Tries glorious tries!
Gail Davis celebrates Exeter's triumph and discovers a new condiment for your bacon butty!
Last Updated: 10/09/10 3:22pm
As the newly promoted team playing their first ever season in the premiership, the spotlight was always going to be on Exeter and didn't they justify their time in the limelight by stealing all the headlines in round one of this season's new campaign.
Head coach Rob Baxter allowed his players to do some celebrating on Saturday evening after that win over Gloucester but aware of the task ahead Gareth Steenson whose 17 points helped seal victory, decided steak and chips was about as rock and roll as he was getting.
When I went to interview Baxter on Wednesday I mentioned the similarities between his sides win and that of Blackpool's in their first Premier League game. What followed for Ian Holloway's team was a 6-0 thumping by Arsenal, next up for Exeter it's Leicester, no doubt still smarting from their opening round defeat to local rivals Northampton. With perhaps that in mind Baxter is resisting too many changes he wants to keep his sides early momentum going.
He admitted it was probably a good time to play the Tigers "it's a good way to keep my players feet on the ground, and show then exactly what the next 20 or so games are going to be like" he said with a wry smile. With Newcastle next up for the Chiefs, the sort of game you expect will define their season more so than a match against the Tigers, Exeter might be tempted to hold something back but there's no chance of that having spoken to a number of the players.
Exeter's A game victory over Bath on Monday capped a great few days for the club and suggested there is probably a bit more strength in depth that a lot of people have given them credit for.
In fine form
Exeter's result capped a brilliant opening weekend in the Premiership. There was almost twice as many tries this year as on the first round last year. The two finalists were beaten, as so often happens it took London Irish until the second half at Twickenham to remember exactly what they are suppose to be doing. When they did it looked like the swagger and sparkle was back.
Head Coach Toby Booth was delighted with the result, he believed they needed it to exorcise some of the demons of last season "the pressure externally does make you question yourself and we needed that to prove we are still a good team." No one exemplified that more than Delon Armitage who looked full of confidence and like he was back enjoying his rugby.
Northampton too looked a very formidable outfit against Leicester despite the normally reliable Stephen Myler having a nightmare afternoon with the boot. Myler wasn't the only fly half to endure a nightmare at Franklin's Garden on Sunday as Toby Flood's recurring injury nightmare struck again, this time it was his knee and it is already causing Leicester and England a selection headache.
Perhaps the decision to offload Sam Vesty to Bath was too hasty a one. At the time Leicester's fly half problems were emerging, the former Tiger was enjoying his first competitive game for his new club. Vesty ended the game with 17 points as Bath were another of the big winners of round one. Their clash with London Irish this Saturday is already looking like it could be a classic.
Sale saw off Newcastle with ease and without Mark Cueto, Matthew Tait and Charlie Hodgson, I suspect we will know a lot more about Mike Brewer's side after their match with Saracens on Sunday.
Heartbreak for England
Finally there was more heartbreak for the England women's team last Sunday, beaten for the third World Cup final in a row by New Zealand, but they put a brave face on it and were on the Sky Sports News set bright and early on Monday morning. The bacon sandwiches and tea helped them on their way and captain Catherine Spencer remains the only person I know who declined ketchup and brown sauce for marmite with her bacon butty, a truly unique lady!