The Offload's Top 3 Aviva Premiership Performers from Round 6
October 11. 2017
The first quarter of the 2017/18 Aviva Premiership season is over and we’ve got a couple of familiar faces occupying the top 2 spots in Saracens & Exeter. At the other end of the table, Worcester look in a spot of bother, five points off 11th placed London Irish.
Wins for Sarries and the Chiefs saw them move up to one and two respectively before the European break, while Northampton’s loss to Gloucester saw them slip from first to third. London Irish put up a brave fight in Round 6, losing to Leicester by a single point, while Harlequins were too strong for Sale. It wasn’t an easy task to pick out just 3 standout performers from the weekend, but after much debate here at the Offload, we’ve whittled it down to a trio of the big boys in the pack.
Talk about taking your opportunity when it comes! With try scoring machine Thomas Waldrom out due to injury, Exeter needed someone to step up and Simmonds has done just that. The Chiefs Academy product is a completely new breed of back row players, he’s big, he’s explosive and he’s very quick! After a week out due to a head knock, the Chiefs no.8 was back with a bang against Newcastle, running for 68 metres over his 9 carries and scoring a brilliant individual try (his 5th of the season). The 22-year old is already being tipped for higher honours and if he keeps playing like he is, don’t be surprised if he gets an England call-up sooner rather than later.
With Francois Louw away with the Springboks, Saturday was Zach Mercer’s chance to impress the crowd at the Rec and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Two impressive performances in two games means it’s going to be near impossible for Todd Blackadder to pick a starting back row when Louw does return. Mercer was outstanding for the second week running, completing 11 tackles, running for 45 metres and if you haven’t seen his ‘through the legs’ dummy pass and break to set up Ben Tapuai’s try then you need to stop what you’re doing right now and go and check it out… Carlos Spencer eat your heart out!
It was a good day all round for Sarries on Sunday as they brushed Wasps aside just a week before they start the defence of their Champions Cup crown. And whilst there were a number of standout performances, one man went above and beyond them all. It’s not often you see a front rower get on the scoresheet, but hooker Jamie George managed to get himself on it three times, scoring his first (and probably last) hat-trick of his professional career. It was another solid shift from the British & Irish Lion, who also ran for 27 metres over his 5 carries and completed 11 tackles. It’s only a matter of time before George gets his hands on the England no.2 jersey, but will it be as soon the Autumn Internationals? Well, that’s entirely up to Eddie Jones!