Kiwis – Todd blackadder and Chris Boyd
Both coaches are winners of the prestigious super rugby with dominant New Zealand franchises but life in the cold and wet conditions of England hasn’t been smooth for men held at such high standards.
Chris Boyd has endured one win in four games of disappointing conclusions with Northampton Saints who have constantly shown dominance only to let the results wither just before the final whistle. With recruits such as Wales fly half Dan Biggar and England senior James Haskell, something’s got to give otherwise the pressure cooker seems to be turning up a notch every weekend.
Todd Blackadder has been in the premiership a while longer, having arrived last season but has had a mixed bag of results for his team. However the sun seems to be beaming rays of light at the Rec (home to Bath rugby) as they dismantled Harlequins in their last game. A stint of one loss, one draw and two wins shows a sudden turn of fortunes for the blue and white outfit.
Saracens set the standard
Often criticized for their conservative style, the black and red of Saracens remain the trend setters in the league. After 4 game weeks, they are the only team with a perfect 20 points, amassing all points possible from their games. They had to endure uncharacteristic slow starts in their first three games but brushed that off in their latest dismantling of Gloucester rugby – stamping their mark as they dominated from start to finish despite having less position.
New recruit; Alex Lewington has been the star man with 5 tries to his name early in the season as Director Of Rugby Mark McCall has made sure to rotate and give every one a chance before kick off of the Champions Cup.
Leicester Tigers results not reflecting their performances
England’s most successful traditional rugby powerhouse has endured some torrid seasons in recent years – a wave of change this season with management adjustments and an addition of new players coupled with the return to full fitness of crowd favorites such as Manu Tuilagi.
Despite the apparent revolution at Welford road, the results in the first 4 outings haven’t done justice to their on field displays. More exciting times seem to be ahead, orchestrated by half backs Ben Youngs and George Ford; for now however the tigers lack the finishing touch to get the desired points. The season remains long and play off places are still very open but there will definitely be a desperation in getting back to winning ways so as to emulate previous Leicester tigers sides that brought 10 premiership trophies to the club, the most among all teams.
Nathan Hughes winning the battle for the number 8 shirt against Vunipola
One of the characteristics of an Eddie Jones’ sides is having a “wrecking ball” type of player in the eighth man position. Among the many experiments he has employed ever since taking charge, Nathan Hughes and Billy Vunipola have been his main picks.
The Saracens man (Vunipola) has enjoyed first pick for many campaigns but injuries last season saw him out for a while only returning at the start of this season. This isn’t doing his chances any good so far especially with the world cup just months away, he will need to get more game time to truly earn his slot.
On the other hand, rival; Nathan Hughes of the London Wasps has been very influential in Wasps first four encounters. He has shown more fitness, better game understanding and a will to impress and impose himself. Averaging 15 carries per game, on top of defensive work and the set piece. Eddie Jones’ selection head aches seem to be leaning towards one end at the moment if form is anything to go by. Nathan has 3 tries so far, in contrast with Billy’s one try – The amazing battle of the eights continues.