Daniel Rey takes a look at five big talking points from the latest weekend of Aviva Premiership action.
- Blackadder’s Bath have resilience:
17-6 down at half-time, last year Bath would have struggled to recover. But not this term, as the West Country club convincingly won the second half 31-5 to claim the win and a bonus point against Worcester Warriors.
- Ashton takes himself even further out of England contention, again:
Saracens wing Chris Ashton looks set to be banned after he took a liking to Alex Waller’s hand in the fiery Saracens-Northampton match at Allianz Park. With the winger’s attitude the main thing keeping him from Eddie Jones’ England squad, Ashton appears to have shot himself in the foot, again.
Does Ashton bite Waller? pic.twitter.com/EbVYjFlOBH
— RugbyInsideLine (@RugbyInsideLine) September 17, 2016
- No love lost between Saracens and Northampton Saints
Sometimes teams just don’t like each other. Even aside from the Ashton-Waller incident, that much was clear at Allianz Park on Saturday as Northampton Saints pushed champions Saracens for the first time this season.
Waller himself was binned for an off-the-ball dump tackle on Jamie George, and neither pack needed much of an excuse for a brawl. On the plus side for the Saints, they showed plenty of fight – which they will need in abundance to challenge for the top four this season.
- A weekend for the hookers
Not only was Dane Coles spellbinding in New Zealand’s win over South Africa, and Agustin Creevy outstanding for Argentina against Australia, but England’s hookers were also on song. A crucial try for Jamie George was bettered by a hat-trick for Luke Cowan-Dickie for Exeter Chiefs versus Harlequins. Another young talent, Tommy Taylor, also crossed the whitewash for Wasps at home to Bristol. All in all, a fine weekend for the No. 2s.
- Bristol really need Jason Woodward, but wary of Catch 22
Three matches, and three defeats for Andy Robinson’s Bristol. Aside from a creditable but eventually unsuccessful opening performance against Harlequins, the one bright moment from their season so far has been the signing of Hurricanes’ back Jason Woodward, who started the season ahead of the out-of-form Julian Savea for the Super Rugby champions.
Bristol desperately need Woodward to inject some star quality into their side, but so much that he gets picked up by England and misses considerable amounts of the crunch period in the spring. It’s all a bit Catch 22.
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