Saracens’ number eight Jackson Wray says his side are not concerned by their lack of tries this season and believes it’s only a matter of time before they start crossing the opposition tryline (Match Betting – London Welsh 7/2, draw 25/1, Saracens 1/5 with bet365).
Sarries have failed to score a five-pointer in their last three games and have had to rely heavily on the form of their kickers Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson.
This is a far cry from the traditional Saracens style, which for years has seen them throw the ball around with almost reckless abandon as they typically ground teams down with their relentless attacking.
Wray (10/3 to score a try at anytime with bet365) says this is partly down to his side’s focus on their defence and their hard work has certainly served them well in recent seasons, most notably in 2010/11 where they claimed their first Premiership title.
However, the 21-year-old insists his side do like to attack and, following the reintroduction of Hodgson, he expects them to open up over the next few weeks, starting at London Welsh on Sunday.
“We’ve always taken great pride in our defence-first approach and if you look at our performances this season we’ve not shipped more than 16 points in any game so far,” he said. “We’re working on it at the moment and we know the tries will come. We would rather be in this situation than playing in 40 or 50 point games every week.”
Owen Farrell, whose six goals secured victory for Saracens against Harlequins on Sunday, has paid tribute to kicking coach Dan Vickers, as Sarries chase a second Aviva Premiership Grand Final win in three years (Saracens 5/2 – Premiership Grand Final outright bet365).
The win over Quins has lifted the team to within six points of pace-setters Northampton, and provided the perfect response following a shock defeat to Exeter a week earlier.
Sarries have now gone three matches without scoring a single try, but Farrell says he’s delighted with his accuracy in front of goal, less than a month after missed penalty attempts cost his side victory against Leicester.
“We have a brilliant kicking coach here in Dan Vickers and I went through things when I was kicking well last year and compared it with how I kicked at Wembley,” said Farrell, the son of former England international Andy.
“I saw some differences and I put them right and made sure I practised enough that I was comfortable with it going into these games. They were only little changes, nothing too big, but it’s helped.”
Sarries will look to make up further ground on Northampton and second-placed Quins when they travel to face competition new boys London Welsh this weekend (Saracens 11/4 to finish top of the Aviva Premiership).
Leicester Tigers, meanwhile, will be out to justify their tag as pre-season favourites when they travel to face Sale on Friday evening (Leicester 7/4 – Grand Final outright bet365).
The Tigers are level on points with Sarries, but could apply pressure on the leading teams with victory over the winless Sharks ahead of the weekend’s programme of fixtures.
Tags: 80 minutes, Aviva Premiership, Dan Vickers, grand final, london welsh, match handicap, owen farrell, saracens, total points
Aviva Premiership, Rugby Union | Rugby Union Betting News | October 1, 2012 17:02 |
Mike Brown says he will have to be on top form if his Harlequins side are to beat Saracens on Sunday (Match Betting – Saracens 8/15, draw 18/1, Saracens 6/4 with bet365).
The champions have made a typically excellent start to the Premiership campaign, winning all four of their games, most notably away at Leicester last weekend.
They face another big test on Sunday when they meet title rivals Saracens on home turf at the Stoop.
Sarries have struggled so far this term and surprisingly lost last time out at Exeter, leading to a number of questions being asked about their pragmatic game plan.
The 2011 champions are well known for relying heavily on the prowess of Owen Farrell’s boot and despite their shaky start to the campaign, Brown (5/2 to score a try at anytime with bet365 ) knows he will have to be on top form when the two sides meet on Sunday.
“Saracens have got a brilliant kicking game so, as a back three player, I’ll have to be on top of my game,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to it but I need to concentrate on my performance and make sure I help the team the best I can to get the result we all want.
“They also bring a lot of physicality into the game so we need to make sure we match or even better that. We did it last week against Leicester and we need to do it again this week.”
Northampton have been rocked with the news of a shoulder injury to influential centre George Pisi ahead of Friday’s Aviva Premiership showdown with Wasps (Match Betting – Northampton 1/5, tie 25/1, Wasps 7/2 with bet365).
