Sunday, 26 September 2010

The big boys run riot - reaction from round 4

After the early season jousting and positioning, this weekend saw the big boys in the Aviva Premiership lay down a few markers for the rest of the season with some accomplished performances. London Irish went to the top with a six try rout of Newcastle Falcons while Leicester Tigers scored eight tries without response as they demolished Leeds Carnegie. A good second half from Harlequins saw them run out 40-13 winners over Exeter. Two sin binnings in the second half did not help Exeter's cause.

Connacht continued to build on their good start to the season with a hard fought 15 -15 tryless draw with Ulster. Leinster find themselves in 9th place in the league after another defeat this time at the hands of Edinburgh who gained a bonus point in their 32-24 victory. Munster welcomed back Mafi, Leamy and Wallace to a side that is starting to warm to their task. Their 43-29 away victory over Glasgow sees them sitting three points ahead of the Scarlets at the top of the table. Cardiff became the first team to win at Treviso in the Magners League with a 19-7 victory in what was a gruelling encounter.

Earlier today the rain had a major impact on the Saracens v Saints match with limited ambition from both sides as a result of the conditions. After leading at half time, Saracens went on to secure a 24 -17 win with all their points coming from the boot of Derick Hougaard. The Saints secured a bonus point in the last few minutes of the game through a try by Paul Diggin. The decisions of referee Dave Pearson who arrived late for the match certainly had a impact on the game with the two coaches having very diametrically opposed views of his performance.

I predicted nine home wins this week. Of the nine wins predicted Newcastle Falcons, Treviso and Connacht all failed to materialise. In line with some poor performances on the score marginsin the previous three rounds  I only manged to predict two correct scores!

London Irish's Mike Catt:

"Topsy had a really bad time last year and it's just great to see him back with a smile on his face,"

"We have a fantastic group of young players and when you look at Ojo, Armitage and Joseph, that's a fantastic trio.Ryan was clinical and composed and didn't throw any silly ones out there which he has been prone to do and (Seilala) Mapusua showed what three months' full pre-season prep can do - he has always been with Samoa before. That showed today, he was unbelievable."

Richard Cockerill on his side's strongest performance of the season:

"I thought the whole performance was based on a really good set-piece. Our scrum and our line-out was outstanding. The scrum was a really good foundation while our ball control was better. There were eight tries in the end. You take a bonus point win and move on.

Harlequins rugby director Conor O'Shea:

"I was very pleased with young Joe Marler. He spent some time with Jason Leonard and will work with him one-on-one regularly. We should use the former greats more. Although I thought he might take him down the pub first, it was great for the lad to have that level of advice."

Bath Captain, Luke Watson's tweet after his side beat Sale  "Yes!! 5 points in the bag! Thanks to all the Bath faithful that came down to the Rec today. Your support is amazing!! Bring on next weekend!"

Brendan Venter applauds the performance of Dave Pearson in the Saracens v Saints match:

"We studied Dave Pearson's games so far and he does the same in every game, fair penalty awards and spread across the game. He is consistent and very, very impressive."

Saints Director of Rugby, Jim Mallinder expressed a very different view:

""We think Dave Pearson had a disappointing game. When you lose you tend to look at the referee more critically, but we'll look closely at the video before saying anything further. I do believe the two sin-binnings were harsh. Calum Clark just went in to make a tackle and Shane Geraghty also made a tackle and tried to roll away quickly. A penalty, yes, but hardly a yellow card. These sin-binnings are very important."

Glasgow boss Sean Lineen after his team's home defeat against Munster:

 "I was delighted with the first half. Some of the rugby we played was outstanding. We then did a couple of silly things at the start of the second half and we will need to cut out these errors ahead of next week."

"There will be a bit of pain with all the changes to the squad, so it's going to take time. Munster are singing in the changing room because it means a lot to win at Firhill."

Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat reflected on his side's victory over Leinster:
"It was a good victory but there are plenty of aspects that will need to be better.

"What was pleasing was the way we came out at the start of the second half and played the game at a tempo that enabled us to get the try-scoring bonus point."

Benetton Treviso v Cardiff Blue Highlights

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