es really trained the house down and deserves his opportunity, M from sfsdaf's blog

Twickenham played host to two Aviva Premiership matches on Saturday with the straight-forward win for Saracens over Worcester kicking things off, followed by Harlequins entertaining, nervy victory over Bristol. Christian Okoye Super Bowl Jersey . We were there to assess the early season form of the four sides and here are some of the key lessons learnt from the traditional Double Header.Bristol arent here to make up the numbersThey played with heart and ambition against Harlequins with Will Hurrell impressing on his debut alongside Gavin Henson, who played superbly until he was forced off through injury.Though they lost, Bristol look to have the right foundations for a Premiership campaign with the hugely experienced Jordan Crane steering things well at the back of the scrum while the brilliant Jack Lam causes all sorts of mischief at the breakdown.While they may need to bolster their squad in a manner similar to how Worcester did last season, perhaps their most important signing of the close season was their new defence coach Jonathan Thomas. The ex-Wales flanker has built a sturdy resilience in the Bristol ranks which will need to be stamped all over their gameplan if they are to retain their top-flight status.Alex Lozowski starts well for SaracensWith Owen Farrell watching on from underneath a baseball cap on the Saracens bench, it was down to young playmaker Alex Lozowski to pull the strings. Signed from Wasps in the summer, he joined Saracens with promising talent written adjacent to his name, but he has had to hit the ground running with Farrell sidelined by a back injury and Charlie Hodgson now retired.He played well against Worcester, directing the backs with aplomb and dovetailed well with Alex Goode with kicking from hand. He was on the wrong end of some rough justice from GJ Van Velze and a high shot from James Johnston but played the full 80 and looked right at home.Ben Teo needs a platform to shineWith Worcesters game plan focused on gaining territory through kicking, there were seldom opportunities for Teo to get hands on ball. His role was more focused around hard-hitting in defence -- Jamie George felt the full Teo force -- and restricting the space for Saracens backs.If Worcester are to improve on last seasons 11th-placed finish then they will need to add other dimensions to their approach. This was most likely one tailored to cope with the champions, and only when they play a more expansive game -- one where the ball gets beyond the fly-half -- will Teo be able to showcase his attacking potential.Joe Marchants mixed afternoonThe 20-year-old is a talent and this run-out at Twickenham will be a key stepping stone in his development. He has the potential to rival Jonathan Joseph for the England outside centre berth and his brilliant finish in the first-half of Harlequins nervy win over Bristol showcased his wonderful footwork.Then came the slip for Ryan Edwards try where he succumbed to the slippery Twickenham turf and looked on despairingly as the Bristol winger dotted the ball down. But the potential is there, hes on Englands radar and this should be the campaign where he makes his breakthrough.Tom Varndell closes in on Mark Cuetos recordWhen Varndell dropped down to the Championship with Bristol, Cueto -- the Premierships record try-scorer Cueto -- have breathed a sigh of relief. His 90-try haul from his time at Sale is still the most scored in Englands top flight but Varndell is back with Bristol and his first-half score takes his tally to 86.Varndells finishing will be key for Bristol if they are to survive this season and he knows the Premiership like the back of his hand. However, he will want to forget his momentary lapse of concentration as he attempted to charge down a Ruaridh Jackson penalty.Forward pass ambiguity shows its ugly headNew rules were being enforced by the referees at Twickenham with officials cracking down on back chat as well as defenders kicking the ball out of the scrum-halfs hands as they prepare to pick it up from the base of the breakdown. But another needs sorting: the troublesome, debatable forward pass.In Friday nights spectacular match at Kingsholm, Leicesters first try through Manu Tuilagi looked for all the world as if there was a forward pass in the build-up. In Saturdays second match at Twickenham, the pass leading up to Tusi Pisis try looked suspect and then came Marland Yardes inside ball for Marchants sprint home which again seemed to be forward -- certainly the ex-pros on social media believed so.Referee Luke Pearce referred it to the TMO, Rowan Kitt, who said he didnt have a clear angle to show the referee. Pearce gave the benefit of doubt to the attacking side, calling on the directive that Yardes hands didnt appear to be pointed forwards, but ask 100 supporters on the street and 99 would say it went forward. Tony Gonzalez Super Bowl Jersey . Paul Pierce couldnt believe he missed at the end. Young scored a season-high 26 points to spark a huge effort from the leagues most productive bench, and Los Angeles beat the Brooklyn Nets 99-94 on Wednesday night after blowing a 27-point lead. Chad Henne Super Bowl Jersey . Emery skated the length of the ice and fought an unwilling Holtby during the third period of the Flyers 7-0 loss Friday night in Philadelphia. He was given 29 penalty minutes, including a game misconduct. But Emery did not face even a disciplinary hearing with NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan because rules 46. .S. Open champion Justin Rose birdied the first hole with a blind shot he hit to a foot of the pin, and he stayed in front Tuesday until he completed a 4-under 67 for a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner in PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Tonga were banging down the door for Lopeti Timani to play for them but the 124kg powerhouse will become a Wallaby instead after Australia coach Michael Cheika came calling in the nick of time.Timani will make his international debut from the bench in Saturday nights Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Perth.It continues a proud rugby streak for his family.His older brothers Sitaleki and Sione also played Test rugby.Sitaleki notched 18 Tests for the Wallabies between 2011 and 2013, while Sione featured eight times for Tonga between 2008 and 2012.Wallabies great and current Tonga coach Toutai Kefu had been pushing hard to convince Timani to play for his country of berth.He was seriously weighing up the offer, with the chance to play for Tonga at the 2019 World Cup a huge attraction.But the 25-year-old is now intent on carving out a successful Wallabies career after finally being picked to play for his adopted nation.Kefu has been trying to talk to me the last five, six months or so, said Timani, who moved to Australia seven years ago.I was happy to play for Tonga.I was just waiting for this to see what happened with the Australian Rugby Union.If Im not part of the squad, Id try and play for Tonga at the end of the year and maybe move overseas at the end of next years season.Now Im a Wallaby, so its exciting.The Tongan-born behemoth, who can play lock or back row, admits feelinng nervous ahead of his maiden Test. Demarcus Robinson Super Bowl Jersey. He wont be the only debutant on Saturday night, with prop Tom Robertson also to be unleashed off the bench.Winger Henry Speight was the unlucky player cut from the extended bench on Friday.If both Timani and Robertson take the field, it will bring the total number of Wallaby debutants this year to nine.Wallabies captain Stephen Moore said the squad needed fresh faces following last years World Cup and was excited to see Timani and Robertson in action.Lopetis been in the group now for a few months and hes really trained the house down and deserves his opportunity, Moore said.Tom had a great season with the Waratahs.Hes been juggling his medical studies as well. Hes had the head down all week studying every time he hasnt been training.Hes got a big exam next week. You probably dont see too much of that these days but its great to see it.The Wallabies have won 11 of their past 12 matches against Argentina, including their semi-final showdown at last years World Cup.Argentina have promised to turn up the heat on Wallabies playmakers Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley.The duo played a key role in last weeks 23-17 win over South Africa in Brisbane and theyve been selected once again to fill the important 10-12 roles. ' ' '

Previous post     
     Next post
     Blog home

The Wall

No comments
You need to sign in to comment