A quick summary of the weekend’s rugby looks like this:
Close to home
Apparently while the internationals stars had a break from the stresses and strains of the 6 Nations, something called the Premiership was still happening.
It was a story of near-misses and coming-from-behinds all round as various top sides narrowly avoided embarrassing upsets. Both Saracens and Harlequins have their kickers to thank as Sarries came back from 3-10 down at the break to eventually beat Sale 10-15, courtesy of four 2nd-half Charlie Hodgson penalties, and Quins came back from 12-14 down at the Stoop to win 18-14, thanks to two penalties from the boot of Ben Botica.
Bath also kept their run against local rivalries Exeter alive, despite trailing, thanks to the brilliance of the rapidly up-and-coming George Ford. In fact his MOTM display showed he’s more than just up-and-coming and deserves a shot in a white jersey. Mr Lancaster, could you please give it to him?!
On the injury front, Dan Cole will have a period of rest from rugby to relieve a bulging disc in his neck which is trapping a nerve. The Leicester Tigers and England tight-head prop was diagnosed after experiencing weakness during a gym session at St George’s Park last week meaning he’ll miss the rest of the 6 Nations.
It’s a big loss for Lancaster given Cole’s work-rate around the park but having David Wilson and Henry Thomas on hand to deputise will help soften the blow.
On the international club scene, England rugby league man-mountain Sam Burgess has been convinced by Bath to switch codes and will leave the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of the NRL season. Bath have paid a whopping £500,000 to buy him out of his contract with the Rabbitohs, which was due to run until 2016.
And lastly, early-morning weekend rugby, also know as Super Rugby, returned with an opening South African double header which saw the Lions overcome the Cheetahs and the Sharks beat the Bulls. Newcomers to the tournament, the Lions pulled off a big upset in their first fixture as fly-half Marnitz Boshoff kicked all of their 21 points, including a last-minute drop-goal. The five Australian and New Zealand teams join the fold this coming weekend.
With the three 6 Nations fixtures on the Beeb, two Premiership Rugby games on BT Sport and Sky showing various Super Rugby games, TTT could be in for an antisocial weekend…