Even the most ardent rugby supporter could not have predicted the start of this seasons Premiership, certain results have most definitely not kept to script. The obvious ones being Harlequins losing to Saracens 0-39, their heaviest home defeat; Bath beating the ‘old enemy’ Leicester 45-0, their heaviest ever defeat and Newcastle defining all the odds last weekend in winning the battle against Exeter who have been very impressive in the earlier rounds.
However, for new boys London Welsh, their first month in the Premiership is one I’m sure they’d rather forget, leaking points (249 against after 5 matches) and firmly rooted at the foot of the table; is it possible for their 25 new signings, including Olly Barkley and Piri Weepu, to turn things around or will they continue to be the leagues ‘whipping’ boys? Only time will tell but it needs to happen very soon if they stand any chance to avoid the drop back to the Championship.
One team a few pundits had facing the chop this season was London Irish but they’re proving to be very tough opponents, only narrowly losing to Harlequins, Saracens and Northampton and a notable victory away to Leicester. The boys in green are never a team to underestimate and there does appear to be a ‘spark’ there which has been missing in the past.
The biggest surprise for me this season has been the mixed start from Gloucester. With signature signings such as James Hook, Richard Hibbard and John Afoa, there were high hopes of a successful campaign. But a 53-6 hammering by Northampton in the opening match of the season and then losing at home to West Country rivals Exeter, wasn’t the start the Shed faithful were expecting.
It goes without saying that this is by far the best start to the Premiership, no surprise as we are less than a year away from the Rugby World Cup. With the Autumn Internationals a month away, Stuart Lancaster has a very difficult job on his hands picking the right players for his Elite Squad – does he stick with the ‘old guard’ or gamble on some of the new boys who are throwing down the gauntlet for the right to pull on an England jersey? Experience over current performance, which would you choose? One of the main contenders has to be Semesa Rokoduguni, who has made a phenomenal start to the season – he has awareness, power and speed which has completely flummoxed his opponents but would you put your trust in him against teams such as New Zealand or Australia? It’ll be interesting to see who Lancaster selects when he announces his squad on 22 October, not an enviable task.
This year’s Autumn Internationals could be a bumpy ride for England with back-to-back matches against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia but with so much talent to choose from, confidence must be riding high in the England camp. It promises to be an amazing month of rugby and I for one cannot wait!
As always we'll be there to celebrate it all at the VU Clubhouse! For every match, the VU Clubhouse will be hosted by Victor Ubogu and Lee Mears, with a number of the England boys (both past and present) in attendance. There's no better place to be to soak up the unique atmosphere of Rugby Internationals at Twickenham, so come and join us and see for yourselves! #InvestInFun
For more information and to book online, simply click HERE or call us on 01225 788 880