Aviva Premiership - Round 1
Premiership Team of the Week
September 6, 2010
Northampton's Soane Tonga'uiha grabbed two tries for the Saints against Leicester at Franklin's Gardens
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A dramatic opening to this season's Aviva Premiership season saw new boys Exeter stun Gloucester and defending champions Leicester beaten by rivals Northampton. Bath and London Irish set the early pace with bonus-point victories over Leeds and Saracens respectively while it was stalemate between Wasps and Harlequins.
But who were the stand out performers? Check out our Aviva Premiership Team of the Week:
15. Delon Armitage (London Irish)
The Exiles fullback showed glimpses of his best with a try against Sarries at Twickenham and racked up an impressive 111m with ball in hand. Although a first half yellow blotted his copybook, this wasn an encouraging start from England's forgotten man.
14. Topsy Ojo (London Irish)
Speedster Ojo was another to light up the stage at English rugby's HQ with an eye-catching display. The ex-England international bagged one try and would have had another were it not for a sneaky push from Sarries replacement Kevin Barrett.
13. Matt Banahan (Bath)
The tattooed monster that is Bath winger Banahan made an impressive cameo in the centre against Leeds after Olly Barkley was forced to withdraw with a thumb injury.
12. Daniel Bowden (London Irish)
A big summer signing for the Exiles, the Kiwi wasted no time in making an impression in the Premiership with an assured display to help steer his side to an opening day win. He missed a tackle early on but redeemed himself with a good passing display.
11. Mark Foster (Exeter)
The winger helped propel the Chiefs to a stunning upset at Sandy Park with a try against his former club Gloucester.
10. Gareth Steenson (Exeter)
The Northern Irish No.10 was another to rise to the occasion of the Chiefs' Premiership bow with an assured kicking display that brought him four penalties, a drop goal and the conversion for Foster's try.
9. Lee Dickson (Northampton)
The Saints scrum-half upstaged England No.9 Ben Youngs as the hosts handed the defending champions an early defeat at Franklin's Gardens.
1. Soane Tonga'uiha (Northampton)
The Tongan made a flying start in his quest to eclipse his three tries last season with a brace against the Tigers. Power and (limited) pace personified.
2. Schalk Brits (Saracens)
One of the stars of last season's Premiership battle, the South African hooker picked up where he left off with a couple of smart breaks and some great handling - although his lineout throwing could do with some work.
3. Brian Mujati (Northampton)
The Saints' tight-head refused to be outdone by his propping partner and grabbed a try against Leicester - but owes a debt of thanks to team-mate Phil Dowson after a slick offload out of the back of his hand.
4. Tom Hayes (Exeter)
Charged with leading Premiership newcomers Exeter into English rugby's top flight, the Chiefs' lock helped ensure the Sandy Park faithful had plenty to celebrate. He favours the back-row but will have no complaints after round one.
5. James Gaskell (Sale)
The 20-year-old responded to the responsibility of being made the Premiership's youngest skipper by steering his side to an impressive win over Newcastle - after overcoming some early lineout woes.
6. Simon Taylor (Bath)
The injury-plagued Scot kick-started his Bath career with an outstanding display to lay down an impressive marker in an extremely competitive back-row.
7. Tom Wood (Northampton)
The 23-year-old flanker enjoyed a top-notch debut for the Saints with an excellent all-round display to claim the Man of the Match honour. His tackling was first rate.
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Anyone who saw the pre-match footage was left in no doubt that Easter was primed for the big kick off and he backed that up with a solid display and his first try of the season.