The Aviva Premiership may have lost a few column inches, and indeed a few players with the World Cup looming, but those left behind showed that the league has lost none of it's competitiveness on the season's opening weekend.
Yesterday, Northampton snatched a last-gasp 26-24 win over Gloucester, with debutant Ryan Lamb knocking over a late penalty to condemn his former club to defeat; Phil Dowson and Martin Roberts had also added to the host's score with well-taken tries. Despite trailing 23-13 with only 20 minutes remaining, Gloucester came back strongly and took a late lead through a Freddy Burns drop-goal before Lamb had the final say.
The Exeter coach, Rob Baxter, was "fantastically pleased" after his side's surprise bonus point 30-28 victory over Leicester at Welford Road on Saturday. The visitors scored in the opening minute following an incisive break from Sireli Naqelevuki and held off a Leicester comeback in the second half. Heavily depleted after losing 11 players to World Cup duty, the Tigers claimed a bonus point and, despite the defeat, coach Richard Cockerill was "not downhearted at all. We have a lot of blokes missing, but I was pleased with the way we battled away".
The other big upset came in the form of newly-promoted Worcester, who overcame Sale 17-12. Coach Richard Hill called his Worcester forwards "awesome" as they established the platform for a deserved victory. "The scrum dominated and the line-out was very good. Kai Horstmann [Worcester captain] said to the team after the game that we should have won by 20 points," Hill added.
Harlequins edged a tight game 29-24 over London Irish at Twickenham on Saturday, thanks to the boot of Nick Evans.Reuse content