We start this round up in the Championship, Dean Richards and John Wells’s Newcastle Falcons continue their unbeaten start to the season beating Doncaster, containing Jethro Rawling, Dante Mama and Will Simpson, 37-3 and then marching on to Penzance and beating the Cornish Pirates 25-3. Diccon Edwards and his youthful Leeds side cam up 1 point short away to Plymouth Albion, with Tom Bowen on the wing, grabbing 2 bonus points in a 32-31 loss, before putting 5 tries past Bristol in a 50-31 win. Callum Green started both games with Dan Hemmingway featuring from the bench as well. James Grindal started for Bristol in both that game and the Sky televised defeat of the Pirates the previous week.
There was a feast of Old Boy action as Nottingham lost 16-27 to Rotherham with a full 10 of the 21 players in Green and White having once been a Leicester man (Holford, Duffey, on-loan Bower, Montague, Wilson, Shaw, on-loan duo Stevens and Harris, Barnham and Lynn). The next week against Bedford it was a more modest 8 (this time featuring Matt Parr and Jack Cobden but no Barnham, Lynn, Stevens or Harris) , but the visitors featured Tom Armes, Greg Gillanders and winger Ollie Dodge as they won on the 27-25 on the last play. That trio plus Ben Gulliver put 55 points on London Scottish the week before.
Ross Broadfoot, Dave Markham and Fred Silcock were on the wrong end of 31-12 scoreline against Ben Pienaar’s Moseley, and Silcock featured again as Jersey were downed 54-31 by Rotherham.
In the RaboDirect Pro12 Greig Tonks featured in both Edinburgh’s games as they beat Zebre 41-10 and lost 22-16 to Leinster, who featured Leo Cullen and Shane Jennings. The previous weekend Jennings started and Cullen played the last 15 minutes as the 3 time European Champions required a 79 minute drop goal to see of Treviso in Italy. Tigers take note!
Ian Nimmo and Andy Tuilagi featured in both Newport games, losing to Cardiff then Munster, whilst Tom Ryder featured for Glasgow as they defeated the Ospreys 28-10 at the Liberty Stadium.
Around the world now and we start in South Africa’s Currie Cup, Michael Horak is the defence coach for the Orange Free State Cheetahs thought the season is not going as well as hoped as they find themselves bottom of the table, in the relegation playoff spot, with 3 games to go. In Italy’s Excellenza Lee Robinson and Dave Young faced off as they made their debut for L’Aquilla and Lazio respectively as the new season began. In Japan Alesana Tuilagi’s NTT Shining Arcs caused another upset as they beat the Ricoh Black Rams 14-9 leaving them 1 point behind the Ben Herring coached NEC Green Rockets after 4 rounds of matches. In Canada Number 8 Seb Pearson started the majority of Ontario Blues Canadian Rugby Championship games as they retained the MacTier Cup with a 40-16 victory over Atlantic Rock.
In France’s Top 14 Julian Dupuy limped off the field icing his groin as Christophe Lassaucq’s Stade Francais lost 30-22 away to Bordeaux-Begles, Benjamin Kayser came off the bench as Clermont got a bonus point win at home to Grenoble and Seru Rabeni started his first game for a month as Mont du Marsan went down at home to Agen. Meanwhile in Pro D2 Ayoola Erinle was unable to repeat his try scoring feats as he was kept scoreless against both Tarbes and Pau. Vavae Tuilagi lasted 60 minutes in his first game of the season for Narbonne as they lost by 8 points away to Brive.
Internationally Heyneke Meyer’s South Africa suffered a terrible day with the boot as they missed numerous chances losing 22-11in Otago’s indoor stadium. The other Rugby Championship game featured Hoarcio Agulla and Lucas Amorosino as they came agonisingly close to a first Championship win eventually losing 23-19 to Australia on the Gold Coast.
A busy two weeks in the Premiership has given much to write about. Tom Varndell scored two tries as Wasps, also featuring Marco Wentzel, battered Brian Smith’s London Irish 43-14, George Skivington featuring from the bench. Exeter, featuring Chris Whitehead and Ignacio Mieres, slipped up away to London Welsh, whilst Andy Goode almost inspired Worcester to a win against Jim Hamilton’s Gloucester, his 6 point haul being matched by Billy Twelvetrees. On Friday night Dorian West’s Northampton pack ground Bath into submission winning 18-14, Dan Hipkiss featured for the home side. At Wembley Paul Gustard’s Saracens defence held Tigers to just 9 points as the sides disappointingly drew.
This weekend Gustard’s boys fell short as Exeter’s Whitehead was sin binned and Mieres kicked 9 points to seal a 14-12 victory in Devon. Brian Smith’s London Irish named Ian Humprheys for his first start for his new club and promptly won beating Bath, with Sam Vesty and Danny Hipkiss, 29-22. Skivington again came off the bench. Phil Larder won’t have been too happy with his Worcester charges as they conceded 5 tries to Dorian West’s Northampton, though they did manage to score 4 themselves, plus 14 points from Andy Goode’s boot, to bag 2 bonus points. And finally Gloucester with Twelvetrees in the centre and Jim Hamilton captaining from the second row won at home against a Wasps side featuring Marco Wentzel and Tom Varndell 29-22.