• RFU report shows rise in top-flight tackles and involvements since changes• ‘A full season of data will be needed to make a full analysis’ – World RugbyWorld Rugby says it is too early to draw a link between the spate of injuries suffered in the Prem…
Category: Premiership Rugby
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/12/world-rugby-cautions-against-link-between-premiership-injuries-and-law-changes-rugby-union
Fly-halvess are becoming an endangered species, Matt Toomua’s upswing continues apace and Jim Mallinder has a tough decision to makeIt has taken a series of injuries to highlight it, but there would appear to be a paucity of fly-halves in England at pr…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/oct/09/rugby-union-talking-points-from-weekend-premiership-pro14
• Saracens 38-19 Wasps• England hooker scores hat-trick of triesEuropean rugby returns this week but only one of these sides looks ready to embrace the onrushing challenge. For Saracens, the defending champions and domestic table-toppers, their opening…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/08/saracens-wasps-premiership-match-report-jamei-george-rugby-union
• Gloucester 29-24 Northampton• Home side survive Saints’ late fightback after lead changed hands six timesGloucester continue to confound. Eight days after conceding 57 points to Sale, one of the few teams that finished below them in the table last se…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/07/gloucester-northampton-premiership-match-report
• London Irish 27-28 Leicester• Alex Lewington’s late try earns bonus point for slow-starting IrishA tale of two wingers, as Alex Lewington earned what may prove a valuable point indeed for London Irish, all the while Jonny May continues to make his ca…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/07/london-irish-leicester-premiership-match-report
• Bath 29-13 Worcester• Hosts claim bonus point in comfortable win but have Freddie Burns dismissedTodd Blackadder had no complaints over Freddie Burns’s red card after watching his Bath side record a bonus-point success.Burns was sent off for a tip ta…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/07/bath-worcester-premiership-match-report
• Exeter 34-24 Newcastle• Falcons also gain bonus point despite two yellow cards in second halfThe champions are back at the top of the table. Exeter know that counts for little at this stage, but to leapfrog one of the early pace-setters with this bon…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/07/exeter-newcastle-premiership-match-report
Last season’s finalists go to Saracens on Sunday having lost three of their five matches and their director of rugby, Dai Young, admits standards have slipped
Losing the Premiership final is becoming a curse. Like Exeter last season and Bath the year before Wasps have lost three of their first five Premiership matches and defeat at Saracens on Sunday would dump them in their worst run since 2014.
Wasps started with victories over two clubs who finished in the bottom three last season, Sale and Worcester, but then lost to Harlequins and Bath at home with a 14-point reverse away to the team who defeated them in the final in May, Exeter, sandwiched between.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/07/wasps-premiership-saracens-dai-young
• Harlequins 42-26 Sale
• Clifford leaves Eddie Jones with headache for autumn internationals
The victory for Harlequins was polished but Jack Clifford’s suspected dislocated shoulder promptly removed the shine. The back-row joins their walking wounded – already a seemingly endless list – and leaves Eddie Jones with a further headache for England’s autumn internationals in November.
The 24-year-old, drafted into the England training squad for the injured Billy Vunipola last month, was withdrawn shortly before half-time against Sale and is a serious doubt for the autumn fixtures. With Vunipola already out of the running and Nathan Hughes missing Wasps’ trip to Saracens on Sunday, Jones is swiftly running out of options at No8.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/06/harlequins-sale-premiership-match-report-jack-clifford-injury
The Warriors have only one point this season but the South African is determined to leave on a high and desperate to spring a surprise at Bath – to where he returns with a ‘sore heart’
Imagine you are a well-regarded rugby coach, presiding over the league’s bottom team. What would you do if someone with an American accent offered you a fistful of dollars and the biggest job in US rugby? Gary Gold has duly signed up as the next Eagles head coach but the high‑fives are on hold. After five successive Premiership defeats, Worcester are less bothered about American dreams than extracting themselves from an increasingly Grand Canyon-sized hole.
Not that Gold is the type to jump gleefully to safety without a backward glance; he was due to return home at the end of this season anyway, having initially arrived merely as a consultant. It is also only four years since he suffered the cruellest of coaching cuts, ousted from Bath shortly after having relocated his family to Somerset. His return this weekend to the Recreation Ground with Worcester will arouse understandably mixed emotions. “I haven’t been back to Bath since. I’ve no idea how it’s going to be. I’ll be going back with quite a sore heart.”
