How many times during a game of Aviva Premiership Rugby have you said the words 'that's a game changer'? One try, one break or one kick can change the face of a match, swing momentum and win the game. Who can forget Jamie George's turn of pace to the try line in the Aviva Premiership Final or Francois Louw's break to put Peter Stringer away for Bath's semi-final try that opened the floodgates for the home side? These are the moments that we all remember and are the moments that Premiership Rugby's partner Ricoh, are featuring and showcasing throughout the season.
We are 24 matches into the new season and with an average of 245 points per round the year has certainly started with a bang. Prior to Round 5 kicking off it is the perfect time to look back at some of the key moments of the season so far.
I believe that even the most ardent of Worcester Warriors' fans couldn't have foreseen their Round 1 victory over the Northampton Saints. It was outstanding to see the Warriors playing with such strong defensive intensity, led by their captain Phil Dowson after the struggles London Welsh had shown last year. Without question their textbook drop goal set up and execution with the time in red was my personal moment of the round and will live long in all of our memories. Across the country other sides also turned heads with their opening performances, the manner in which Saracens flicked away the Sale Sharks like an annoying fly and how strongly Harlequins started at home against Wasps.
As sequels to great films often highlight the second editions have a tendency to fall flat however that was not the case for Round 2 of the Aviva Premiership. Indeed, the second set of Friday night lights proved to be another enthralling affair this time at Kingsholm. Ben Kay, Ricoh's ambassador and BT Sport pundit rightly highlighted Owen Farrell's flawless 77th minute penalty as his moment of the round. Owen showed nerves of steel, in front of a lively Shed, to nudge Saracens' noses in front and avenge their last gasp defeat in the fixture last year
The Leicester Tigers' Round 2 match against Harlequins was also an interesting affair with plenty of momentum swings. A tight match was turned on its head on 55 minutes when Conor O'Shea unloaded his bench including Joe Marler, Danny Care and Nick Easter. Without question this was a game shifter as Harlequins pushed with purpose however the Tigers showed a steely resolve to resist Quins' advances and to achieve the victory.
In Round 3 we saw the aforementioned Danny Care enjoy himself at the Recreation Ground and his second-half try changed the game against Bath Rugby and pushed Harlequins to their first victory there since November 2011. At the AJ Bell Stadium young centre Sam James' sensational solo score gave the Sale Sharks the license and confidence to play against the Northampton Saints and in spite of a Saints' comeback Steve Diamond's side recorded a positive victory on home soil.
The last hoorah before the European break was a great one for many, none more so than that Worcester Warriors. Bryce Heem's score put the icing on the cake of a productive debut for the Kiwi and it was made by the sublime hands of Chris Pennell, it is no wonder that Ben and I both selected this as our moment of the round. Elsewhere there were momentum shifters and game changers of the 'card' variety as we saw three at the Madjeski Stadium and two at the Ricoh Arena. Brendon McKibben's 20th minute red shifted London Irish's entire fixture against Bath Rugby for prior it was precariously balanced and looked like it was going to be a great tussle. Instead, having one fewer man and the injury to Scott Steele their replacement scrum half meant became a large uphill battle.
Round 5's schedule of matches is cracking from the Northampton Saints hosting Gloucester Rugby on Friday night to the Leicester Tigers welcoming Bath Rugby to Welford Road. They'll be plenty more moments to showcase and across social media @ImagineChangeUK, on Facebook at Imagine Change UK and at www.imagine.change.co.uk will be doing so alongside @PremRugby.
Ricoh are a partner of Premiership Rugby's and this season wish to drive the rugby conversation. #ImagineChange moments are those moments that shape a season; moments of brilliance, bravery and madness.Suggest a correction