5 things we learnt from round 11 of the Gallagher Premiership

Bristol’s significant win helps to secure premiership survival 

Bristol’s win over bottom place Newcastle increases their survival rate come the end of the season. They sit 10thin the league, one place above Leicester and are level with the Midlands club on games won. A solid second half performance from Bristol got them the bonus point victory – something that could play a fundamental part in the closing stages of the competition. Bristol’s attitude to the premiership is admirable, given their arrival at the start of the season, and with the new contracts that players have already signed, they look set to have an admirable team if they stay in the Premiership next season. 

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Gloucester suffering without Cipriani 

Gloucester’s heavy defeat to Sale at Kingsholm was uncharacteristic particularly due to their impressive start in the match. However, Sale took control before half-time to put them seven points up at the break and continued their form into the second half. Gloucester still sit third with Sale seven points behind them in forth, but it is apparent that The Cherry and Whites are starting to suffer without their playmaker Danny Cipriani. Cipriani who this week got called into the England squad gathering, is currently out for six weeks following a muscle tear. He has dominated the way that Gloucester’s back-line operates since his arrival at the club this season. His attacking style of ruby has suited them well and helped move up the table to third – a place they will want to stay with or without Cipriani. 

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Chiefs loose again away from home

Northampton’s form is on the rise recently as they stake their claim for not only top flight European Rugby next season but for a potential place in the top four at the end of this season. Their display against an Exeter side fresh from beating the champions showed no fear as they came away with all five points after the eighty minutes. Exeter did have to settle for two losing bonus points following a last second try. Exeter being beaten by Northampton isn’t expected, nor is it a game that Exeter would have been apprehensive going into. Their form in the last few weeks has slightly dipped. Yes, they won against Saracens last weekend, however, their last few games including Europe hasn’t shown their best rugby, or arguably where they want to be this season. There is little doubt that they will still be in the top four at the end of the season, but wins on the road must be won to guarantee it. 

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Ward overshadowed Harlequins big win

Harlequins got the first points of the game in under 50 seconds however, hooker, Dave Ward’s early yellow card following stamping on Wasps’ flanker Youngs’ ankle was only the start to his downfall after referee Maxwell-Keys missed the spit that followed the stamp. However, he has escaped a lengthy ban for the spitting offence following the RFU found insignificant evidence to ban him for the behaviour. The offence warrants a range of bans spanning from 4 weeks to anything up to a year for the more serious of spitting offences.

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Bath keep top six ambitions alive following their win over Tigers 

Bath battled to a convincing victory at The Rec against Tigers, moving up to fifth place in the Premiership as they look to keep their top six aspirations alive. Bath’s domination in territory and possession in the first half loaded the pressure onto Tigers who started to struggle. The win gives Bath back-to-back wins at the end of 2018, after beating Wasps before Christmas. Though they struggled at the start of the season, Bath have backed themselves constantly and believed in what they are doing and the results are now starting to pay off.

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