Saracens crushed arch-rivals Exeter, Bath slipped from the bottom of the table, London Irish’s miserable record at Gloucester continued, impressive Sale humiliated Leicester and Northampton emphatically ended a four-match losing streak. But who were the featured artists of the weekend?
15. George Furbank (Northampton Saints)
Luke James topped 10 tackles and racked up over 150 yards with the ball in hand for Sale. Furbank just pulls it off, thanks to a 17-point display and one season at fly half.
14. Tom O’Flaherty (Sale Sharks)
Bristling intensity is O’Flaherty’s unique selling point and he has settled in very well with Alex Sanderson. He ended Sale’s first try, a flowing play, five minutes before halftime.
13. Sam James (Sale Sharks)
It is no coincidence that the top two clubs in the Premiership have extended their phase of play this season. Sam James, a skilled distributor, has been instrumental in Sale’s improvements.
12. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
A tourist with England last summer in Australia, Dingwall is a well-rounded and resourceful hub. Looking at Richard Cockerill, he will have been impressed with his part in taking down Harlequins.
11. Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints)
Forget the number. Freeman roamed the field to wreak havoc, cutting luscious lines and distributing with class. Hooked on Eddie Jones’ last game in charge of England, he’ll have more proof.
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Here’s a potentially unpopular take: Farrell’s first assist attempt, a sumptuous hit for Sean Maitland, was just as clever as his play for Alex Lewington later on.
9. Gus Warr (Sale Sharks)
Ben Spencer and Ben Meehan guided Bath and Gloucester to decisive victories, but Warr is enjoying a marvelous campaign. He delivered grunting, quick serve and accurate kicking against the Tigers.
1. Simon McIntyre (Sale Sharks)
Any loose heads that get past Dan Cole in the standing piece exchanges have made a good start and McIntyrne complemented the robust scrum with positive contributions around the field.
2.George McGuigan (Gloucester)
New club, similar departure for McGuigan. He came off the bench at Kingsholm and recorded seven tackles and 11 carries in less than an hour. Newcastle’s Jamie Blamire was excellent again.
3. Marco Riccioni (Saracens)
Italy will be fascinating to watch over the next year and Riccioni showed what a shrewd move it was for Saracens to bring him in, scoring a try and completing 14 tackles.
4. Cobus Wiese (Sale Sharks)
Jonny Hill burst through the Tigers maul for a tone-setting turnover. His teammate in the engine room, Wiese, underscored his resourcefulness as a lanky link, throwing 12 passes.
5. Dave Attwood (Bathroom)
Any of the Bath locks could have taken this slot. Fergus Lee-Warner was relentless. Attwood wins by deflecting Ted Hill over the try line and combining with the same teammate for a late tackle.
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Ted Hill was excellent for Bath, but both flanking points have to go to the Curry twins. Together, they were exceptional and terrified Leicester.
7. Ben Curry (Selling Sharks)
Together, Sale’s doubles racked up 127 yards, threw 20 passes and completed 22 tackles, as well as forcing a few turnovers. Angus Scott-Young was superb for the Saints.
8. Josh Bayliss (Bathroom)
Moving back from the bottom and up to eighth, Bath certainly look to be laying down some steel. Bayliss, consistently effective in most areas, is a major presence.