Ben Morgan and Gloucester deny London Irish first win of season

  • London Irish 25-25 Gloucester
  • Irish dominate early on but grab late try for a draw

London Irish missed a golden opportunity to pick up their first victory of the season as they dominated Gloucester for most of the match but the visitors dug in to come away with an undeserved 25-25 draw.

Irish had not managed a win in their opening four matches but their first-half efforts should have ensured they were out of sight at the interval. As it was they were only eight points ahead and the visitors were able to stage a comeback.

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Max Malins’ hat-trick leads way as Saracens score 10 tries to thrash Bath

  • Bath 17-71 Saracens
  • Jamie George scores twice with Bath suffering record home loss

Timely results and firm selectorial nudges are one thing but there was no mistaking this extraordinarily powerful statement from Saracens beside the River Avon. With a significant England squad announcement imminent and Eddie Jones watching from the stands, here was an outcome to make the entire country do a double take.

Notwithstanding the glaring shortcomings that leave once-proud and winless Bath marooned at the foot of the Gallagher Premiership table, this 10-try beasting was irrefutable evidence that several of Sarries’ supposedly fading senior pros still harbour serious Test ambitions. If a hat-trick of tries for Max Malins was the headline stat, Jones will now find it extremely hard to ignore the claims of several of his resurgent teammates.

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‘Make the unsexy stuff sexy’: Sale’s Sanderson won’t try to emulate Quins

  • Free-scoring Harlequins visit Sale in Premiership on Friday
  • ‘It’s about our DNA and forcing that on them,’ says Sale coach

As the greatest showmen of Harlequins prepare to conjure up another glorious spectacle they are about to be forcibly reminded that rugby is not a beauty contest. Along with everyone else Sale’s director of rugby, Alex Sanderson, hugely enjoyed Quins’ thrilling demolition of Bristol last week but he is keen to see a much earthier type of game in Salford on Friday.

Even Sale’s owners have been asking this week why the Sharks do not simply copy Quins’ crowd-pleasers and seek to woo neutrals to the AJ Bell Stadium with their glorious attacking intent but, with Manu Tuilagi and Tom Curry back starting, Sanderson firmly believes home fans will be similarly entertained by a no-nonsense portion of northern pragmatism if it helps to send Marcus Smith and co back home empty-handed.

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Rob Baxter shrugs off calls for ban on Exeter fans’ headdresses as ‘a non-story’

  • Rivals Wasps critical of Chiefs’ ‘cultural appropriation’
  • Baxter: ‘I don’t think there’s anything for us to comment on’

The Exeter Chiefs director of rugby, Rob Baxter, has dismissed a statement by Wasps this week accusing the Devon club’s supporters of cultural appropriation by wearing Native American headdresses, saying he believes it is “a little bit of a non-story”.

Before the clubs meet in the Premiership on Saturday, Wasps released a statement on Tuesday saying they discourage supporters from wearing “faux Native American attire” at the Coventry Building Society Arena, because it “has the potential to cause offence and doesn’t align with our values”. Wasps also asked Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union to consider a ban on the headdresses.

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Wasps ask Premiership to consider ban on Exeter Chiefs’ headdresses

  • Wasps say headdresses can ‘cause offence’
  • Clubs meet in Coventry on Saturday

Wasps have asked Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union to consider imposing a nationwide ban on the wearing of Native American headdresses by fans of Exeter Chiefs, arguing that visiting supporters who do so when the sides meet in Coventry on Saturday will potentially “cause offence”.

While Wasps have stopped short, for now, of imposing an immediate ban they have called on the authorities to “formally address” the issue across the entire league.

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Denny Solomona: ‘The journey I’m on hasn’t been smooth sailing’

The one-time England wing talks about his reintegration into the Premiership side, living with depression, and how golf and his family have helped him reinvent himself

When Alex Sanderson announced Sale’s squad for their opening match of the season against Bath last month, Denny Solomona was absent from the list. No great surprise on the face of it, given the one-time England wing had featured only once in the Premiership since Sanderson took over in January, but for Solomona it was a setback. He had approached pre-season with a renewed determination and it hit him like a “ton of bricks”; he was angry .

On Saturday, however, Solomona starts his second successive match for Sale. Sanderson has spoken of how impressed he has been by the 28-year-old’s ability to get over his initial frustration. Indeed, the Sharks director of rugby has described Solomona’s reintegration into the side as one of his proudest achievements at the club and to understand why it is worth rewinding the clock. For it is little over a year since Solomona laid bare his demons in a candid and raw interview – the past problems with drinking, drugs and the suicidal thoughts that he had encountered as a result of depression. Comparatively, Solomona cuts a more content figure today but as he says, “depression is always there” and he has recently described his long spell out of the side last season as a “dark time”. He had become bored with the sport and even considered retiring.

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