Review of both the Gallagher Premiership Round 4 and United Rugby Championship Round 3.
Bears in trouble
Bristol have slumped to their third loss in four matches to open the season. Their latest defeat, 52-14 to last years Champions Harlequins. Missing Semi Radradra, Nathan Hughes, Siva Naulago and a few others, the alarm bells surely must be ringing. They sit second last, only slightly worse is Bath.
Benetton lose first match
Iliesa Junior Ratuva scored in the 59th minute for Benetton Treviso but it wasn’t enough as Ulster ran away with the match 28-8. Benetton were undefeated coming into this game.
Tigers roll on
Leicester continued their win streak to 4 matches after a tough, close encounter with the winless London Irish. Nemani Nadolo continues to be a big part in the Leicester attacking structures. Constantly being used to get his side on the front foot and drag defenders in. Should he be picked for the Autumn tests, I really hope he gets more ball.
Albert Tuisue was at number 8 for London. He made 41 metres off 9 runs. (Reports of Tuisue being injured in this match were incorrect)Embed from Getty Images
Saracens won their second consecutive match, this time over Newcastle 37-23. Eroni Mawi again came off the bench in the 66th minute. In a team full of International players, Mawi really does hold his own. No lost scrums for the game. They have a meeting with bottom of the ladder Bath on Sunday which gives them a perfect opportunity to make it three on the trot. Centre George Wacokecoke came off the bench for the Falcons as did halfback Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti who is firming as the backup to Frank Lomani for the Autumn tests.
All tied up
Edinburgh and the Stormers couldn’t be separated and had to settle for a 20 all draw. Viliame Mata was very busy in the match churning out 63 run metres off 17 runs. The most carries of any player in the match and beat 3 defenders along the way. He hasn’t played a test match since the 2019 Rugby World Cup and would be a welcome addition to the Flying Fijians.
Flying Fijians prop Mesake Doge continues to impress at Newport. He scored his first try of the season when he crossed in the 52nd minute. Doge has started every match. Despite the Dragons enjoying only 46% of possession, they comfortably won the match 35-22 against Connacht.Embed from Getty Images
Northampton lost their first match of the season going down to Wasps 26-20. Sam Matavesi scored the opening try when he looped around to grab a lovely offload from a break that he helped set up with a short ball. He was also very busy around the park and brought a lot of energy to the Saints breakdowns. His accuracy at the lineout is very impressive and seems to be growing into a world class hooker.
He made a game high 10 tackles and also had 17 lineout wins.
Veteran Api Ratuniyarawa was at his usual lock position and Frank Lomani came on for the second half as a wing replacement more out of necessity than anything else. His versatility is a real blessing for the Saints but can also work against him in playing his usual halfback role. He made a linebreak by beating his opposite man and also an offload to his stats tally.Embed from Getty Images
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