Gloucester get defence underway in style
October 15, 2011
Northampton wing Vasily Artemyev celebrates one of his three tries on debut © Getty Images
Bath Rugby Dragons England Gloucester Rugby Harlequins London Irish London Wasps Northampton Saints Sale Sharks Saracens Wales Worcester Warriors
Reigning Anglo-Welsh Cup champions Gloucester got their title defence underway in fine style on Saturday, beating Sale 58-27 at Kingsholm.
Fly-half Freddie Burns plundered 26 points from an 80th minute try, six conversions and three penalties, while the Cherry and Whites also breached the Sale defence on six further occasions.
Aided by the Sharks' lack of discipline - former Gloucester prop Alasdair Dickinson was one of three players binned - Bryan Redpath's side were ahead early and remained in control, with Lesley Vainikolo, Jonny May, Luke Narraway, Scott Lawson, Rory Lawson and Charlie Sharples all on the scoresheet.
Former Bath wing Andrew Higgins got one of three Sale tries in response, Richie Vernon and Rob Miller also notching scores, but the hosts gained revenge for last weekend's Premiership defeat against the same opposition.
Earlier, Bath inflicted a record-equalling 46-16 home defeat on the Dragons at Rodney Parade, but left with a big medical problem concerning scrum-half Mark McMillan, who was taken to hospital for examination after a seemingly serious head or neck injury.
Bath scored seven tries to match the 30-point winning margin achieved by the Scarlets six years ago, with new recruit Tonderai Chavhanga replying for the Dragons.
Winger Ollie Woodburn bagged the first try after two minutes and was followed across the chalk by England's Matt Banahan, Tom Biggs, Will Spencer, Jack Cuthbert and replacement Anthony Perenise.
At Franklin's Gardens, Russian recruit Vasily Artemyev cut Saracens to shreds on his debut as Northampton registered a resounding 36-6 victory.
The winger, a star of the Bears' Rugby World Cup campaign, struck twice in the first-half and once after the break to secure victory for the 2010 champions, with Saracens losing centre Kameli Ratuvou to the sin-bin and only able to muster two penalties from scrum-half Ben Spencer before the interval.
Saints winger Jamie Elliott crossed twice in the second-half to seal all five points and another step on the road to recovery for his side, who thumped Exeter in the Premiership last weekend after a poor start to the campaign.
Premiership pace-setters Harlequins had Sevens specialist Ollie Lindsay-Hague to thank for a 26-19 win over London Irish at the Stoop.
The 21-year-old darted in for a try on 84 minutes, cancelling out a late score by Exiles replacement Dave Sisi. Lindsay-Hague's try was converted by fly-half Rory Clegg, who also slotted four penalties in a running battle with Irish's Tom Homer - who finished with 14 points.
Clegg, who replaced the rested Nick Evans, also created the opener for Ben Urdapilleta after seven minutes. A direct break into the heart of the visiting defence was ended by a strong tackle, but a good offload gave possession to Urdapilleta, who dummied to switch the ball left to Sam Smith only to step inside once the defence was committed before crossing the line.
Worcester sneaked a 20-19 victory over Wasps at Sixways, but the Warriors almost conspired to throw away a deserved win.
A member of staff from Worcester was taken ill on the TV gantry prior to kick-off and as a result the game was delayed for 45 minutes while emergency services dealt with the situation, but the Warriors pack were not perturbed.
Fullback Tom Arscott scored twice for the home side - his second a stunning solo effort from the Warriors' 10 metre line. Joe Carlisle added two penalties and two conversions, but despite their dominance up front Wasps were able to stay in touch.
Elliot Daly and Alex Cheeseman crossed in the second-half for Dai Young's side but missed conversions - by Ryan Davis and Will Robinson - cost them in the shake-up.
Leicester's dismal start to the season continued as they were routed 31-3 by the Scarlets in Llanelli.
The Tigers had actually opened the scoring in Wales, courtesy of a penalty from fly-half George Ford, but they were utterly outclassed thereafter. Scarlets No.8 Kieran Murphy helped himself to a brace of tries before back-row colleague Mathew Gilbert touched down to help the hosts into a 17-3 lead by the interval.
Wing Liam Williams clinched the bonus point when he crossed on 66 minutes and then namesake Jordan, a second-half replacement for fly-half Aled Thomas, put the seal on a resounding win for the Scarlets with his late score.
The Newcastle Falcons put their miserable Aviva Premiership form behind them by hammering Cardiff Blues 33-3 at Kingston Park.
The hosts enjoyed a dream start, with blindside flanker Mark Wilson crossing after just over 60 seconds of play and fullback Greg Goosen following him over just five minutes later. The latter touched down again before the half was out as last year's runners-up reached the interval 19 unanswered points to the good.
Goosen completed his hat-trick ten minutes into the second half and although fly-half Rhys Patchell finally got the Blues off the mark with a penalty soon after, the Falcons, fittingly, had the final say, with hooker Mike Mayhew crashing over for their fifth and final try on the hour.
The Exeter Chiefs kicked off their campaign by picking up a bonus point in an impressive 35-9 victory over the Ospreys at Sandy Park.
After the sides' respective goal-kickers, Gareth Steenson and Matthew Morgan, had exchanged early penalties, the hosts took control of the contest with a penalty try and a James Phillips touchdown.
Steenson and Morgan continued to trade penalties into the second period before the Chiefs sealed victory with two tries in the final ten minutes through centre Phil Dollman and replacement Josh Tatupu.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes
We bring together a selection of the best pictures from the final round of the Six Nations and one which ended in Irish victory
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999