Jim Mallinder will instead name Dom Waldouck in his three-quarter line for the match against the London outfit, but the Saints coach admits that losing Pisi, who has shown great form in the opening weeks of the new season, is a major blow.
“George has damaged his shoulder, hopefully it’s not too bad. Hopefully it won’t require surgery, we don’t think it will but he’ll be out for a number of weeks,” said Mallinder, who brought Pisi to the club from Clermont ahead of last season.
“It’s an injury which for some people might be a few weeks, for others it might be a bit longer. We’ve just got to see how George reacts.”
The Saints are chasing a fifth consecutive victory of the new campaign as they look to build early momentum towards what they hope will be a challenge for the Aviva Premiership title (Northampton 5/1 to win the Premiership Grand Final with bet365).
Wasps, meanwhile, have taken just one victory from their first four matches, and head into the match on the back of a 29-22 defeat to Gloucester.
Following last season’s scrap to avoid relegation, and just six wins all campaign, the men from Adams Park are eager to avoid a repeat of last term’s disappointing form (Wasps 16/1 to finish bottom with bet365).
New Leicester signing Wessel Jooste could come into contention for selection in the Tigers’ Aviva Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs this Saturday (Match Betting – Leicester 1/6, tie 25/1, Exeter 4/1 with bet365).
The South African forward arrives at Welford Road following a seven-year spell with French Top 14 outfit Bourgoin, and is capped at under-19s and under-21s level for his country.
The Tigers’ director of rugby Richard Cockerill says he is pleased to have to got his man, and says he is particularly satisfied at having landed a player with utility value.
“Wessel is a big man, a good ball carrier and can play right across the back row and in the second row,” said Cockerill.
“He has played a lot of his rugby in France and has captained Bourgoin. We believe he will be a good signing for us and will complement the other guys we’ve got in the squad.”
The Tigers have made a strong start to the new Aviva Premiership season, taking 12 points from their first four games and losing just once. Leicester’s last Premiership win came in 2010, and Cockerill and his team are eager to bring silverware back to Welford Road this season (Leicester 2/1 to win the Aviva Premiership Grand Final with bet365).
Exeter, meanwhile, recorded a surprise victory over Saracens last weekend but, though they have taken great strides forward in recent years, the Chiefs are still some way from a title challenge.
Sale Sharks (200/1 Grand final winner bet365) have parted ways with forwards coach Steve Scott after a dismal start to the Aviva Premiership campaign.
Scott has been part of the coaching staff with Sharks since December 2010, but, with the side having only picked up one point from four games and yet to secure a win, the club have decided to terminate his contract.
The one-time winners of the Premiership brought in former England fly-half Danny Cipriani and current Scotland second-row star Richie Gray and expected to make a strong start to the new season.
It is understood that Club chief executive Steve Diamond will join rugby director Bryan Redpath in preparing the squad until a replacement forwards coach is appointed.
“Our results have been poor so far and we decided that we needed to change the coaching structure within the club.” Diamond said.
“We have started the process of finding a replacement to coach the forwards.
“While that process takes place I will be assisting Bryan Redpath prepare the players for the foreseeable future.
“I would like to place on record my thanks to Steve Scott, who has worked hard in his role and always given 100 per cent. I wish him all the best in the future.”
Northampton (5/1 Grand Final outright with bet365) boss Jim Mallinder believes a strong start to the season could set them up for glory at both home and abroad.
The Saints struggled during the early part of last term, when a number of their players were away at the World Cup in New Zealand, and went on a run that saw them slip to 11th in the table.
However, this time around Mallinder has almost a full squad to pick from for his side’s opening fixture at Gloucester on Saturday and will be confident his charges can get off to a strong start.
Despite the loss of Chris Ashton to Saracens, the East Midlands side have strengthened well over the summer, with the likes of Dominic Waldouck and James Wilson adding plenty of depth in the backline.
