I don’t usually pontificate on games in the Premiership until after the round is complete – but last night’s game at Kingston Park is worthy of note right now.
Wasps arrived needing just one point to go to the top of the table.
After 4 minutes it looked like they were going to be disappointed when the Falcons raced into a 12-0 lead with two tries.
Wasps are the top try scorers this season though and managed to get back into the game thanks to tries from Danny Cipriani, Christian Wade and Thomas Young – all before half time. However they were still down 22-21 at the break.
Jimmy Gopperth came on for the injured Cipriani in the second half and it looked like Wasps were going to win comfortably when they pulled away to 34-25 after 65 minutes.
The score remained there until there were just 5 minutes left – then Guy Thompson was yellow carded and immediately after Newcastle scored their 4th try.
It was a tight finish with Wasps getting 5 points to send them clear of Saracens at the top.
The Falcons picked up 2 losing bonus points proving that the Premiership continues to get ever more competitive.
If you missed it here are some highlights (which really should be 80 minutes long) –
The game was played in full again early this morning on BT Sport – and it may be shown again later today – worth checking – and well worth seeing for the 8 tries that were scored!
This morning both managers will have reasons to be pleased as well as disappointed I expect.
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Tony and Jan Farrally were kind enough to drive down and visit us yesterday – which explained why I didn’t post on here until late in the afternoon.
It was great to see them and to catch up on stuff – not least the hectic life styles they lead – makes me tired just hearing about it!
As always they came loaded with fantastic gifts for the pair of us, including a magnificent History of the Lions tome for me – you can expect soon to be deluged with interesting facts that make me look like I know what I’m talking about!
Farrally instantly found the reference to the 1962 British Lion, John Brown, who taught me rugby at school. Obviously he was a much better player than teacher!
By comparison our gifts to them looked like we’d got them out of Christmas crackers from Poundland!
I really should be very embarrassed about that but I’ve been too busy reading all about the Lions tours that we went on – patently I was too pissed at the time to remember any details!
A brilliant time all round – we look forward to seeing them again in 2017.
Happy New Year and thanks again guys!
PS – As you will have noticed I completely forgot to take photos – what a nob head!
Just wanted to save you wasting time today trying to decide what to give up from tomorrow
So, forget about all that ‘I’m going to get rid of a load of lard’ and ‘I think I’ll train for the London Marathon this year’ rubbish
Instead, have a shedload of wallop and cake tonight and then repeat daily through 2017. You know it makes sense!
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25: (L-R) Tom Wood, Captain of Northampton Saints, Gerritt-Jan Van Velze, Captain of Worcester Warriors, Ally Hogg, Captain of Newcastle Falcons, Jack Yeandle, Captain of Exeter Chiefs, Greig Laidlaw, Captain of Gloucester Rugby, Tom Youngs, Captain of Leicester Tigers, Brad Barritt, Captain of Saracens, Danny Care, Captain of Harlequins, Guy Mercer, Captain of Bath, Jack Lam, Captain of Bristol Rugby, Joe Launchbury, Captain of Wasps and Josh Beaumont, Captain of Sale, pose with The Aviva Premiership Trophy during the Aviva Premiership Rugby 2016-2017 Season Launch at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Aviva)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: Aviva branding during an ESPN filming day in preperation for the start of the 2010/11 Aviva Premiership Season on August 6, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
The second half of the Premiership season starts tonight when Newcastle entertain Wasps at Kingston Park.
Elsewhere two games standout – the derby between Bath and Exeter at the Rec tomorrow and then on New Year’s Day at Welford Road where Saracens travel to take on the Tigers.
These are my guesses –
Wasps win on the road this evening
Bath to hold off the Chiefs
Sharks to stop the Bristol mini revival
Gloucester to get a surprise win against Saints
Tigers to go down – just – to Saracens and
Worcester to lose at home to Quins – thus staying just the 2 points clear of Bristol.
Choosing 3 away wins is probably foolhardy – with the emphasis on the ‘fool’
The games at Newcastle, Bath and Leicester are all ‘live’ on BT Sport. BT have a habit of screening some games ‘free to air’ at seasonal times – so it may be that at least one of the matches is available to all.
Austin Healey & Ben Kay – BT Sport
I also guess it will be a quiet New Year’s Eve for all the eight teams playing on Sunday!
This is the last weekend before the new high tackle law comes into force (ha ha).
This is an interesting video of the discussion on BT’s Rugby Tonight about the implications and predicted effect of the new law –
The clip includes a couple of examples where different sanctions would likely be applied as from 3rd January.
It is a balanced review from blokes who have played the game at the highest level and know much more about the game than I do (but then who doesn’t?)
However much of the discussion echoes the views I expressed here a couple of weeks ago when World Rugby announced the changes (‘Brain Damage’ and ‘A Weak Defence’).
The agreement seems to be that there will be a period of mayhem whilst everyone comes to terms with exactly how the new laws will be applied and then it will settle down.
Rugby will still be a game of huge physical impact and injuries will continue – but hopefully the levels of concussion and serious neck injuries will be reduced.
The idea that it will now effectively be ‘touch rugby’ is up there with the idea that Nigel Farage is a bleeding ‘man of the people’
Ross Batty is in real danger of getting drummed out of the front row union for this little number!
I know backs who could never have done that (me for one!)
If you’re still looking for a venue for tomorrow night here’s a couple of suggestions –
And if those aren’t up your alley, how about these?