It was a quintuple of home victories in the Premiership this weekend, with Harlequins, Saracens and Sale in particular showing what they are capable of. Here are four themes from round four of the action.
Quins the kings
It’s exciting, it’s thrilling and it always goes down to the wire; that’s the description that tends to fit Harlequins these days.
Their 35-29 win over Northampton Saints on Sunday was the fourth time in four games that they had achieved a try bonus point, just illustrating their philosophy of attack, attack, attack.
In their ranks, too, they’ve got fringe players who could be on the plane to next year’s World Cup in Luke Northmore and Cadan Murley. The duo are so consistent for their side.
Northampton Saints’ woes continue. They’re not a bad side but they’re not taking their chances, and under new management that always looks worse than it is.
They’re one of just two sides in the top nine with a negative points difference despite playing more games than three other clubs and their loose defence is costing them in crucial moments.
Ask any Premiership player about playing at Kingston Park and they’ll say it’s at its most difficult on a Friday night, and Bristol Bears discovered this at the latter end of last week.
Newcastle’s 30-15 win over the West Country side not only saw an absolutely scorching try from winger Adam Radwan but their first win under Dave Walder after Dean Richards’ tenure came to an end last year.
It confirmed the difficulties Bristol have faced in the last couple of years and they didn’t seem to fire too many shots up in the North.
Falcons won’t set the league on fire this year but they’re evidently playing in a different style and they’re scoring. Their win on Friday represented only the fourth time that the bottom of the table team has beaten the leader in Premiership history.
Last year’s losing finalists put 50 points on last year’s champions on Saturday in a display that should strike fear into the hearts of every other side.
Saracens are known for their disciplined, pragmatic game plan but against Leicester they unleashed a new attacking style.
Tigers looked lost before half-time and never really found themselves, with the likes of Elliot Daly, Ben Earl and Theo McFarland impeccable for the home side.
The champions are struggling – even star signing Handre Pollard went off injured – and they need a quick fix. Saracens on the other hand are in full flow, and look a difficult side to overcome.
They’re going under the radar at the moment despite being unbeaten in their three matches but Sale Sharks are motoring.
They reached the top four under Alex Sanderson in their first season without Steve Diamond before dropping away, but they’re now joint top for wins so far this season.
Throw in the fact fact that they’re doing all of this without George Ford and they’re in a good spot.
After their 28-20 win over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, their only real issue could be their form causing international coaches around the world to call up their players.
Sale are looking good and are firmly in the running for a play-off place, and should they keep their personnel losses to a minimum this autumn they should be in good stead to be in the mix come the end of the season.