Fixtures - Top Bar

Northampton Saints made to dig deep at Twickenham

TomWoodSaintsQuins14SB1005

Big Game 7 required big performances to match from Northampton Saints, who had to fight tooth and nail to hold off Harlequins at Twickenham on Saturday.

Mike Brown spearheaded Harlequins’ attack, beating eight defenders – twice as many as the Northampton team put together – while making 57 yards.

Indeed, Northampton carried the ball the fewest number times (44) of any Aviva Premiership Rugby team this season – but at the breakdown the Saints did their match-winning work.

Tom Wood made a round-leading 17 tackles, closely followed by Sam Dickinson and Mike Haywood (both 15), while Calum Clark won back the ball from Quins three times, according to the Opta Statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby released today.

Their combined efforts see the reigning champions head into the New Year top of the table but Bath Rugby are nipping on their heels after a pulsating clash with West Country rivals Exeter Chiefs.

Anthony Watson, who scored Bath’s fourth try, scurried for 134 metres and chipped in with five breaks and teammate Horacio Agulla was no less impressive by jinking his way past nine defenders.

That brand of running rugby ultimately downed the Chiefs, though Matt Jess had his way with the Bath defence with 103 metres gained and three breaks of his own.

In contrast Wasps left Kingsholm with victory having made the fewest metres of a winning side in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season (129).

However, Dai Young can always count on his forwards as Nathan Hughes emerged with two turnovers and James Gaskell with one steal. Even the diminutive Christian Wade got in on the act, forcing two turnovers himself.

As for Gloucester Rugby, David Humphreys and company may point to a season-low 79 percent tackle success rate as the chief cause for the loss.

Only a last-gasp missed conversion separated Newcastle Falcons from Saracens on the weekend, which extends their losing streak against the London club to nine games.

But Dean Richards’ men can take heart from the fact that three of their last four encounters with Sarries have been settled by seven or fewer points.

Saracens’ winning formula was in their 11 clean breaks despite the best efforts of Newcastle back-row Mark Wilson, who made 15 of 15 attempted tackles.

And Sale Sharks suffered a similar hammer blow in front of their biggest-ever crowd at the AJ Bell Stadium, as Owen Williams held his nerve with a conversion to hand Leicester Tigers the victory.

Mike Haley, however, continues to dazzle for the Sharks with an eye-catching 186 yards while also posting 20 carries – tied for the most in the round with Leicester’s Jordan Crane.

Elsewhere, London Welsh equalled their worst Aviva Premiership Rugby run with an 11th-straight defeat, this time coming at the hands of London Irish.

Irish ended their own rut of six losses on the spin to record their first home victory of the season, and while Welsh’s streak lives on, improvement is coming – their eight missed tackles was the team’s lowest total in a match so far this year.

Selected statistics from Opta:
 
Tackles
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) 17
Mike Haywood, Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints), Dan Braid (Sale Sharks), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) 15
 
Carries
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers), Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 20
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 19
Sam Tuitupou (Sale Sharks), Nick Easter (Harlequins) 16
 
Metres
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 186
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) 134
Will Addison (Sale Sharks) 114
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby 113
Matt Jess (Exeter Chiefs) 103
 
Defenders beaten
Horacio Agulla (Bath Rugby) 9
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 8
Will Addison (Sale Sharks) 7
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons), Anthony Watson, Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby) 5
 
Kicks
Tom Catterick (Newcastle Falcons) 16
George Ford (Bath Rugby) 15
Joe Simpson (Wasps) 12
Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Will Robinson (London Welsh) Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks) 11

Get 20 per cent off a limited number of tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click this link to take advantage of this great offer.
 

Latest News

Worcester Warriors ‘unlucky’ in defeat to Wasps, says Ryan Bower

Worcester Warriors prop Ryan Bower admits it was important for his side to put in a performance against Wasps after their humbling Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat…

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

In-form Henry Purdy desperate to keep improving at Gloucester Rugby

Henry Purdy is refusing to rest on his laurels and has vowed to push on hard, despite praise from all…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Max Clark the centre of attention at Bath Rugby

Back in September – just when Bath Rugby were beginning to count on him in the centres – an ill-timed…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Seven tries success for Exeter Braves over Bath United

Exeter Braves’ Shaun Malton and Levi Davis of Bath United became the first opponents since 2005 to both score hat-tricks…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Worcester Warriors capture Samoa lock Chris Vui

Warriors have completed the signing of versatile Samoa forward Chris Vui till the end of the season. For everything you…

Chris Vui

Wallabies lock Will Skelton joins Saracens

Australian international forward Will Skelton has joined Saracens on a short-term deal. For everything you need to know about Saracens…

Will Skelton

Rowe hails ‘fantastic’ year for Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Rugby Club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, heralded a “fantastic” past year – on and off the…

Exeter Chiefs celebrate

Dan Tuohy joins Bristol Rugby with immediate effect

Dan Tuohy has penned a deal with Bristol Rugby to make the switch to Aviva Premiership Rugby with immediate effect.…

Dan Tuohy

Ally Hogg, Cooper Vuna, Aaron Morris, Lachlan Turner, Bryce Heem and Dan Robson head the Opta Rugby Rankings

Attacks dominated as Newcastle Falcons claimed a dramatic win over Harlequins this weekend in Premiership Rugby but Ally Hogg starred…

allyhogg16sb1111

Premiership Rugby backs Newcastle’s bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup Finals

Premiership Rugby today confirmed its “100% support” for Newcastle’s bid to become host city for European club rugby union's showpiece…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Newcastle launches bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup finals

Newcastle is bidding to become the host city for European club rugby union's showpiece weekend in May 2018. The aim…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 10

Maro Itoje could not mark his return to a Saracens jersey with a victory – but his director of rugby…

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pat Lam confirmed as Bristol Rugby head coach

Bristol Rugby is delighted to announce the appointment of Pat Lam as the Club’s new Head Coach. The 48 year-old…

Pat Lam

Newcastle Falcons v Saracens kick-off time change

Premiership Rugby can confirm that the kick-off time for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17 Newcastle Falcons v Saracens fixture…

Aviva Premiership ball