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Saints and Sinners: The weekend’s talking points

Smiling assassin: Tommy Seymour had an extremely happy day at Scotstoun. (Photo: Inpho) Rugby World

Tries were still plentiful, as were away wins, as the second weekend of Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12 fixtures were completed. Who played a starring role and who fluffed their lines?


The Saints

Four more from Seymour
Scoring two tries against champions Connacht last week seemed like a good start to the season for Tommy Seymour, but the Glasgow Warriors wing trumped that in style on Saturday when he ran in four tries against Leinster to help his team to a 33-25 Guinness Pro12 win.

He raced in up the left wing for the first try, intercepted a pass from young Leinster fly-half Joey Carbery for the second, then picked up a loose pass from Noel Reid and scooted in under the posts for his hat-trick try just two minutes after his second, to put Glasgow 26-22 up.

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Seymour rounded off his contribution after the Warriors turned down a kickable penalty and opted to scrum instead, Henry Pyrgos broke from the back and Seymour cut a great line to take the ball at his shoulder and power through a tackle from Jamison Gibson-Park to score under the posts.

Seymour only scored two tries in eight Pro12 appearances last season. He has six from his first two matches this term and with places on the British and Irish Lions tour to play for, must be delighted with his start.

Roko runs riot
Bath scored eight tries as they put Newcastle Falcons to the sword with a 58-5 Aviva Premiership win and three of those tries belonged in one way or another to Semisa Rokoduguni.

He scored two of them, after 35 and 40 minutes, but earlier in the game the wing created a penalty try when he sprinted from his own 22, chipped and chased up the right and forced Niki Goneva to slap the ball over the dead ball line to prevent a try being scored.

Attwood at the double: Dave Attwood is pretty happy to have scored. (Photo: Getty Images) Rugby World

Kahn Fotuali’i had a magnificent game, setting up a try for Matt Banahan with a lovely chip and creating so much of Bath’s attacking play and Dave Attwood also grabbed two tries to help the west country side to their biggest league win in 15 years.

Corking play from the Blues
Tom James and Dan Fish took many of the plaudits after Cardiff Blues’ 24-23 win over Munster in Cork, but several of their team-mates played key roles in securing this famous victory.

James scored two tries and Fish touched down what turned out to be the winning score, but that crucial 67th minute try was created by great play from replacement Matthew Morgan, who fielded a kick on his own ten metre line and offloaded superbly to Rey Lee-Lo. The centre broke then passed inside to replacement scrum-half Lloyd Williams, who provided the scoring pass for Fish.

Another benchman, Steve Shingler, kicked the difficult conversion to put the Blues 24-20 up with 12 minutes to go and hooker Kristian Dacey made a crucial try-saving tackle on his opposite number as Munster repeatedly drove at the line in the dying minutes.

On his toes: Jimmy Gopperth (centre) kept Leicester on the back foot. (Photo: Getty Images) Rugby World

Jimmy be good
Jimmy Gopperth had a terrific game for Wasps in their 34-22 win over Leicester Tigers. The No 12 created his team’s first try when he tackled Luke Hamilton and stripped him of the ball close to halfway, broke blind up the left and put in a sublime chip with the outside of his boot, which Christian Wade chased and picked up skilfully to score.

Gopperth grabbed a try of his own at the death, when he was driven over by the forwards to seal the Aviva Premiership win for Wasps. Danny Cipriani might be wearing the No 10 jersey for Wasps, but it’s Gopperth who is stealing the playmaking limelight at the moment.

Double doubles
Rhys Webb played a crucial role in the Ospreys’ excellent 32-11 win in their Guinness Pro12 clash at Connacht, scoring two tries and managing the game very well.

On the front foot: Rhys Webb kept the Ospreys on the attack. (Photo: Huw Evans Agency) Rugby World

Another Test star to grab a brace of tries this weekend was Sean Maitland, who helped Saracens win 34-13 at Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership. For the first, Maitland had to execute a brilliant diving catch to latch onto a low flipped pass as it headed for the left-hand touchline in the corner, while his second came after great handling from his team-mates.

Billy Vunipola was in storming form for Saracens.

A cut above
If Leinster’s players have an unfamiliar look about them in the early part of this season, it is for the best of reasons. A  group of them took part in a “shave or dye” campaign at the dawn of the new campaign to raise funds for the family of departing defence coach Kurt McQuilkin, who returned to his native New Zealand for family reasons.

Players headed for the barbers and either had their hair bleached or shaved, or a combination of both. Regular readers will know I like to take the mickey out of players for their more ridiculous haircuts, but on this occasion I have nothing but praise for the Leinster stars who have made themselves look (in some cases) more than a bit daft, for a good cause.

Hair-raising: Dave Kearney is one of many Leinster players with a new look. (Photo: Inpho) Rugby World

The Sinners

Matt makes a mess of it
Last week Gloucester let slip a seemingly unassailable lead against Leicester Tigers to turn a probably home win into a defeat.

This week it was the Cherry and Whites who had to come from behind and they battled back from 20-9 down to 23-23 at Worcester, with two minutes to go, before a classic case of white-line fever from Matt Kvesic denied them a win.

Gloucester were going through the phases inside the Warriors’ 22, looking for a winning try and playing against 14 men after Alafoti Fa’osiliva had been sent off. Kvesic received a pass and charged towards the line on the left, but instead of sending the ball on to either Henry Purdy or Jacob Rowan, who were lined up outside him just a few metres from the line and with only one defender nearby, the openside opted to take the ball up into a two-man tackle and so butchered a perfect try-scoring opportunity.

Gloucester continued to attack before Rowan finally conceded a penalty at one of the many breakdowns and Worcester cleared their lines to close out a draw.

Kicks cost Williams
Liam Williams made a couple of bad mistakes during the Scarlets’ 20-9 loss in Edinburgh, costing his team a try on both occasions.

First the Wales full-back just failed to gather a cross-field kick from Duncan Weir after sprinting to reach it, and Michael Allen slid onto the loose ball and touched down for a try, which put Edinburgh 13-6 up.

Later in the first half Williams attempted a clearance kick from his own 22 but drilled the ball low and straight into an Edinburgh player, Magnus Bradbury scooped up the intercept and raced in for a try to give the home side a 20-6 lead at half-time.

The Scarlets have lost their first two matches, making this their worst start to a Pro12 season, but they can be sure Williams will have better days.

Tom Varndell cost his team a try in the Aviva Premiership when he missed a crucial tackle on Ken Pisi midway through the first half and let the Northampton man score. The Saints went on to beat Bristol 32-10.

Where did he go? Tom Varndell is left trailing in Ken Pisi's wake. (Photo: Getty Images) Rugby World

Red zone
Despite being sent off for knocking out Mariano Galarza with a leading arm, Alafoti Fa’osiliva is not among my Sinners as while what he did had severe consequences for the Gloucester lock, players drive into contact with a leading arm all the time and are not punished.

However, Harlequins replacement Matthew Luamanu is on the list for his clumsy no-arms tackle on Josh Beaumont, which earned him a red card. His right shoulder connected with Beaumont’s head and put the Sale man out of the game and there was nothing about Luamanu’s challenge which resembled a legal tackle.