5 things we learnt from round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership

Ollie Thorley is England’s next superstar

The battle of Thorley v Strettle on Friday night was the battle of England past and England future and the future certainly seems bright. Thorley is not only fast but strong enough to hand off forward defenders and is the perfect fit to the new type of winger that is being seen across world rugby. He offers something new to the English attacking line if Eddie Jones was to select him. His ability to finish tries regardless of how far from the line he is shows what a talent he can be with his professional rugby career only just taking off. 

He fits into Gloucester’s game plan extremely well and is one of those players who they can very easily plan plays off of. If he continues playing the way that he is, it looks very likely he will feature in the World Cup later this year.

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Newcastle are almost certain of premiership relegation 

After their standout season this time last year, Newcastle Falcons are almost certain of relegation, following yet another loss in the competition, this time being to second place Exeter. They never seemed to start to get going this season and failed to find any form. Their attack although has been in good in places with the likes of Snoti Snoti being a light in the darkness, however collectively they are failing to secure tries, wins and loosing bonus points when they are being presented. They have slipped back a good few seasons in terms of form and are nowhere near the side that they had become last season.

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Wasps have been one of the most inconsistent teams this season 

After beating Bristol away from home last weekend, a home game fixture against Sale would appear the perfect opportunity for carrying some winning momentum forward to their game at the Richo Arena. Although they have had a turbulent season they are still joint third place with number of games won, which just proves how close this season has been.

There is no mistaking that Wasps have really struggled without their international and injured players, however, their squad depth may need to be something to focus on in off-season to avoid the same problem occurring with players not competing at the same standard as those who were injured. 

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Harlequins could easily make top four 

Harlequins this season have shone under Paul Gustard since he took over as head coach and they have quietly been building themselves up an extremely good platform to be contenders for one of the top four places this season.

With the likes of Joe Marler, Chirs Robshaw and Mike Brown not being selected for England either through the retirement of international rugby or current form it allows Harlequins to really benefit from the experience that they bring. With the likes of Marcus Smith learning under the talented players, it can only be a positive for Harlequins to be able to fully structure play over players who are almost certain to be in the squad. Quins currently sit third in the Premiership table and do face some tough competition over the next few fixtures, however even if they are not coming away with the win they are always looking for the loosing bonus or try bonus point, which come the end of the season could prove crucial as to where they finish.

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Leicester are in fear of not making top flight European rugby next season

They missed out on top four last year and this time around top-flight European rugby might be a miss for Tigers. They have won just five games this season, but have a points difference of -83. They have had an extremely underperforming season this year and a lot of it can be put down to off field decisions however, with the talent that Tigers have they really should not be sat in ninth place after 14 rounds. 

They do have many players out on international duty, however, they are still struggling when they can put out a full squad. If Tigers don’t manage to make top six this season, then I think that serious questions will need to be asked of the capability of the backroom and boardroom staff because for an English premiership side so historic as Leicester Tigers they need to be in top flight European rugby.

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