Premiership Rugby

Gallagher Premiership Round 3 Recap: Saracen's Off The Mark

Gallagher Premiership Round 3 Recap: Saracen's Off The Mark

Stay updated with our comprehensive Gallagher Premiership Rugby Round 3 recap, featuring highlights, scores and standout moments. Dive into the action!

Oct 30, 2023
Gallagher Premiership Round 3 Recap: Saracen's Off The Mark

It’s fair to say not all eyes were on the Premiership over the weekend, with bigger games taking place in Paris on Friday and Saturday night.

However, that doesn’t mean the rugby was any less dramatic, as we saw some tightly fought contests determined by clutch kicks in the final minutes, as well as a shock hammering of last season’s finalists.

With the rest of the international players set to return in the coming weeks, the Premiership is set to get even better, but it’s already delivering a healthy spoonful of drama and entertainment.

Here are the five key talking points from Round 3:

Chiefs Turn Sandy Park Into A Fortress 

Something special’s building in the Southwest. 

At the start of the season, the job remit for Exeter Chiefs simply was to survive, after many of their star players departed in the summer. However, against the odds, the young crop of talent that has taken over at Sandy Park has proved more adept than first assumed.

In the first three games, they’ve managed to annihilate the two finalists from last summer. 

First, they battered Saracens in an 11-try showcase of expansive rugby, and they’ve now pulled apart the Sale Sharks, this time falling back on their trademark physicality and organization in the pack.

Except for Niall Armstrong’s fine finish at the close of the game, most of the tries were orchestrated by the pack and their formidable rolling maul. It’s a well-known fact that once Exeter enters the opposition 22, they almost always come away with points, and that was the case Saturday, as they claimed a worthy 43-0 win in front of their home support.

The real sticking point though was the home side’s defense, as it managed to shut out a relatively strong Sale Sharks outfit that entered the game unbeaten.

Shillcock Saves Tigers In Monsoon 

Any hope of seeing some exhibitionist rugby at the Rec on Saturday was quickly quelled by the torrential downpours, which persisted throughout the game.

It meant both sides quickly became a lot cagier, as Leicester Tigers relied upon the trusty boot of Jamie Shillcock to keep them in the game.

However, Finn Russell made sure he still gave the crowd something to cheer about, offering a delightfully placed cross-field kick midway through the first half, which unleashed Will Muir down the left flank.

The score did little to separate the two sides, as the pendulum continued to swing both ways right through to the final whistle.

Russell thought he’d won the game for Bath with a penalty slotted a few minutes from the end, but his hope of heroics was squashed by Shillcock, whom, with the clock in the red, nudged over a penalty of his own to give Tigers their first win of the season, by just a point.

Harlequins Hold On 

It’s been a less than convincing start to the season for Harlequins, and yet the squad has two wins in three matches, after losing the opening fixture by a point.

Their latest 23-21 win at Ashton Gate against the Bristol Bears was carried early by George Hammond, who managed to cross the whitewash twice across the 80 minutes.

Bristol responded with tries of its own, the first coming from Virimi Vakatawa, who received a pass from Benhard van Rensburg to stroll in to score his first try for his new club.

Callum Sheedy thought he’d won it late for the hosts with a finely struck penalty, only for Jarrod Evans to step up to the plate and slot his third penalty of the game, securing the win for Harlequins.