After far too long, the English Premiership is back once again with the ill behaviour and suffice to say the first couple of weeks did not disappoint. Bristol Bears overcame Bath in their first match back in the Premiership (but were then brought back down to earth by Saracens), Cipriani bested Biggar in the first round of Dan Dan Revolution, and Vereniki Goneva learnt the hard way not to make your dummies too convincing. Leicester Tigers went down the football route of sacking Matt O’Connor after just one match of the season, but were back with a vengeance in Round Two.
In amongst all the shenanigans, The Scout was hard at work identifying all the movers and shakers of the opening rounds of the Gallagher Premiership. Without further adieu, here is the Fantasy League Team of the Tournament (so far):
- Sami Mavinga (Newcastle)
- Tom Dunn (Bath)
- Ross Harrison (Sale)
- Josh Beaumont (Sale)
- Joe Launchbury (Wasps
- Mark Wilson (Newcastle)
- Sam Simmonds (Exeter)
- Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
- Dan Robson (Wasps)
- George Ford (Leicester)
- Santiago Cordero (Exeter
- Henry Slade (Exeter)
- Ben Tapuai (Harlequins)
- Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle)
- Chris Pennell (Worcester)
It’s been a strong start for last season’s losing finalists Exeter as three Chiefs start in the cumulative XV of the tournament so far, a feat matched only by Wasps. Saracens have three representatives on the bench, whilst both Newcastle and Sale provide two starters and one substitute. This season’s dark horse Gloucester aren’t represented at all in the overall starting team after two rounds, despite three players making the Team of the Week in Round Two.
We’ve already discussed how Santiago Cordero (35.1 points) might be the most exciting player in the Premiership this season, and he’s backed that up by bagging one of the two starting wing berths after an impressive showing early on. Veriniki Goneva isn’t far behind on the other wing (31.6), with both a mile ahead of nearest competitor Jonny May (24.4). With fewer international commitments than other wingers, Cordero could be a good choice to keep the points rolling in season-round.
The front row has been a mixed bag early on. Ross Harrison’s 15.8 points leads, with Sami Mavinga trailing far behind with just 13.5. The hookers were a little more consistent, Tom Dunn’s 30.3 just edging out Jamie George at 30.1. George’s fellow Saracen Owen Farrell (28.0) has to settle for a bench spot behind England partner/rival George Ford (41.8), thanks largely to the latter’s stellar performance against Newcastle in Round Two.
So far, locks have failed to really convert into points, with Josh Beaumont scraping to 20.9 in first place, with Joe Launchbury only reaching 18.5. The back row looks a lot more promising however, with Mark Wilson (38.1), Sam Simmonds (35.5) and Nathan Hughes (27.4) all posting respectable results. Having gone about his business quietly for years, Wilson will be hoping his excellent club form will be enough to push him from the fringes of Eddie Jones’ England squad to the starting XV.
Player of the Tournament:
Ben Tapuai has been on a tear in his first season for Harlequins. The versatile midfielder’s brace on debut helped carry him to the top of the ranks. With Harlequins taking on Bath in Round Three, it remains to be seen whether Tapuai can repeat his barnstorming performances against his former team.
If you’ve invested in superstars in the front row, you might want to consider selling up and using that cash to reinforce more lucrative positions such as the back row. The high tackle count of players like Simmonds and Wilson can more than make up for their lack of regular tries.
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