Last week’s Premiership action further convinced me that the English Premiership is the best league in the world.
Other than Worcester Warriors’ loss at London Irish, where the troubled away side were understandably rusty, I really couldn’t have called which way the other matches would go.
How Gloucester turned around a 21-point deficit was astonishing, although I think Wasps will have something about them this year. They could be dark horses for the top four as long as they are able to play for the full 80 minutes.
What happened at Kingsholm was just one of those games and I’m not too sure either side will let a match play out quite like that again.
I also thought Exeter Chiefs did well in beating the champions Leicester Tigers without some of their key players. It speaks to the character of Rob Baxter and how he wants his side to play this season.
Ellis Genge was everywhere for Bristol against Bath, who themselves looked like they’d finally learned how to string together a solid performance. Head coach Johann van Graan could work wonders at the Rec given time.
Premiership’s London clash
This is what I mean; there are so many teams with so many storylines this season – probably more than ever before. This league is so, so epic; there’s so much class.
We should see a lot of that class on show at the Stoop on Saturday when Harlequins host Saracens.
Quins have set the tone for the way of playing that I think lots of sides have begun to adopt, and it’s captivating.
The flowing style of their backs and the seemingly now-functional line-out will stand them in good stead this season but if there’s one side who are comfortable in defence it is Saracens.
The north London club are just so at ease without the ball, a difficult feat in modern rugby, and they always ooze control in a game.
But I have an inkling this year that Quins could just undo that. It is a shame, however, that it will be just one of two matches shown on television this weekend.
The sport needs exposure and I think we need to be doing as much as possible to promote what is an exceptional league.
As you may know, I am now in China where I am leading the country’s sevens programme as head coach. I have completed my quarantine and I am getting my bearings, and I have thus far been really impressed.
I would go as far as saying some of the facilities – multi-sport campuses in some instances – are on a par with Premiership clubs and even close to England’s Pennyhill Park.
I travel to Beijing on Monday to explore but, having settled now, I am really excited for what lies ahead.