The 46-year-old is confident his side have what it takes to once again challenge for the title and believes a win in their opening fixture at Gloucester could inspire them for the rest of the season (Match Betting – Gloucester 8/15, draw 18/1, Northampton 6/4 with bet365).
“Last season at one stage we were second from bottom and that made it really hard work for the remainder of the season,” he said. “We nearly got there.
“This season we’re looking to start better. We need to start better and that means coming away from Gloucester with something.”
Leicester (15/8 Grand Final winner with bet365) boss Richard Cockerill has warned Toby Flood that he is by no means guaranteed his spot in the team and says he’ll only pick players on merit.
After a difficult few months at both club and international level, Flood regained his place in the England side during the summer tour of South Africa and is likely to once again wear the number 10 jersey during the autumn Tests.
However, after years of being the undisputed first choice at Welford Road, he now faces a major battle for his shirt following the emergence of youngster George Ford.
The 2011 IRB Junior Player of the Year impressed during Flood’s absence last term and proved he’s tough enough to succeed by kicking 13 points in May’s Premiership final defeat to Harlequins.
After spending much of the summer in the gym, Cockerill believes the youngster is now ready to challenge Flood for the role as Tigers’ (2/1 Regular Season Winner with bet365) regular number 10 and says he’s still unsure who will start the season.
“At Leicester, in particular, nobody’s spot is guaranteed,” Cockerill said. “We have seen in the past that guys have been left out of the side, when on paper you would have picked them.
“Toby reacts to it very well. He knows that he needs to play very well to be in the side because he wants to play for England.
“George Ford is younger but he is a very good player too. I am hoping he will kick on and be really good for us. Toby the same,” he added.
Northampton (5/1 Premiership Grand Final outright with bet365) hooker Dylan Hartley believes that his side will not miss the attacking prowess of the recently departed Chris Ashton.
The England international left Franklin’s Gardens earlier this summer to take up a new challenge with Aviva Premiership rivals Saracens (10/3 Premiership Grand Final outright with bet365), complaining he felt his career had become too comfortable in the East Midlands.
His departure has allowed boss Jim Mallinder to bring a number of the club’s talented youngsters in the squad, with the likes of Ken Pisi, whose brother George is already in the side, and Jamie Elliot being tipped to fill the void.
Ashton’s departure has been viewed as one of the biggest transfers of the summer but Hartley doubts his side will miss him in their bid to claim their first Premiership title.
“We have always had players that wanted to be here,” Hartley told the Rugby Paper. “But with wingers there’s always someone younger and faster coming through.
“I’m not denying his ability to find the ball and finish tries but we’ve got Ken Pisi and if he’s anything like George he’ll be outstanding and we’ve also got Jamie Elliot coming through all right as well so we aren’t short of good wingers.”
Tags: aviva premiership betting and odds, Chris Ashton, dylan hartley, england rugby union, george pisi, jamie elliot, ken pisi, northampton saints, rugby betting and odds, rugby union betting and odds, saracens
Aviva Premiership | Rugby Union Betting News | August 26, 2012 13:22 |
Having secured the services of James Wilson earlier this week, Northampton Saints (5/1 Aviva Premiership Grand Final outright with bet365) head coach Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing the New Zealander in action next season.
The promising centre, who will be a powerful figure in the heart of the Saints backline next term, will also provide other options as he can fill in at fly-half and full-back.
Northampton once again were the nearly men in the Aviva Premiership last term, as they were knocked out in the playoff semi-finals by eventual champions Harlequins (7/2 Aviva Premiership Grand Final outright with bet365).
With a host of the stars at Franklin’s Gardens being called away on international duty at the Six Nations every year, Mallinder has been looking to bring in players who will be available throughout the season and the coach is looking forward to seeing Wilson’s impact.
He said: “James is an experienced player who has shown his abilities on both sides of the world.
“He reads a game well, brings other players around him into the play and has a strong kicking game too.
“We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen of him and believe he’ll fit into our patterns of play and give us options.”