Crashball Rugby reviews the results, talking points and chooses a XV of the week from round 1 of the Aviva Premiership 2017/18 season
The Premiership returned in style this weekend, with 50 tries in the opening round, few fans can bemoan the entairtainment we were treated to from start to finish.
Saracens flexed their muscles against a poor Saints, Wasps again showcased their attacking flair, London Irish return looking more like title contenders than a promoted side and Bath reversed roles with the Leicester of old.
Gloucester Rugby 28 - Exeter Chiefs 21
Exeter went in to the opening game of the season as clear favourites, something that apparently didn't sit well with new head coach Johan Ackermann. Jason Woodward sealed the victory by crossing the line in the 82nd minute, so far making a strong argument for signing of the summer. Time and time again last season Gloucester let a lead slip in the dying minutes. Whether this win is due to a strengthened resolve under Ackermann's guidance or a one off, we will have to wait and see.
Saracens 55 - Northampton Saints 24
The first of the two matches in the London double header resulted in Saracens flexing their muscles against an again underperforming Northampton side. Schalk Brits starred in the 9 try performance, causing many to ponder why he is adamant on retiring at the end of the season. Fortunately, Saints showed an improved second 40, winning the half 21-14. While Saracens may have eased off after such a comfortable lead Saints fans should place hope in this second half fightback, after all, only recently Australia came from a similar run of play against the All Blacks to very nearly beat the worlds no.1 team 7 days later.
London Irish 39 - Harlequins 29
London Irish return to the Premiership with a stellar performance against last seasons 6th placed team at the home of English rugby in the final of the London double header matchups. London Irish head coach Nick Kennedy had claimed his side were focusing predominately on defence, set piece and exits before the season began. A try bonus point win, however, was not what we had been expecting after Kennedy's sentiment. The main attraction for most fans this game was to see how well young Marcus Smith would perform for Harlequin at fly-half. When your chosen for an England training camp at 18 before your Premiership debut your bound to turn heads. Smith's performance showed glimpses akin to the type of attacking play we expect from George Ford were present. While there were errors (and there are bound to be), Smith's defensive intent was clear to see despite his small stature.
Leicester Tigers 23 - Bath Rugby 27
The final matchup of the round will have left a few Bath and Leicester fans searching franticly for there inhalers and beta blockers. The excitement rising at the prospect of a Tigers backline including the names Youngs, Ford, Toomua and Tuilagi was enough excitement alone!. Bath brought a performance many would expect from a classic Leicester side, a determination superior to the homes sides was unrelenting. Even denying Leicester the win after three yellow cards for Bath in the final 11 minutes, three! Taulupe Faletau had a stormer of a match, allowing his British and Irish Lion's pedigree to shine for all to see. The rust on Toomua and Tuilagi will be scraped off soon, more is yet to come from this Tigers side. On the bright side for Leicester fans, Tuilagi played a full 80 minutes uninjured.
Round 1 Premiership XV