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Things you may have missed from the Premiership Rugby Cup this weekend

Things you may have missed from the Premiership Rugby Cup this weekend

James Grayson in action for Northampton Saints

With the European competitions put to bed until December, all 12 Gallagher Premiership Rugby sides returned to domestic action this weekend with the launch of the inaugural Premiership Rugby Cup.

The new cup competition replaced the Anglo-Welsh Cup and saw a hat full of tries in every game and a for fans to cast their eyes over some future stars.

Here are some things you may have missed from the weekend.

Newcastle Falcons 22-22 Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs staged a second-half fightback to rain on Zach Kibirige’s parade as Newcastle Falcons were held to a draw at Kingston Park in their Premiership Rugby Cup opener.

Kibirige ran in a hat-trick on his 24th birthday to put the hosts on course for victory, giving Falcons a commanding 22-10 lead over the Gallagher Premiership Rugby leaders.

But Chiefs responded with a brace from Max Bodilly either side of a try from substitute James Short to earn a share of the spoils after Harvey Skinner successfully landed the conversion.

Newcastle demonstrated that they have deep reserves when it comes to wingers, with Kibirige and Adam Radwan both stepping up in the absence of Sinoti Sinoti and Vereniki Goneva.

Meanwhile, Chiefs were their usual clinical selves when they needed to be, capitalising on any errors made by Falcons to grab an unlikely draw as Bodilly’s rapid speed caused havoc.

Saracens 29-21 Leicester Tigers

Saracens are on the march on all fronts, maintaining their winning start to all competitions by beginning their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign with a 29-21 over Leicester Tigers.

At one stage, it seemed as though the home side were running away with things at Allianz Park but Tigers roared back in some fashion with two tries in the final 18 minutes to ensure Saracens didn’t have things all their own way.

England youth international Joel Kpoku marked his debut with one of Saracens’ three tries, Schalk Burger and Sinoe Vailanu also going over.

Max Malins also kicked 14 points but David Fe’ao and Harry Wells kept the home side honest, with Joe Ford also in fine form with the boot, the fly-half helping himself to 11 points.

Bath Rugby 19-27 Harlequins

Demetri Catrikilis’s comeback story continued apace as his boot steered Harlequins to glory over Bath Rugby at the Rec.

Earmarked as the natural successor at fly-half to cult Quins hero Nick Evans when he joined from Montpelier in the summer of 2017, Catrikilis suffered a horrific throat injury in just his second game that first left him fighting for his life before sidelining him for five months.

He briefly returned towards the back-end of last season but this was his first start of the current campaign and his 14 points gave the Londoners the cushion they needed to prevail in the West Country.

Charlie Walker’s spectacular try and Alex Dombrandt’s powerful effort were the perfect riposte to Jack Walker’s early score for Bath, while Catrikilis’ kicking helped establish a 21-5 lead.

A pair of close-range scores from Ross Batty, sandwiching a fourth Catrikilis penalty, brought Bath right back into the contest before Harlequins saw the game out for a 27-19 triumph.

Gloucester 31-7 Wasps

Gloucester got to work early in their Premiership Rugby Cup opener at Kingsholm, swatting Wasps aside in the rain on Saturday afternoon.

Debut tries for Cam Terry and Dom Coetzer were the highlights of a dominant first half that also saw Ben Vellacott and Lloyd Evans cross.

Conditions worsened in the second stanza and Wasps defended manfully.

But the growing home pressure eventually told when Joe Mullis touched down late on to make it 31-0 to the Cherry & Whites.

There was still time however for Wasps to claim a late consolation when Alfie Barbeary emerged at the back of a rolling maul to give them something to cheer.

But it was all smiles in the West Country as Gloucester claimed five tries and all five points from their competition opener.

Northampton Saints 51-24 Bristol Bears

Northampton Saints brought up the half-century thanks to a comprehensive seven-try victory over Bristol Bears – who added four of their own to-boot.

In the spirit of the competition, both sides were much-changed, with several youngsters getting the chance to prove a point.

And 20-year-old fly-half James Grayson did just that, opening the scoring with a fifth-minute try before notching up a further 14 points with the boot.

Saints had their bonus-point wrapped up by the break when Alex Mitchell crossed after good work from Luther Burrell.

They kept their foot on the gas in the second period, crossing the 50-point mark when Andrew Kellaway went over, before a late double from the Bears sealed them a losing bonus-point.

Worcester Warriors 35-3 Sale Sharks

Josh Adams made history and Worcester Warriors completed a perfect October – all in all it was a successful evening at Sixways for the hosts.

Warriors made it four wins from four for the month in all competitions as a strong starting XV, boasting a number of internationals, dominated a youthful Sale Sharks side en route to a 35-3 triumph on Friday night.

For reference, the answer to the future quiz question ‘who scored the first-ever try in the Premiership Rugby Cup?’ is Adams after the Welsh international winger dived over the whitewash with just four minutes on the clock.

Two men who have represented the Springboks, Francois Hougaard and Francois Venter, went over for the other first-half tries, as Kieran Wilkinson slotted a sole penalty for Sale as the hosts racked up a 21-3 lead.

Pierce Phillips and Matti Williams rounded things off for Worcester in style as they began the new competition in ideal style.

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Bath Rugby
Bristol Bears
Exeter Chiefs
Gloucester Rugby
Leicester Tigers
London Irish
Newcastle Falcons
Northampton Saints
Sale Sharks
Worcester Warriors
No Club