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Aviva Premiership Review: Top English Performers Of The Weekend

After England’s successful tour of Australia in the summer, the Aviva Premiership got back underway last weekend and we’ve rated the top English performers (including England qualified) from the opening round of League action – with one eye on the upcoming November’s Test matches.

1. Mako Vunipola – Saracens

Vunipola gave another impressive performance in a game where Saracens struggled to make an impact early on.

2. Tommy Taylor – Wasps

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: Tommy Taylor, the Wasps hooker, is tackled by Thomas Waldrom (L) and Don Armand during the Aviva Premiership match between Wasps and Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena on September 4, 2016 in Coventry, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Taylor was awarded Man of the match when Wasps faced Exeter at the Ricoh. It was a huge eighty-minute performance from the hooker.

3. Henry Thomas – Bath

This was a big performance from the forgotten England man, with Bath upsetting Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens. He bossed the set piece and dominated all around the field.


4. Dave Attwood – Bath

Attwood gave a typically aggressive and destructive display at Franklin’s Gardens, demonstrating he is not done with that England side yet.

5. George Kruis – Saracens

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: George Kruis of Saracens reaches for the try line during the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and Worcester Warriors at Twickenham Stadium on September 3, 2016 in London, England (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Kruis was unlucky not to score his side’s first try, yet his carrying has improved even more from last season and his work in the lineout was spot on as per usual.


6. Josh Beaumont – Sale

Beaumont gave a captain’s performance for an ultimately losing cause, with an impressive 13 tackles made. However, he just failed to keep Newcastle from winning by a narrow two points.

7. Brendan O’Connor – Leicester

O’Connor finished off an important try for the Tigers, and his overall disruption of the breakdown was vital for his team’s comeback.

8. Billy Vunipola – Saracens

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Billy Vunipola of Saracens is tackled by Ryan Lamb of Worcester during the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and Worcester Warriors at Twickenham Stadium on September 3, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The younger Vunipola brother always turns up for whichever team he plays for, and consistently puts said team on the front foot.


9. Sam Harrison – Leicester

Harrison’s man-of-the-match effort saw his energy and goal kicking inspire his team to a remarkable comeback against Glouceser.

10. George Ford – Bath

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: George Ford of Bath looks on during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Bath at Franklin's Gardens on September 3, 2016 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ford was exemplary against Northampton, scoring all of Bath’s point in a historic win for them at Franklin’s Gardens.


11. Tom Varndell – Bristol

Needing six tries this season to overtake Mark Cueto as the highest Premiership try scorer of all time, Varndell grabbed his first in the opener, and also showed his very capable skills in defence.

12. Will Hurrell – Bristol

Although Bristol came out of their return to the Premiership with a loss, their first-half performance is something to be very proud of, especially the performance of Will Hurrell, formerly of Doncaster. His strong running caused Harlequins all sorts of problems and he looks very promising.

13. Joe Marchant – Harlequins

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Joe Marchant of Harlequins takes on the Bristol defence during the Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Bristol at Twickenham Stadium on September 3, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Marchant was electric in the Junior World Cup, and he demonstrated similar traits through an excellent finish to take a half-time lead against Bristol. This year could be a huge year for the young Quin.

14. Henry Purdy – Gloucester

Purdy showed real gas and wit as he stepped passed a Leicester defender on the counter attack and sprinted fifty metres to score under the posts. It was a very impressive score, accompanied by a very dangerous all-round game to start the season.


15. Alex Goode – Saracens

If ever there was a man to be relied upon when things are not going to plan, Alex Goode is that man. Saracens were sloppy and rusty all around the park, apart from when Goode had his hands on the ball. He has a beautiful ability to always create something about of nothing, as if he were an All Black.

Angus Cross, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.