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The 6 Nations is finally over and normal service is about to resume. This Saturday we return to last season’s least favourite venue (according to the end of season poll), the London Stadium (once the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium but now home to West Ham Utd). So we all have to make our way to Stratford somehow (great because there are no direct trains from Herts – everything is going via Seven Sisters wouldn’t you know), walk about a mile from the station to the stadium, queue up for ages to get in, pay a fortune for indifferent food and drink and take our binoculars to watch a rugby match in an athletic’s stadium. Why do they do this to us? Ah well, c’est la vie!
SAINTS GAIN MUCH NEEDED SILVERWARE
Rain, high winds, even hail, were the backdrop as I motored the 90 miles to my favourite away ground. The black clouds loomed over the lift tower as I got my first glimpse of it from about ten miles away. Nothing to encourage my spirits thus far, and indeed I was regretting my decision to leave the full waterproofs at home. However, the fickle weather decided to lay on a sunny, but windy afternoon for the actual rugby, to be enjoyed by a capacity attendance, 15,249.
CHURCH'S ON SUNDAY
Parallels may be drawn between Match Officials and the various incarnations of our domestic cup. Neither are widely loved especially by losing sides who so often lay blame at their door (competence/format), both have a key role in our game, and many fans think they know of better alternatives despite an often patchy understanding of the true nature of their function!
BOGGED DOWN IN BATH
OK, lets ignore the furore this week in relation to potential breaches of the salary cap regulations (thank you Austin Healy for the defence though!) and concentrate on the rugby. Bath have had some hard results with recent losses in the final stages of the last three games so I am expecting them to have some form of reaction for the visiting champions. Its excellent conditions for a fantastic attacking running game… wait, no its absolutely teaming it down and the conditions are awful ! This may not be pretty game and possibly not the conditions for attractive running attacking rugby.
Sarries put the hex on Saints
In olden times, the hex was a six-sided charm erected over the doorway at home to ward off the possible entry of malign spirits. In modern times, the hex is a six-try run-out at Allianz Park to remind Saints that their missionary endeavours can be warded off as well.
WILL THE SAINTS GO MARCHING ON?
Saturday sees the visit from our old friends from up the M1, Northampton Saints. We’ve not seen too much of each other this season – funny how these things go! Last season we were all over each other, meeting up in the Premiership and the European Cup. Saints were probably glad to see the back of their old mukkers as they ended up conceding 50 points to Sarries on each of the 4 occasions.
A BONUS POINT GAINED
Well I can say that it is with great trepidation that I looked forward to this match. After the excellent Gloucester win last week over then table toppers Exeter, they would be riding high on confidence and looking forward to welcoming us as current table toppers. More fears that we are missing ten (?) of our first 23 to international duties……..
WAY OUT WEST
Somewhere in the bowels of Premier Rugby there sits a soothsayer. How else would the fixture list evolve in quite the way it does. Last Friday Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs visited Kingsholm. By Saturday evening they had lost top spot. This Friday Premiership leaders Saracens visit Kingsholm. Will the same fate befall them too?
THE CAMEL CLOBBERS THE TIGER CUBS
Back to the day job then and a late substitution for your reporter as unfortunately Innings had to attend to family duties. This week’s visitors were Leicester Tigers – the last team to beat Sarries in the Premiership at Allianz almost exactly a year ago. So a score to settle then for Sarries and momentum to be maintained for Tigers.
EYE OF THE TIGER
This weekend sees the return of The Gallagher Premiership after a somewhat extended break! The last game was on 4th Jan when we were soundly beaten by Sale Sharks up at the A J Bell – gosh that seems a lifetime ago! Just to remind everyone of the status quo – Sarries sit in second place in the GP, 4 points behind Exeter Chiefs. Both teams have won 10 out of 12 matches but Chiefs have accrued 4 more bonus points (worth a win that!).