Category Archive: Premiership Rugby

Premiership Rugby News

Mar 05

Worcester take giant leap towards safety by hitting Bristol for six

• Worcester 41-24 Bristol
• Bonus point win moves Warriors seven points clear of relegation rivals

Bristol’s bid for Aviva Premiership survival suffered a crushing blow at Sixways as their relegation rivals Worcester cruised to a 41-24 victory. The Warriors had a bonus point secured by half-time following a penalty try and scores from the scrum-half Francois Hougaard, lock Will Spencer and wing Bryce Heem, while Ryan Mills added four conversions and a penalty.

Bristol, two points behind 11th-placed Worcester before kick-off, are now seven adrift and three of their remaining five games this season are against title contenders Wasps, Exeter and Saracens. A return to the Championship after just one season back in English rugby’s top flight now looks likely, yet they could have few complaints after being horribly outplayed, despite the full-back Jason Woodward’s try and a Gavin Henson penalty and conversion briefly giving them hope.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/05/worcester-warriors-bristol-premiership-rugby-union-match-report

Mar 04

Wasps extend Premiership lead with Kurtley Beale-inspired win at Bath

• Bath 3-24 Wasps
• Beale scores two tries in a commanding victory for Wasps

Wasps and Bath have invested heavily in recent seasons but the home side look spent after another anaemic performance led to their sixth defeat in nine Premiership matches. It was a match between two sides in the top four, but only one looked like potential champions, and they played well within themselves.

Related: Dan Robson says wise Wasps aim to go one step beyond this season

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/04/bath-wasps-premiership-match-report

Mar 03

Exeter complete double over Leicester to climb within one point of the top

• Chiefs win 34-15 at Welford Road to earn maximum points
• Northampton keep playoff hopes alive with 32-12 victory at Sale

Exeter inflicted the biggest home league defeat of the season on Leicester to cement second place in the Aviva Premiership.

The Chiefs, who have not lost since 30 October, completed the double over Leicester with a comfortable 34-15 win, earning maximum points to take them a point behind the leaders, Wasps.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/03/exeter-leicester-northampton-sale-premiership

Feb 26

Premiership roundup: Wasps beat Gloucester to move six points clear

• Wasps return to form with a 35-22 victory against Gloucester
• Bristol grab shock 12-11 win over Bath on Gavin Henson’s return

Dai Young believes Wasps’ 35-22 victory against Gloucester can spark a fresh wave of momentum after they established a six-point lead at the top of the Aviva Premiership table. A superb hat-trick of tries from the centre Jimmy Gopperth, who finished with 25 points, was the catalyst for their 12th win in the league this season – while there were further tries for Willie le Roux, his first for the club, and Christian Wade.

After two games without a win following a 34-28 defeat against Sale and 35-35 draw with Exeter, Young praised his side’s response against an in-form Gloucester.

Related: Jack Nowell propels England past spirited Italy after first-half scare

Related: Five talking points: England caught cold by Italian rules of engagement

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/26/premiership-roundup-wasps-gloucester-bristol-bath

Feb 25

Premiership roundup: Saracens and Exeter win to keep pressure on Wasps

• Saracens miss out on try bonus point in 29-18 home victory over Sale
• Exeter beat Newcastle 36-14; Northampton see off Worcester 24-14

Saracens returned to winning ways in the Premiership after successive defeats to keep the pressure on leaders Wasps with a 29-18 victory over a battling Sale.

It was credit to the Sharks that Saracens were unable to get a try bonus point after touchdowns from full-back Duncan Taylor, former England flyer Chris Ashton and Nathan Earle. Fly-half Alex Lozowski kicked 14 points with four penalties and a conversion.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/25/premiership-roundup-saracens-and-exeter-win-to-keep-pressure-on-wasps

Feb 25

Aviva Premiership moves US game to September, start of NFL season

  • ‘Multi-year deal’ to follow Irish-Sarries in Jersey will avoid Test windows
  • Saracens CEO: NFL is ‘having a hard time of it’, creating ‘vacuum’ for rugby

The Aviva Premiership will stage a game in the US in September, bringing its American adventure into contact with the mighty NFL.

