It has been a record-breaking start to the English Rugby season. And for some, the next month of European and domestic cup action will be a welcome distraction. We have seen 226 tries and 1905 over six manic gameweeks. There have been many highlights, but what have been the standout moments so far, after Gallagher Premiership Round Six?
The winning return of Bristol
It already seems a long time ago but on the last evening of August the newly named Bristol Bears took down their nearest rivals Bath in front of a record crowd. Your reporter was in the stands that night and it was certainly the occasion to remember and befitting of the overall setup at Bristol. Over 26,000 fans filled Ashton Gate and saw a late Alapati Leiua try secure a 17-10 win. This was the perfect start to the season the promoted side and had given them a platform to compete. They’ve won two games out of six and sit in tenth place.
Worcester Warriors record score
For Worcester Warriors fans the 44-37 victory at Welford Road over Leicester Tigers could easily be a season highlight. But two weeks later their team went even further and recorded a record Premiership score: 52-7 over the Bristol Bears.
📊A few stats from today…
5⃣2⃣ | Most points in @premrugby game
4⃣5⃣ | Record margin of victory
7⃣ | Most successful conversions pic.twitter.com/ir6315cqdK
— Worcester Warriors ⚔️ (@WorcsWarriors) October 7, 2018
Danny Cipriani takes revenge on Wasps
A lot has been written on Danny Cipriani, who has not been able to stay out of the headlines since pre-season (for good and bad reasons). However the man himself will probably be most pleased with his shift in round six, which came at the home of his long-term former employer Wasps.
Having then been left out of the England squad, despite being a key part of their only recent victory, he still had points to prove. So Cipriani let his play do the talking again, setting up another try with some slick interplay with eventual scorer Ben Vellacott. Check it out below:
Danny Cipriani is just in such great form at the moment 🙌
Another classy assist 👌 pic.twitter.com/xKJN1mrQ8h
— Watch the Heineken Cup live on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 6, 2018
Geordan Murphy Rouses the Tigers
After the sensational sacking of Matt O’Connor following round one Leicester Tigers turned to fan favourite Geordan Murphy to help steady the ship. Highly popular after his 16 years as Tigers’ fullback, Murphy took control in round two and inspired his team to a 49-33 win over Newcastle Falcons.
It all looked very rosy when Manu Tuilagi (see main photo) touched down for the bonus point try after only 22 minutes. Having been shut down and rendered tryless by Exeter the week before this was the ideal response. Also it meant we got to see the star-stadded Tigers backline in full flow, fulfilling some of its vast potential.
Billy Vunipola returns to continue Saracens’ perfect start
It looked as though Harlequins would continue their winning run at home against Saracens in round six, until Billy Vunipola barged over in the final ten minutes to put his team ahead. Good news not just for the fez heads but for England fans too with the Autumn Internationals around the corner.
GET IN THERE!!!!!
HAR 20 SAR 21 ⚫️🔴 pic.twitter.com/FqkJpui3oA
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) October 6, 2018
Even with big wing Tim Visser in the way Vunipola was not going to be stopped from five metres out. Saracens eventually ran out 25-20 winners to make it six wins from six and have already pulled away with the Exeter Chiefs in the top two. It is already almost inconceivable that these two won’t be competing at Twickenham in the final.
This was also a significant game as it was the first Premiership game broadcast live on NBC Sports in the USA. Compared to the poor spectacle of the Newcastle vs Saracens played in the US last season, hopefully the American audience will be more taken by this offering.
And a lowlight…
It is perhaps fitting that the Leicester Tigers feature in both the best and worst moments given the off-field happenings at Welford Road. The clear winner of the worst match so far must go to their match vs Sale Sharks in round five.
🐯 19-15 🦈
Sale narrowly lose out at Welford Road.
— Watch the Heineken Cup live on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 30, 2018
When even the commentators are comparing the match to the worst they’ve seen during the actual event, you know things must be bad. A last minute injury to Sale fly-half AJ McGinty essentially left his team without a goal kicker, and it ultimately cost them the win. They outscored the Tigers three tries to one but missed every kick.
Both sides were desperate for the win, and this had a profound impact on the quality of the game. Not one that will be remembered.
Yet all five of the top moments are still just examples of the high-level performances. Fans still have to take all the good, with the ‘occasional bad’.
Once the Gallagher Premiership Round Six fixtures concluded, many teams turned their focus onto the European Professional Rugby Club competitions; the 2018/19 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
This weekend, Europe can see which of the English Rugby clubs will show their power, over the might of teams from the Guinness Pro14 and French Top14.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images