It was a closely-fought weekend in the Gallagher Premiership and TRU's Joe Harvey has selected his standout performers.
1. Yann Thomas (Bristol Bears) – Despite not carrying the ball for the entire hour that he was on the pitch, Thomas was mainly useful in defence and in the scrum. Making 16 tackles against the visiting Gloucester side, Thomas also had a turnover to his name and was solid when it came to the scrum.
2. Harry Thacker (Bristol Bears) – It really is a wonder as to why Leicester Tiger let Thacker go, especially with his recent performances for Bristol. Breaking the gainline every time that the hooker touched the ball, Thacker also made 20 tackles against Johan Ackermann’s side. Added to this, his reliability at the lineout is spot on and Thacker is becoming a top performer in the two shirt.
3. Will Collier (Harlequins) - Scrummaging against Nathan Catt, Collier held his own at the Rec. Making 15 tackles against a strong Bath side, Collier barely missed his opposition and even gathered two vital turnovers as Quins picked up an impressive win on the road.
4. Matt Symons (Harlequins) – Playing for just short of an hour, Symons was monumental in defence for Harlequins in their 29-31 win at the Rec. Making 17 tackles against Bath and also being extremely reliable at the lineout, Symons will play a big part in the final run of the season.
5. Christopher Vui (Bristol Bears) – Playing in the engine room for Pat Lam’s side, Vui was a massive part of Bristol’s win over Gloucester. Vui actually made an astonishing 25 tackles to keep the visitors at Ashton Gate at bay. On top of this, he produced a vital turnover. Vui was simply phenomenal.
6. Steven Luatua (Bristol Bears) – A vital part in the Bears’ Friday night victory, Luatua was heavily involved in one of Bristol’s tries and even made 21 tackles for the hosts. Barely missing a beat since joining Bristol, the former All Black has added so much to the forwards and brings so much leadership to the team.
7. Daniel Thomas (Bristol Bears) – A former Gloucester player, Thomas hasn’t graced the Premiership on too many occasions this season, but Friday’s performance was a fantastic example of what the Welshman is capable of. Scoring an impressive try, getting a turnover and even making 24 tackles, Thomas was brilliant in every aspect of his game.
8. Ben Earl (Saracens) – A regular in England camps, Earl’s performances have been so consistent for Saracens throughout the Six Nations period. Carrying extremely well, Earl made 17 tackles against an abrasive Northampton Saints side. Added to this, he had two turnovers so Earl was vital in Saracens’ early domination.
9. Sonatane Takulua (Newcastle Falcons) – Combined with Toby Flood, Takulua created a pretty devastating axis against the very talented Duncan Weir and Francois Hougaard. Added to this, an impressive 11 tackles for a scrum-half and a turnover, Takulua was a rock for Newcastle and hopefully there is more to come from the Falcons man.
10. Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons) – Flood was masterful against Worcester yesterday afternoon, scoring the majority of the points in a crucial game for Newcastle. Scoring a try, two conversions and a penalty, Flood also made 12 tackles against his opposition and even caused a turnover. Aging like a fine wine.
11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – Playing for 48 minutes against Northampton, Maitland scored two first half tries against Chris Boyd’s side. Seeming to enjoy his break from Scotland duty, Maitland looked sharp. Hopefully this good Premiership performance will translate to the Six Nations this coming weekend.
12. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – Hutchinson continued his good form against Saracens on Saturday. Taking over kicking duties this weekend, Hutchinson kicked two conversions and a penalty as Saints lost at the Allianz Park. Running for over 80 meters, Hutchinson worked perfectly as a creative inside centre for Saints, even if they didn’t win.
13. Nick Tompkins (Saracens) – Tompkins was arguably the player of the weekend with the statistics that he posted. Principally, the centre scored a try but running with ball in hand for 116 meters proves how he ran the Saints ragged. Causing two turnovers for Sarries, it is a shame that Tompkins may not get as much playing time next season with Elliot Daly inbound.
14. David Strettle (Saracens) – Playing for 56 minutes on Saturday, Strettle showed no signs of his 35 years against worthy opponents, Northampton. Scoring a try in the 16th minute, Strettle’s numbers weren’t remarkably impressive, but he did run for 96 meters with ball in hand. He just continues to impress.
15. Mike Brown (Harlequins) – Ever since his exile by Eddie Jones, Mike Brown’s form has been pretty admirable. Acting as a conduit to his wingers, Brown’s distribution was sound and the fullback regularly broke the gainline to keep Quins on the front foot at the Rec.
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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