Flats selects his XV from Round Eight of Aviva Premiership Rugby
Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors’ wins last weekend certainly both registered on the Aviva Premiership Rugby Richter Scale, but for entirely different reasons.
The Cherry & Whites continued their good run against European champions Saracens at Kingsholm, beating Mark McCall’s top-of-the-table side 23-17 to climb up to fifth spot.
While at the other end of the Aviva Premiership standings, the Warriors’ first win of the season – a commanding bonus-point home triumph over stuttering Northampton Saints – lifted them off the foot of the table for the first time this term.
So it is no surprise then that David Flatman’s team of the week is dominated by those from those two clubs, with five Gloucester and five Worcester players making up two-thirds of the squad.
Full-back Tom Hudson scored a decisive try on his first ever Aviva Premiership start for the Cherry & Whites, while he is joined in Flats’ backline by electric scrum-half Ben Vellacott – who changed the game at Kingsholm after his 52nd-minute introduction – giving Gloucester the cut and thrust they needed to breach Sarries’ defences twice.
— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) November 17, 2017
Tom Savage put in a heroic defensive effort, making 19 tackles and missing just one, to make the second row, and Flats’ back row sees two Gloucester men present with Freddie Clarke at flanker and Ruan Ackermaan – man of the match against Saracens – at No.8.
The 21-year-old South African did everything Gloucester needed from him in either half, tackling brilliantly with 13 made in total and none missed, carrying 16 times for 55 metres.
Worcester’s Bryce Heem stole the headlines at Sixways with a remarkable hat-trick of tries against Northampton, propelling his side to a bonus point and a 30-15 win.
But on the other flank Josh Adams was equally as impressive with a try of his own and 142 metres made, while centre Ryan Mills also fits into the team with a try assist and a solid showing in attack and defence.
🎥 “It was catch-up for me – all of the other wingers have scored this season!”
🎩 Bryce Heem talks about his hat-trick in today’s win.. pic.twitter.com/3sQD40OS0K
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) November 18, 2017
Nick Schonert, after a remarkable recovery from an ankle injury that looked like it might rule him out of most of the season, earns the tighthead berth with teammate Will Spencer in the engine room.
From elsewhere in the Aviva Premiership, Ellis Genge and Schalk Brits are rewarded for their excellent carrying shifts for Leicester Tigers and Saracens respectively, with Exeter Chiefs’ Don Armand completing the back row.
And two Wasps men in Jimmy Gopperth and Kyle Eastmond round off the XV; Eastmond slipped back into the jersey with ease in his side’s 40-10 win over Newcastle Falcons after a long injury layoff, while Gopperth wears the No.10 jersey after producing some of his best rugby on Sunday with 43 metres gained, two offloads, and 18 tackles.
- Tom Hudson (Gloucester)
- Bryce Heem (Worcester)
- Ryan Mills (Worcester)
- Kyle Eastmond (Wasp)
- Josh Adams (Worcester)
- Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
- Ben Vellacott (Gloucester)
- Ellis Genge (Leicester)
- Schalk Brits (Saracens)
- Nick Schonert (Worcester)
- Will Spencer (Worcester)
- Tom Savage (Gloucester)
- Freddie Clarke (Gloucester)
- Don Armand (Exeter)
- Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester)