed to put some points on the board this week, it will do little to settle the nerves of the exiles fan base who travelled to Bath to watch their side slip to a 53-26 defeat at the Recreation ground. The experience pairing at half back with captain Olly Barkley playing behind former All-Black veteran Piri Weepu is not proving to be enough as they look to marshall an inexperienced side who are looking more and more out of their depth as the weeks go on. A trip to Salford to take on Sale Sharks next week is already a make or break fixture for Welsh as they look to kick-start their return to rugby’s top-table.
Round two results: Harlequins 0-39 Saracens, Bath 53-26 London Welsh, Gloucester 34-27 Sale Sharks, Exeter 20-24 Leicester Tigers, Wasps 20-16 Northampton Saints,