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Posted 11/10/2021 in English Premiership by Host a Fan

A Licence to Thrill

A Licence to Thrill

A Licence to Thrill

With epic comebacks, games going down to the last kick of the match and the game of the season so far, the Premiership was given a licence to thrill in the week that 007's latest film was released to much fanfare. 

Here's our Bond-inspired review of Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership.


With the Little N' Large BT Sport punditry duo of Bayfield and Healey, convening at The Stoop for a rerun of last season's historic Play-off semi final, the opening game of the weekend was truly given a licence to thrill. And boy did it deliver. The Bears headed to The Stoop on the prowl for Harlequins blood to shake off the spectre of their Premiership semi-final defeat. They came out of the blocks like a Bond villain hunting for his unwitting victim and were rewarded with almost a point a minute, up 21 points to nothing in under half an hour with tries for Joe Joyce, Henry Purdy and Charles Piutau, all converted by the Bears' Callum Sheedy. 

After a swashbuckling start of rugby of the highest order, Quins were shaken and then, stirred. Stirred into superhero action, they responded with a Louis (great name) Lynagh try before the interval to set up a Hollywood second half. We expected big things. The BT Sport crew bigged it up and boy, did it deliver. Eight tries (yes, eight). Forty five unanswered points and one yellow card. 

If that wasn’t enough for the headline writers, the tries included a first Premiership try for Will Collier, at the one hundred and thirty fifth time of asking. In pure Bond style, he threw the Bears a scent with a deft dummy and darted for the line. History was made as he broke the longest ever run in the league without scoring a try. If that wasn't enough, the second half also saw an individual try of the highest order thanks to the ever-promising Marcus Smith, who spotted a gap, kicked, and darted through like an Aston Martin squeezing through the tightest of gaps in a high speed chase. Sensational stuff and a blockbuster opener to the weekend, worthy of the Friday nights under the lights.

Quins's Will Collier scored his first Premiership try on his 135th appearance 

 Fans could be forgiven for wanting Moore of the same. Could Saturday’s matches deliver? 

Fittingly, the pick of Saturday’s action was to be found in the heart of spy country, Gloucestershire, where the home side shared 65 points with their visitors, Sale Sharks. As in their season-opener vs Bath, the Shark’s fate came down to the last kick of the game but this time, they had the chance to poach all of the points as Tom Curtis kicked for a conversion at the death with just a point separating the two sides. History repeated itself as the kick was agonisingly missed, but this time the Sharks were frustrated, rather than relieved, meaning the Cherry and Whites held on for the win. The Sharks swam home hungry.

The pick of Saturday's action fittingly came in Gloucestershire, the heart of spy country

With three wins from three, Leicester Tigers headed to the league’s newest HQ, the Brentford Community stadium to face London Irish. The match was neck and neck for so long, with Paddy Jackson and George Ford exchanging kicks. Ford proved to be the man with the golden boot as he kicked his side into a late lead with a view to a killing the game off once and for all, meaning Borthwick makes Tigers history as the first Head Coach to start the season with four wins from four. With the Northampton Saints chasing down their necks and not playing until Sunday, Borthwick and Co were hoping that they'd be left to die another day. 

Meanwhile, as they headed to the capital on Her Majesty's Service, Newcastle Falcons continued their promising start to the season in an engaging first half which saw Mike Brown score his first Falcons try, rubbing shoulders with the post pad as he squeezed through from close range. It wasn’t to be, however, as they were pegged back by the power of the Saracens pack, eventually going down 37-23 at the StoneX stadium.

The Exeter Chiefs performance at Sandy Park was somewhat more recognisable than their changed kit. 

At Sandy Park, Exeter had a view to a kill and were back to their best, proving that diamonds really are forever in their comfortable victory over Worcester Warriors. Baxter’s men were somewhat more recognisable than their limited edition blue NHS-inspired kits as they built up a 42 point lead,knocking the living daylights out of their beleaguered visitors. Santiago Cordero and Sam Simmonds scored two tries each whilst Henry Slade played the role of Goldfoot rather than Goldfinger, kicking five conversions.

Continuing the gold theme were the Northampton Saints who headed to Coventry with a Golden eye on victory against the gold & black Wasps. The hosts survived a contentious referee’s decision when Gabe Oghre was given just a yellow when he wrapped his arm around a Saints neck midway through the second half. Unperturbed, Wasps held firm throughout as Oghre only lived twice and returned to see his side maintain and then extend their lead. The travelling Saints’ scored a late try to claim a losing bonus point, which may provide a quantum of solace as they head into an extended break with no fixture next weekend.

With Northampton Saints’s halo slipping, Leicester and Quins remain the only unbeaten sides after four rounds, although the west-Londoners have played a match less than their midlands rivals. 

With thrills-aplenty, fast paced action and no shortage of storylines, this Premiership season is shaping up to be a Hollywood Blockbuster in the making. Be glad it’s not for your eyes only.

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