Related: Ireland to play USA in New Jersey as Pro12 eyes North America expansion

Related: Harlequins’ California trip seeks to aid US talent – maybe a new Samu Manoa

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/25/aviva-premiership-us-game-september-nfl

Feb 19

Premiership round-up: Denny Solomona edges Sale closer to safety

• Solomona ran in three tries in 34-28 Premiership win over Wasps
• Newcastle emerged 46-31 victors in 11-try thriller over Northampton

Denny Solomona’s first-half hat-trick helped Sale edge closer to Aviva Premiership safety with a superb 34-28 triumph over Wasps. Two Jimmy Gopperth penalties to Will Addison’s one had given the visitors an early 6-3 lead but the Sharks soon took command of the contest thanks to Solomona touching down three times. Gopperth kicked another penalty but the hosts went in at the break 24-9 up.

Mark Jennings secured the bonus point with a fourth Sale try early in the second period before the visitors mounted a revival when Josh Bassett and Ashley Johnson scored, but an Addison penalty swiftly extended the hosts’ buffer to 13 and, despite Kurtley Beale’s try making it a tense final 11 minutes, the Sharks held on.

Related: Bath see off Harlequins thanks to vintage performance by Rhys Priestland

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/19/premiership-roundup-sale-wasps-newcastle-northampton

Feb 18

Bath see off Harlequins thanks to vintage performance by Rhys Priestland

• Bath 22-12 Harlequins
• Welsh fly-half displays confidence of old to kick 17 points

The morning mist gave way to afternoon sunshine, but two sides some way below full strength found themselves trapped in a haze. A game bristling with attacking intent too often lacked vision and clarity, raising the question of the value of league fixtures when so many teams are depleted.

Harlequins, who were missing six internationals and all of their understudies, had won their previous three Premiership matches against Bath and had hauled themselves into the top half of the table with their first away league victory of the season at Bristol the previous week, but they were hanging on for the first 25 minutes before fashioning a try out of nothing.

Related: Eddie Jones’s astute changes leave Six Nations rivals playing catch-up | Paul Rees

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/18/bath-harlequins-premiership-match-report

Feb 17

Gloucester edge out Saracens as Mako Vunipola makes return from injury

• Gloucester 31-23 Saracens

Mako Vunipola proved his fitness for England’s Six Nations encounter with Italy next week by lasting for 71 minutes in his first match since before Christmas but he could not prevent Saracens from slumping to their second defeat in six days.

Eddie Jones was in the stand to watch Vunipola make his first appearance for two months after recovering from a knee injury. The prop was heavily involved in the opening try as Saracens looked for a response after their defeat at Worcester.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/17/gloucester-saracens-premiership-rugby-match-report

Feb 14

George Ford to join Leicester with Freddie Burns going to Bath in his place

• England fly-half will move to Leicester at end of season
• Ford had activated release clause in his Bath contract in November

Leicester have announced the signing of George Ford from their Premiership rivals Bath and the England fly-half will join the club for the 2017-18 season.

Related: Bristol’s Tom Varndell breaks try-scoring record in defeat against Harlequins

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/14/george-ford-leicester-freddie-burns-bath-premiership-rugby-union

Feb 10

Bristol’s Tom Varndell breaks try-scoring record in defeat against Harlequins

Bristol 8-42 Harlequins; Bath 32-30 Northampton; Sale 26-24 Newcastle

Bristol’s Tom Varndell became the Premiership’s all-time top try scorer on Friday night as he touched down for the 91st time, putting him clear of Mark Cueto’s 90.

Varndell had been waiting to break the record since New Year’s Day, when he had equalled Cueto’s mark. But the milestone was likely of little consolation to the 31-year-old as his side fell to an 42-8 defeat by Harlequins at Ashton Gate. He also sustained a knock in scoring and had to leave the field immediately afterwards.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/10/bristol-tom-varndell-record-try-scorer-harlequins

Jan 26

English clubs seek reduction in Six Nations length from seven to five weeks

• Tournament committee to consider removing the two fallow weekends
• Four positive results from 1,001 anti-doping tests in English rugby – report

England’s leading clubs are seeking a reduction in the length of the Six Nations from seven to five weeks, it is understood.