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/06/worcester-gary-gold-rugby-union
• RPA’s Damian Hopley airs concerns over plan to lengthen season
• ‘We’re crying out for less rather than more, we’re keen to find a solution’
Damian Hopley, the Rugby Players’ Association chief executive, says strike action is an option in the debate over a 10-month long season.
The umbrella organisation for the 12 Premiership clubs is seeking to establish a structure running from September to June as part of negotiations for the global calendar, which would take effect from August 2020. With summer tours moved to July it means international players will face an 11-month season, prompting England’s Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs and Joe Marler to declare they regard strike action as a viable option if their voices are not heard. The England captain, Dylan Hartley, has described the prospect of the extended campaign as “not welcome”.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/04/premiership-players-strike-option-rpa-rugby-union
Matt O’Connor’s Tigers are evolving fast, Bath’s fledglings offer hope for the country and Quins’ Kyle Sinckler is at the mercy of the law book
The Tigers are changing their stripes. A side which for years built its foundation on set-pieces, an all-enveloping back row, controlling half-backs and immovable defence has evolved into one that can thrive on less than 50% possession. The midfield partnership of George Ford and Matt Toomua allows Leicester to react quickly in broken play and, after all the upheaval of the last few seasons, continuity has been a theme this season. Five rounds into the Premiership the director of rugby, Matt O’Connor, has made just one change in his back line, and that was enforced when Manu Tuilagi was injured after the opening weekend. The wings Jonny May and Nick Malouf have scored seven of the 12 league tries between them, profiting from a broader range of passing, and both added to their tally against the champions in a match in which the home side spent two-thirds of the match in their own half and had just 38% of possession. Paul Rees
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/oct/02/rugby-talking-points-matt-oconnor-tigers-kyle-sinckler-premiership-pro14
• Wasps 9-25 Bath
• Hosts fall to third consecutive Premiership defeat; Bath sit fifth in table
Wasps have been playing rugby union for 150 years and have known far gloomier predicaments than three consecutive Premiership losses on the bounce. As they slipped and stumbled to this latest defeat in the Coventry rain, even so, the celebratory mood of their anniversary weekend was hard to discern with the premature departure of their England No8 Nathan Hughes causing spirits to droop even further.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/01/wasps-bath-premiership-match-report
• McCall: ‘It would be sensible to talk to all parties’
• Premiership Rugby proposing a 10-month season from 2019-20
Saracens’ Mark McCall, director of rugby at England’s most successful club this decade, believes coaches should be given a central role in the dispute over the length of the season that has prompted players to consider going on strike.
Premiership Rugby intends to run the domestic campaign over 10 months from 2019-20, starting in September and running until the end of June when international players will go on international tours. The Rugby Football Union has said it is a decision for the Professional Game Board, not clubs, but McCall wants those at the sharp end to have a say. “It would seem to be sensible to talk to all the parties who can contribute to the debate,” he said. “Directors of rugby should definitely be involved, the players as well. At the moment, you are reliant on your Premiership representative on the board to represent the collective view of the clubs, but this is an important issue for everyone.”
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/mark-mccall-saracens-premiership-rugby
• Eddie Jones’s starting fly-half says competition for places is good
• Ford tells teenage pretender to remember why the coach picked him
George Ford has told the latest player to challenge for his England fly-half jersey, the 18-year old Marcus Smith who trained with the national squad in Oxford last week, to be himself and never lose sight of why he was selected.
The pair faced each other on the day before the England squad met up when Leicester defeated Harlequins at The Stoop on an afternoon when the two outside-halves showcased their talent in front of the watching national head coach, Eddie Jones, although Smith departed early with a leg injury.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/george-ford-encouragement-england-no10-marcus-smith
• 24-year-old out of contract next summer and wanted by the Chiefs
• Lozowski behind Owen Farrell at Sarries and keen for first-team action
Exeter look set to win the race to sign the Saracens and England fly-half Alex Lozowski in a deal believed to be worth £350,000 a year. Lozowski is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a move to his former club Wasps but the Observer understands the Chiefs are poised to land the 24-year-old’s signature for next season.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/exeter-saracens-alex-lozowski-fly-half