Category Archive: Premiership Rugby

Premiership Rugby News

Mar 26

Leicester show togetherness despite Mauger disruption, says Tom Youngs

• New Zealander given perfect sendoff with 36-31 win at Northampton
• ‘It was sad to see Aaron go and it was emotional after the match’

Leicester’s players were determined not to play out Aaron Mauger in a minor key. Their captain, Tom Youngs, called a players’ meeting last week after the club had announced the New Zealander would be replaced by Matt O’Connor and the response was their most impressive away performance of the season.

Related: Leicester fightback sinks Northampton in thriller as Mauger goes out on high

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/26/leicester-disruption-tom-youngs-aaron-mauger-sendoff-northampton-premiership

Mar 26

Wasps confirm Premiership play-off place by beating battling Worcester

• Wasps 40-33 Worcester
• A red card for Worcester’s Bryce Heem turns match in Wasps’ favour

The outcome of an 11-try frolic suited both sides, even if neither director of rugby left the ground satisfied. Wasps secured five points to confirm their place in the play-offs and Worcester, who had waited for an away point all season, saw two come along at once to ease their relegation fears. They finished on the offensive despite the red card shown to their wing Bryce Heem early in the second half for taking out Willie le Roux in the air.

Related: Bath outclassed as eight-try Saracens take game to a different level

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/26/wasps-worcester-premiership-rugby-match-report

Mar 26

Bath outclassed as eight-try Saracens take game to a different level

• Saracens 53-10 Bath
• Francois Louw made co-captain for Bath on 100th appearance for club

For a supposed crunch game between two title-chasing English clubs this was as horribly one-sided as they come. Saracens may have suffered two defeats in four Premiership games over the Six Nations period but an eight-try romp underlined their strength when their Test cavalry are back. Thirty-six unanswered second-half points also condemned Bath to their heaviest league defeat for 15 years.

Related: Leicester fightback sinks Northampton in thriller as Mauger goes out on high

Related: Harlequins humble Newcastle as Chris Robshaw returns to action

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/26/saracens-bath-premiership-rugby-match-report

Mar 25

Leicester fightback sinks Northampton in thriller as Mauger goes out on high

• Northampton 31-36 Leicester
• Tigers fight back to win Aaron Mauger’s final game in charge

Aaron Mauger left Leicester on the high of victory in the East Midlands derby which left the Tigers on course for the play-offs while Northampton look like missing out for the second season, although neither side was worthy of defeat in a rip-roaring encounter watched by the England head coach Eddie Jones.

East Midlands derbies are known more for the accumulation of cards than points, but the intent here of both from the start was on scoring tries rather than settling scores. Had Northampton played with as much pace and drive in the first half of the season they would be challenging for a home semi-final rather than engaged in a scramble for fourth.

Related: Exeter’s Don Armand shines in defeat of Sale to boost Chiefs’ play-off pursuit

Related: Harlequins humble Newcastle as Chris Robshaw returns to action

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/25/northampton-leicester-premiership-match-report

Mar 25

Exeter’s Don Armand shines in defeat of Sale to boost play-off pursuit

• Exeter 30-25 Sale
• Armand caps fine display with powerful try

Exeter’s head coach, Rob Baxter, has recently said he wants his captain Don Armand to commit to the club for the rest of his career – and on this evidence it is not hard to see why. The Zimbabwe-born flanker sealed a gritty win for the Chiefs with a powerful try to cap a typically pugnacious performance and keep Exeter on course for a return to the end-of-season playoffs.

It rubber-stamped another bonus point victory for the Chiefs which puts them level on points with Wasps at the top the table and continues their remarkable scoring form. It is now 25 tries in their last five matches with 183 points for and while Sale, not to mention the fierce wind and a misfiring lineout, made their lives difficult, Baxter’s side displayed the composure of a side who are unbeaten in the Premiership since October.

Related: Owen Williams strikes late to edge Leicester past Northampton in thriller

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/25/exeter-sale-premiership-match-report

Mar 25

Harlequins humble Newcastle as Chris Robshaw returns to action

• Harlequins 53-17 Newcastle
• Tim Visser stars for Quins in seven-try mauling of Falcons

A match against the All Blacks this was not, but if Chris Robshaw wants to line up against them this summer the resumption of his campaign went about as well as he could have wished. Well, he might have wished for rather more in the way of opposition, but the cobwebs will have been cleared and the morale restored.

Newcastle are in that no-man’s-land stretch of the table, where little is left to play for, which can render them vulnerable on their long away trips. On a sunny day in Twickenham with lots of returning internationals restored to Quins’ ranks with a point to prove – and points to gather – it was a recipe for the 50-point thrashing that duly followed.

Related: Exeter’s Don Armand shines in defeat of Sale to boost Chiefs’ play-off pursuit

Related: Owen Williams strikes late to edge Leicester past Northampton in thriller

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/25/harlequins-newcastle-premiership-match-report

Mar 24

Jonny May seals victory as Gloucester take maximum points against Bristol

• Bristol 14-32 Gloucester
• Cherry and Whites put in strong defensive performance at Ashton Gate

Bristol are on course for an immediate return to the Championship after losing to their county rivals on a night that summed up why their return to the top-flight after a seven-year absence has been underwhelming. There was no shortage of endeavour or variety from the home side, but in attack they were no sharper than a butter knife and in defence they again showed a capacity to turn routine moments into tries for their opponents.

Gloucester had not kept their tryline intact in the Premiership all season, but they held out comfortably for 78 minutes here to leave Bristol without a bonus point and stranded at the foot of the table.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/24/bristol-gloucester-premiership-match-report

Mar 24

England players return as Premiership clubs seek to bask in Six Nations glow | Gerard Meagher

England and Six Nations have hogged the best players for seven weeks but Premiership clubs are now at full strength to make a push for the play-offs

Anyone attending a Premiership match this weekend may find it worthwhile leafing through the programme. It may be a little bit shinier than usual as clubs go on the charm offensive, looking to bask in the Six Nations afterglow, and a chief executive or chairman may have something to say.

Twelve months ago it was the Saracens owner, Nigel Wray, who bemoaned the “rank stupidity” of the rugby calendar, describing a system whereby Premiership clubs lose their players to internationals for a large chunk of the season as “absolute nonsense”. Now, however, the tone is likely to be more upbeat. Changes to the calendar are due after the next World Cup so expect a degree of triumphalism and reassurance that from then on clubs will not be missing their international stars – this on the weekend that 19 of the England squad who lost to Ireland last Saturday return to action.

Related: England’s defeat by Ireland a necessary wake-up call for Eddie Jones

Related: Gloucester edge out Saracens as Mako Vunipola makes return from injury

Related: Matt O’Connor to return to Leicester Tigers to replace Aaron Mauger as coach

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/24/chris-robshaw-returns-harlequins-premiership-clubs-spotlight

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

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