Premiership Team of the Week - Round One

Premiership Team of the Week - Round One

The Premiership returned with a bang this weekend with a number of mouth-watering encounters. 

Bristol Bears got things underway with a surprise win over Bath in the opening game of the weekend before Gloucester secured a well-earned win over Northampton Saints.

A big surprise was how quickly Harlequins have improved as they claimed a 53-23 win over Sale in Paul Gustard's first game in charge. Elsewhere Waps edged Worcester while Exeter eased past Leicester Tigers before Saracens beat a gritty Newcastle Falcons side. 

We have picked our Team of the Week with after making a few tough decisions on players: 

1. Val Rapava Ruskin - Gloucester

A strong all-round performance from the Gloucester loosehead who was especially strong at scrum time.

6 carries and 10 tackles in 58 minutes showed he was no slouch around the park as well.

Mako Vunipola also got through a good amount of work for Saracens as too did Alec Hepburn.

2. Jamie George - Saracens

George was outstanding against Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

His lineouts were pinpoint and he was extremely impressive on attack in the 14th minute to finish off a superb team try.

George also stepped up when it mattered most as Saracens were down a man and under pressure from Newcastle who were just one point behind.

Special mention to Bristol's Harry Thacker who made it an extremely close call for the no.2 jersey.

3. Will Stuart - Wasps

Stuart was impressive on attack in his first start of the season making 44 running metres from 7 carries.

His scrum work was also strong seeing him beat off a few standout tightheads this weekend.

Fraser Balmain stood out on defence for Gloucester, Will Collier impressed in an improved Harlequins pack and finally the ever consistent Vincent Koch.

4. Maro Itoje - Saracens

Itoje just beats fellow England International Joe Launchbury for a place in the side.

Both players had tireless performances on attack and defence but Itoje just gets the better of the Wasps' man.

Itoje gained 31 metres from 8 carries and made 15 tackles and two turnovers.

Ollie Atkins also had a solid 66 minutes in the middle of a powerful Chiefs' pack, while Dave Atwood had a strong return to the Premiership.

5. Chris Vui -Bristol Bears 

A lively performance by Chris Vui who terrorised Bath's lineout and gave Bristol some great front foot ball.

He also got the ball out wide and linked up well with his fellow teammates extremely well. 

It wasn't all out attack for Vui as he made all 8 of his attempted tackles.  

A leaner Will Skelton was good for Saracens while Darren Barry made a match-high of 16 tackles for Worcester. 

6. Steven Luatua - Bristol Bears

Luatua was one of the best players this weekend as he captained his side to their first win of the Premiership season.

The former All Black put in a few thumping hits against Bath and forced a few penalties at key times.

A good day at the lineout completed a traditional blindside flank performance. 

Mark Wilson had a great game against Saracens as to did Chris Robshaw while Don Armand soldiered on for Exeter.

7. Matt Kvesic - Exeter Chiefs

Not a favoured starter last season, Kvesic put in a man of the match performance for Chiefs' this weekend.

The 26-year-old dotted down for a try and hit double digits in both the carries and tackles made. The flanker also beat 5 defenders and made 1 clean break. 

Sam Lewis also hit double digits in the carries and tackles made against Wasps while George Smith had a trademark game for Bristol.

8. Nathan Hughes - Wasps

A tough call between Hughes and Chiefs' no.8 Sam Simmonds. 

Both players were exceptional on attack but Hughes cracks the nod with his relentless performance against Worcester Warriors

He made a round high of 26 carries making 90 running metres and also weighed-in with 7 tackles on defence. 

9. Francois Hougaard - Worcester Warriors

A hotly contested position this weekend with a number of Premiership halfbacks putting in fine performances this weekend.

The Worcester scrumhalf claims the no.9 jersey after he put in a stellar performance, in a losing effort, for his side after what was his first pre-season in a long time.

His opposite number, Dan Robson, is amoung the number of no.9s who just miss out along with Cobus Reinach and Ben Youngs.

10. Marcus Smith - Harlequins 

Yes, Danny Cipriani was superb on his first Premiership start for Gloucester as too was Owen Farrell and the pair are unlucky to miss out but Marcus Smith marshalled Harlequins to an impressive victory over Sale Sharks.

The 19-year-old looked like a seasoned professional with a superb kicking game off the tee and out of hand and racked up 26 points. 

His only miss from the tee was a long-range penalty. Smith provided Ben Tapuai with exceptional service that the former Wallaby made the most of and got his outside backs into space with a few well-timed passes.

11. Marland Yarde - Sale Sharks 

Yet another hotly contested position this weekend with Aaron Morris, Olly Woodburn and Alex Lewington all staring in the opening round of action. 

Yarde was arguably Sale Sharks' best player in their defeat to Harlequins. The winger showed a clean pair of heels to break through Harlequins defence making 3 clean breaks.

Playing against his former side he showed off all of his skills including a few nice steps, offloads and made all of his attempted tackles.

12. Ben Tapuai - Harlequins 

Tapuai made a massive impact on his Harlequins debut this weekend dotting down for two tries. 

The former Wallaby ran great lines off the young no.10 and was solid on defence missing just one of his 10 attempted tackles.

His deadly step saw him beat 6 defenders and make 3 clean breaks while he also showed how powerful he is scoring two tries. 

Ryan Mills did well against a tough customer in Juan de Jongh while Billy Twelvetrees operated well outside of Danny Cipriani.

13. Alex Lozowski - Saracens 

Lozowski looked sharp in Saracens opening match of the season making a number of key breaks for his side which ultimately lead to tries.

His defence may come under some scrutiny after missing 3 tackles but he made up for it with a fine performance on attack.

He made 59 running metres, beat a joint game-high of 5 defenders and made 2 clean breaks. 

14. Luke Morahan - Bristol Bears 

Morahan stepped up in the absence of Charles Piutau for Bristol and was the side's most dangerous attacking weapon in the opening game of the season.

He was sensational on his Premiership debut highlighted by his incredible stats below:

Santiago Cordero also had a superb game for Exter Chiefs while David Strettle looked sharp before his second Saracens debut was cut short with an injury. 

15. Phil Dollman - Exeter Chiefs 

The Exeter Chiefs fullback rounds up our team of the week.

Dollman beat 5 defenders, made 2 clean breaks and 95 running metres as Exeter went on to claim the highest winning margin of round one.

Despite providing the blunder of the weekend Bath's Will Homer still had a good game for his side while Chris Pennell was devasting on attack for Worcester. 

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