Saints a safe bet
September 21, 2010
Phil Dowson scored a try and created one for Chris Ashton against Bath © Getty Images
Round three of the Aviva Premiership delivered plenty of tries and tribulations at the weekend and there are some patterns emerging for those of you swept up by ESPNscrum's Premiership Fantasy Rugby game.
Firstly, you're apparently still going to get plenty of mileage out of your front-row forwards. Saracens hooker Schalk Brits bagged his third try in as many games as Leeds were defeated at Headingley, taking the former Springbok to a cool 20 tournament points so far. Hot on his heels is former England wing David Strettle, who again bagged five points after marking his debut with a try against Sale.
The diminutive Brits and his team-mates could not lay claim to the best performance of the weekend however, with Northampton taking that honour after dismantling Bath at Franklin's Gardens to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. England wing Chris Ashton added tries two and three to his season tally and now sits on 26 game points, while flanker Phil Dowson chipped in with a try and assist.
Wasps crossed the finishing line just behind the Saints after beating Leicester at Adams Park, and there were two main architects as the home side fought back from a big half-time deficit. Winger Tom Varndell bagged a first-half brace, to take him to four tries for the season, while Dave Walder came to the party in the second-half, finishing with 22 points from the tee and two assists to his name.
Exeter's Gareth Steenson and London Irish's Ryan Lamb kept their strong starts to the season going, moving to 29 and 30 fantasy points respectively. Steenson helped the Chiefs to their second win of the season with a strong kicking performance against Newcastle and while Lamb was unable to add to his impressive list of assists for the season against Gloucester, he did maintain his high standards with the boot, kicking three penalties and two conversions.
Exeter's Tom Johnson also scored his first try of the season to up his game total to 13 points and there was better news for London Irish's George Stowers after last weekend's red card against Bath. He may have lost points after his unfortunate sending off, but was back in the habit at the Madejski, scoring a try in a Man of the Match performance.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in Pictures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year