5 things we learnt from round 12 of the Gallagher Premiership

Worcester’s determination and belief in the team got them the win against Bath

Being 3-19 down at half-time in front of a home crowd didn’t instil much hope into neither Worcester supporters or players, however, the second half performance that they produced was a collective of team belief and determination. Bath were down to 11 men when Worcester produced a winning try on the 97thminute – a time that is rarely seen in the oval ball game. Although relentless penalties were given without a penalty try awarded, Worcester never showed any signs of them surrendering for the win that they needed to keep their Premiership survival hopes alive. This style of play and sheer grit show by Worcester in the last 20 minutes of the match is something that they have lacked this half of the season, and as they head into Europe this weekend, the will be eager to carry their new winning mentality forward with them. 

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Tigers didn’t have an option to lose at the weekend 

Leicester’s win against Gloucester at Welford Road wasn’t necessarily expected but they almost didn’t have the option to lose. It’s been no secret that Geordan Murphey’s side have lost their roar this season, with senior players speaking out about the team ‘not being good enough’. Nonetheless, their win against Gloucester showed hopes of a ‘Leicester of old’ with the style of play and their performance that they gave being arguably the best game they have played all season. Gloucester have started to struggle without Cipriani, (who will make his return from injury this weekendagainst Munster) and it showed in the way that George Ford played. Ford’s club form hasn’t been at its best for a couple of seasons but he looked a lot more comfortable on the field of play and the team all looked a lot calmer. The win might be the shift in momentum that Leicester needed and here’s hoping that they will be able to carry that through to the end of the season. Whether you are a Tigers supporter or not, seeing an established club suffer the way that Leicester have this season isn’t nice for anyone. 

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Sale’s win shouldn’t be overshadowed by Saracens loosing 

Reading match reports I have been astounded in how little Sale have been mentioned – one report I read didn’t even mention Sale at all. Saracens lost, but Sale beat them, and with that, beat them very well. The Manchester club out-played the reigning Champions who looked rather lacklustre on the pitch. Farrell’s decision to kick the ball out at full-time with only being six points behind rather than trying to scrape a win shows how good Sale were at playing them at their own game. The Curry brothers, both with new contracts that see them stay at the club until 2023, played very good dynamic rugby with both of them offering something different to each side of the scrum. Sale look to be in contention for a top four place given the way they have been playing this season and if they are capable of beating the reigning champions they are becoming side to be reckoned with.

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Commitment to the club shirt should be at the forefront of player’s minds

Austin Healey spoke about whether Wille Le Roux was fully committed to the Wasps shirt at the weekend or if his mind was elsewhere and in reply, Wasps DOR Dai Youngs said: “To be totally blunt, if he didn’t want to be here, he wouldn’t be here,”

Nevertheless, this made me think about the commitment a player has to their club. I am a great believer that when you step onto the field you should go and play with the attitude of playing like it is the last time you are ever going to play rugby because ultimately one day it will be – whether it be through choice or not. With the World Cup just under a year away, a lot of players will have aspirations of making international squads and representing their country. Nevertheless, the way you get picked for a World Cup or any international campaign is by playing well, and if you’re not being committed to every breakdown or tackle then you are less likely to be selected. With new contracts being signed and players leaving clubs it can be easy for a player to take their foot off the pedal before they leave and for me, if they do this then they are no use to the club they are currently at. Until you leave your club, you play for your club that should always be a player’s main philosophy.

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Wasps are a side that need playmakers to be consistently good

The return of Joe Launchbury this weekend and Dan Robson last weekend, it is apparent that Wasps need their key players to perform in a way that we expect them to. Wasps have been struggling without their big names – including Jimmy Godperth, who is still out on injury. The Coventry club are a side that are good without their big names but show no threat when they’re not there. Matt Mullan has left the club with immediate effect and some senior players are starting to sign new contracts elsewhere. Wasps need to start to build around players that will be at the club for the next few seasons, instead of relying on the ‘golden players’ that won’t be around for much longer. 

Juan de Jongh has been a fantastic signing for Wasps and with him set to be at the club for at least another season and with international duty not quite on the horizon, he is a player they can start to properly build around without the fear of losing him. It will be really interesting to see who Wasps sign and loose for next season and how that will look to shape how they play going forward into the 19/20 season.

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