Gloucester produced arguably the standout result in Round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership as they toppled Saracens while Northampton, Bath, Harlequins, Sale and Worcester all picked up victories.
Joe Harvey has rounded up the top performers and selected his Team of the Week:
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins) – Only playing for 49 minutes, most of Marler’s work was done at scrum time. Playing against former All Black, John Afoa, Marler was, at times, indifferent. However, it would possibly be fair to say that the prop got the better of his opponent, helping Quins get on the front foot.
2. Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors) – Despite being a front-row player, Singleton actually played the entire 80 minutes for Alan Solomons’ side. Not scoring a try in this game, Singleton broke the gainline nearly every time that he carried the ball. A really good display from the Englishman.
3. Will Collier (Harlequins) – The second Quins prop on this list, Will Collier, was propping against Jake Woolmore and was quite successful in doing so. Added to this, 13 tackles in what was a fraught affair at times at the Stoop.
4. David Ribbans (Northampton Saints) – One of several Saints players benefitting from Chris Boyd’s coaching, Ribbans was impressive yet again for Northampton. As well as scoring a try, Ribbans also caused a turnover and made 15 tackles as his side narrowly defeated Bath at Franklin’s Gardens.
5. Franco Mostert (Gloucester Rugby) – A late arrival to Gloucester, Mostert has wasted no time at the club, making consistent performance after consistent performance. Most effective in defence, the South African was such an important cog as Gloucester stunned Saracens. Completing 14 tackles against a very good Sarries side, Mostert was mightily impressive.
6. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks) – What was there to say about this young man on Saturday? Whilst twin brother, Tom, has been impressing in an England shirt, Ben has been doing much the same at a domestic level. Curry made an astonishing 21 tackles for Sale at the Ricoh Arena as the Sharks got back to winning ways after a dire performance against Saints last week. Also carrying effectively, Curry was easily the man of the match.
7. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) – Playing in the number eight shirt yet again for Northampton, Tom Wood had another barnstorming game. Making 11 tackles to keep Bath at bay, it was Wood’s carrying that caught the eye. Having possession of the ball 12 times, Wood managed to collect 45 meters in attack. The man shows no sign of slowing down!
8. Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) – Scoring two tries in this game, Morgan was just as impressive in attack as he was in defence. With 18 tackles attributed to him, Morgan’s form is reminiscent to the form that saw him recalled to the England squad last Autumn.
9. Nic White (Exeter Chiefs) – Whilst there were many strong scrum-half performances this weekend, White’s was perhaps the most energetic. Only playing for 65 minutes, White completed a fairly astonishing 110 passes to keep Exeter moving forwards as they dismantled Falcons. Scoring a try as well, White was very good for Rob Baxter’s side.
10. Gareth Steenson (Exeter Chiefs) – When Gareth Steenson starts for Exeter, they look a completely different side. The Ulsterman reliably kicked each conversion that faced him and, as ever, controlled the game with relative ease. Passing the ball on 39 occasions, this stat is evidence of how dominant Chiefs were against Falcons.
11. Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) – Marred by injury for much of this season, Woodburn is settling into some fine form as Exeter start to up their Premiership title tilt. Woodburn crossed the whitewash in this game and even made 87 meters with ball in hand. Causing a turnover too, Woodburn had a complete performance for Chiefs.
12. Francois Venter (Worcester Warriors) – Venter has been magnificent all season and showed his class yet again in this game, contributing to Worcester’s third victory over Leicester this season. Playing until the death in this one, Venter had a turnover attributed to him, as well as eight tackles, However, more importantly, the Springbok made 54 meters with ball in hand over the 12 times that he carried the ball.
13. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – Recently becoming a regular starter at Saints, Hutchinson has gone from strength to strength in every game that he has played. Putting in an all-round performance in this game, Hutchinson scored a try, made 10 tackles and travelled for 60 meters with ball in hand. Maybe one to look out for on the international stage in the future?
14. Zach Kibirige (Newcastle Falcons) – One of two players that was on the losing side, Kibirige has been Falcons’ shining light so far this season, well other than Mark Wilson. The seven times that the young wing touched the ball, Kibirige made an astonishing 121 meters with ball in hand. Added to this, the two tries that the 24-year-old scored made sure he had a very good game.
15. Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears) – The second of two players on the losing side, Piutau put up unprecedented statistics against Harlequins. Running for 140 meters against his opposition, the All Black carried the ball 23 times for the 60 minutes he was on the pitch. Always looking a threat, Piutau is such an exciting player to watch.
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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