Round Two of the Aviva Premiership continued where Round 1 left off with plenty of action, some head turning performances and just a touch of drama!! After two rounds Saracens and the Leicester Tigers remain the only unbeaten sides and two teams, London Irish and the Newcastle Falcons, are yet to record victories. The round delivered us with 245 points, stand out performances from JJ Hanrahan, Josh Beaumont and Jack Nowell and included 21 tries across the 6 matches.
On Friday night Kingsholm witnessed an arm wrestle of a fixture between Gloucester Rugby and Saracens. There was little to write home about in terms of free flowing attacking rugby but plenty of brute force. Mike Ellery's try mid way through in the opening half was the only score of the night however had Billy Twelvetrees shipped the ball wide to Jonny May that could have changed. In a tense affair individuals shone, Will Fraser came off the bench early for Michael Rhodes and made the breakdown his domain and Jamie George stepped up as captain. For Gloucester Rugby Willi Heinz had another storming match at scrum half and the contest between him and the returning Greig Laidlaw should be fascinating. Ultimately Gloucester will feel that the game got away from them, whilst Saracens will be quietly content snatching the match and making it one apiece in terms of dramatic finales at Kingsholm. Full Time Gloucester Rugby 15 Saracens 17. Men Of The Moment - Saracens' Will Fraser & Owen Farrell
Back on home soil the Sale Sharks recorded their first win of the year over the tenacious Worcester Warriors. In attack the Sharks cleaned up their handling however it was their pack that provided the platform for this victory with beautifully executed driving mauls. Josh Beaumont put in a stellar shift at Number 8 showing his full box of tricks from chipping delicately into space to hard nose ball carrying. The boot of Worcester Warriors' Ryan Mills excelled from the half way line and delivered a warning to all sides of their ability to punish however defensive holes cost them on the scoreboard. Sale showed a spot more nous to snatch the losing bonus point with the last play of the game however make no bones about it the Warriors are here to compete. Full Time Sale Sharks 27 Worcester Warriors 13. Man Of The Moment - Sale Sharks' Josh Beaumont
At the Stadium MK patience was the name of the game for the Northampton Saints against the Newcastle Falcons and new signing JJ Hanrahan showed exactly what type of asset he'll be with a stellar outing. The match was poised at half time, 16-9, however when Todd Clever went to the bin the Saints pounced with two quick tries and took the game away from the visitors. Christian Day had a barn-storming day and was part of a dynamic and purposeful Northampton Saints pack that will have pleased Jim Mallinder no end. The Falcons' rued their own reactions to the referee and still go in search of their first Aviva Premiership victory of the season. Full Time Northampton Saints 42 Newcastle Falcons 16. Man Of The Moment - Northampton Saints' JJ Hanrahan
At the Ricoh Arena Wasps and Bath Rugby battled against each other and the less than ideal weather conditions on Saturday afternoon. Dai Young's side brushed off their opening round defeat with a more purposeful adventure out on home soil and were boosted by the reintroduction of James Haskell and Joe Launchbury. On the whole Bath Rugby still look a little rusty and aren't up to full speed just yet, likely to be due to their fragmented pre-season with so many individuals away on International duties. Full debutant Niko Matawalu had a mixed day at the office, his enthusiasm and eye for a positive break were clear however his personal infringement, pulling back Nathan Hughes in sight of the try line, earned him ten minutes in the sin bin and Wasps a penalty try. Wasps were guilty of an old sin, having to win the game more than once as Bath Rugby pushed in the final minutes, however they stayed strong defensively. Full Time Wasps 16 Wasps Bath Rugby 9. Man Of The Moment - Wasps' Nathan Hughes
The Exeter Chiefs returned home with a bang as they brushed aside London Irish at Sandy Park. The Chiefs' looked comfortable throughout and their wide wide approach to rugby was delightful to watch. Jack Nowell looked hungrier than I've seen him before and it was his electric reactions and pace that delivered two tries for the home side with the latter a length of the field solo score. It was another reminder that the Exeter Chiefs mean business this season and it will take something special to beat them at home. London Irish had a slow start to the match and again managed to shoot themselves in the foot on a number of occasions from a handling perspective. Blair Cowen's addition at half time added much to their performance and he fully deserved having his name on the scoreboard. Overall Tom Coventry will be pleased with the output Brendan McKibbin at scrum half and how sprightly Sean Maitland looked when he came on however he still has plenty to work on at Sunbury. Full Time Exeter Chiefs 38 London Irish 11. Man Of The Moment - Jack Nowell
At Welford Road the whistle of referee Tom Foley dominated much of the match between the Leicester Tigers and Harlequins and left Conor O'Shea seething at full time. The first half was a tight affair with both fly halves showing their perfect radars and it could have continued that way for the eighty had it not been for Harlequins' bench. The visitors unloaded Danny Care, Nick Easter and Joe Marler on 50 minutes and subsequently enjoyed 93% of possession for the next 10 minutes, however 3 points was their only profit. Laurence Pearce scored a trademark Leicester forwards' try however Harlequins pressed and pressed, they turned down an opportunity to draw the game but just couldn't get themselves over the line. Conor's frustration was focused on the yellow card delivered to Sam Harrison with the try line in sight but no hint of a penalty try. Full Time Leicester Tigers 22 Harlequins 19. Man Of The Moment - Leicester Tigers' Tommy Bell