The tournament’s committee to is to consider a proposal by the Premiership to remove the two fallow weekends, thereby freeing up space at the business end of their domestic and European season.

Related: Eddie Jones recognises it is time to let a captain follow his hunches again | The Breakdown

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/26/english-clubs-seek-reduction-in-six-nations-length-from-seven-to-five-weeks

Jan 19

Tom Arscott sacked by Sale over alleged leak of information to Bristol

• Club confirm in statement that Arscott’s contract has been terminated
• RFU investigation into alleged leak to brother Luke still ongoing

Sale Sharks have sacked Tom Arscott after he allegedly leaked information to his brother before a Premiership match. Jon Dorsett, the club’s chief executive, said in a brief statement that the decision followed a disciplinary hearing.

Arscott had been suspended since 4 January over the alleged leak to Bristol before the clubs’ Premiership match three days earlier. Bristol defeated Sale 24-23 at the AJ Bell Stadium but Arscott was suspended after some of his team-mates expressed concerns to the coaching staff.

Related: Warburton and Dusautoir show the feisty flanker’s art will never go out of style | The Breakdown

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/19/tom-arscott-sale-sharks-sacked-alleged-leak-bristol-brother-luke

Jan 18

RFU predicts further law changes to protect tackler from head injuries

• Concussion represents 47% of injuries to tackler
• RFU’s chief medical officer defends concussion record in Premiership

Further changes to World Rugby’s tackle laws are likely, according to the Rugby Football Union’s chief medical officer, following a study that revealed concussion remains the most commonly reported injury in the Premiership and accounts for almost a half of all injuries sustained by the tackler.

World Rugby’s initiatives, introduced on 3 January, represent a zero‑tolerance approach to high tackles and are primarily designed to provide the ball-carrier with more protection from head injuries by increasing the severity of the punishment for the tackler.

Related: Alun Wyn Jones: ‘Wales are an experienced team but not an old one’

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/18/rfu-law-changes-tackle-head-injuries-concussion

Jan 14

Calum Clark set to leave Northampton Saints at end of Premiership season

• Versatile forward tipped to join European champions Saracens
• The 27-year-old has found first-team chances limited at Saints

The Northampton and England flanker Calum Clark is to leave the club at the end of this season. The versatile forward, who is equally comfortable on the blindside or openside and has filled in at lock and No8 in the past, is likely to join the Premiership and European champions Saracens, according to reports.

Clark, who was Northampton’s 2014-15 player of the season, won a solitary international cap in a warm-up match against France before the 2015 World Cup but was a regular member of Stuart Lancaster’s training squads and has long been tipped as a promising back-row option for England; he was a particular favourite of Lancaster having worked with the deposed England coach in the junior ranks at Leeds. This season, however, his opportunities have been limited and he missed the whole of the last campaign with a serious shoulder injury.

Related: RFU’s Ian Ritchie ‘happy’ with George North concussion review protocols

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/14/northampton-saints-calum-clark-saracens-premiership

Jan 08

Sale’s Denny Solomona gives Diamond hope despite narrow loss at Quins

• Former Castleford player secures two tries in 29-26 defeat at Harlequins
• ‘We need to get the ball to Denny, who knows where the whitewash is

Denny Solomona may end up costing Sale up to £500,000 in compensation but increasingly he looks worth every penny. Two tries in a narrow 29-26 defeat at Harlequins – the second of which involved a marvellous piece of skill – takes his tally to four in his first three Premiership matches. It can be only a matter of time before Eddie Jones comes calling.

Related: Tim Swiel stars as injury-hit Harlequins rally to overwhelm Sale

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/08/denny-solomona-scores-every-time-sale-steve-diamond-harlequins

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