Round 13 of the Aviva Premiership and The Crooked Feed’s acclaimed review returns like Luke Skywalker; shaggier, seemingly reluctant and much later than advertised.(Loving your Trump tweeting by the way Hamill, but it would be much more fun if you just twatted him with your lightsaber)
Here’s six points from the weekend’s action – with your drinking problem you’re unlikely to remember any more.
Friday night saw Bath take on Worcester at Sixways and whispers around the stadium said that the home side might fancy this. Josh Adams is scoring with more ease than Princess Leia in that Jabba the Hut bikini and Alan Solomons (one of a couple of Obi Wan Kenobis back in the Premiership at the moment) has imbued the Worcester faithful with the philosophy that this is not the relegation battle they are looking for. However, in a second half that exploded into life, Bath blew away the Warriors with three heavyweight punches; Grant, Garvey and Phillips may sound like an accountancy firm that doubles up in door management, but their trio of tries added up to Worcester not getting in. Bath avoid a banana* skin, Wuss still frustratingly tethered in the basement.
(*Matt Bananahan has signed for Gloucester next season. Yeah… We know… Gloucester.)
Saturday’s matches served up some reassuringly familiar storylines. Leicester Tigers took on London Irish at Welford Road and the home fans readied their stomachs for the type of turd burger that is now becoming a house speciality. Irish aren’t a great side; they’re not the worst ‘worst’ side the Prem has ever seen, but any club with top four pretensions should be able to put thirty points on the board without much sweat. Tigers bashed and bungled their way over the line enough to win, but the best try belonged to Irish and Alex Lewington: he desperately needs to be shaking his tail feathers in a better side. Rumours circulated after the game that the Leicester management team were going to be sacked, for the second time this season. Get the wonga out and stick it on Dean Richards returning to Welford Road. Him or Toby Young. Either would be ‘bloody’ hilarious.
Speaking of bloody: Joe Marler, with his ear hanging off and his beloved Harlequins hanging in there against a punchy Sale Sharks, decided that he’d decide the game.
His ugly shoulder blast on a retreating TJ Ioane was as stupid as it was needless. It reduced ‘Quins to fourteen permanently and probably puts his Six Nations participation in doubt (although the citing commissioner has previously worked around Joe’s diary). Aside from this, the Sharks were impressive and deserved the points, even if Matthew Carley made a bold call to rob Jamie Roberts of his second (and potentially match winning) try; Quins never ever know they’re beaten. Faf de Klerk, Will Addison and Rohan Van Rensburg all sparkled for Diamond’s men; Sale can look very snazzy. In fact, they are a little bit like my sex life; unpredictable, but lovely when everyone’s in the right frame of mind.
At the Gardens, Northampton clinched it against Gloucester (everyone’s favourite under-achievers) to hand Alan Gaffney his first win as DOR. The Cherry and Shites didn’t managed the game well, handing Saints too much ball and field position, and it was very much the away form we have come to know and love with Glaws. John Afoa’s try was a high point, Owen Williams’ break and offload very much the sort of thing Leicester are missing(!), but Gloucester let Northampton back in in a big way. The feisty Teimana Harrison was rightfully made ‘man of the match’ and celebrated by mentioning most of his siblings. Looking like something out of ‘Deliverance’, the disproportionate references to family was a little unsettling, but Harrison did look like a ‘brother’ who could play for England (although maybe it was just his Kiwi accent).
Saracens did an amazing impression of Saracens on Sunday afternoon at the Ricoh. Too hot to handle for the hosts, it was only when they went down to thirteen men, Burger and Farrell both receiving a yellow, that Wasps showed any sort of life. Michael Rhodes was in fine fettle (Sarries do play well with him in the side), as was Alex Goode who rounded off two archetypal Barnet backs moves. Saracens’ defence returned to its all-consuming best and Billy Vunipola on his return from injury looked as turbulent as a twenty-stone teenager on a wank ban. Most media outlets swooned; Eddie Jones must have felt like it was Christmas. Even though it was only just Christmas. Like, a week ago.
Wasps were well beaten but perhaps win of the weekend goes to Newcastle Falcons. Exeter travelled to Kingston Park and were undone by a typically dogged and untypically fruitful home team display. Every mistake was capitalised on and into a starring role stole the footwork of Sinoti Sinoti. A turnover was worked down the short side and having outstripped Kvesic, the Samoan sidestepped like a motherfucker to make James Short look a little, well, fucked. Exeter aroused themselves after half time but it was the Falcons fans who were fingering at the final whistle – a memorable up yours on Tyneside. The Chiefs with the longest walk of shame ever.
European escapades for the next fortnight. We can’t wait for English sides to be shit again. Ta-ra for now.