Week three of action in the Gallagher Premiership and Guinness PRO14 is now done and dusted.
And across the two leagues there are now just five teams with an unbeaten record: Ulster and Glasgow Warriors in the PRO14 and Saracens, Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester Rugby in the Premiership.
And on a weekend that saw a record 51 tries scored in the PRO14 and 42 in the Premiership – there were some outstanding individual showings as well. JOSH IS OFF TO A FLIER It has been a long seven months on the sidelines for Leinster and Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier.
After rupturing his cruciate ligament in Ireland’s Six Nations opener against France in Paris in February, van der Flier has had to watch on as his club and country have conquered all before them.
But he was back in action this weekend for the first time as the boys in blue put the Dragons to the sword at the RDS.
And when the flanker went over for a try just before half time, he let out a cheer of delight that was only matched by the Leinster faithful’s appreciation.
In all, van der Flier played the full 80 minutes, managed eight carries and made ten tackles without missing one to show he has not missed a beat.
“It’s unbelievable credit to him, the way he’s got back and the shape that he’s in,” Leo Cullen said of his flanker.
“Josh is one of the most diligent people you can come across and he’s worked incredibly hard with our S&C medical team.
“The work that goes on there is so important, the time invested into the players to make sure they can come back and be as ready as they can possibly be to play again.
“Josh is an amazing professional and a great example to a lot of our players.” POLLEDRI’S PEARLER It has been a great start to the season for Italian rugby with both Benetton Rugby and Zebre catching the eye.
The boys from Parma produced a stunning comeback to down the Cardiff Blues on Saturday to give Conor O’Shea food for through while Benetton came within a whisker of making it three from three as they pushed Scarlets all the way despite playing much of the game with 14 men.
And the good news does not end there for the Azzurri after Jake Polledri starred for Gloucester in the Premiership on Friday night.
The flanker – who made his Italy debut in the final round of Six Nations games against Scotland – was titanic in their comeback win over West Country rivals Bristol.
In total, the flanker managed 20 carries for 87 metres with an eye-popping ten defenders beaten.
He also threw in 13 tackles, with none missed, and produced three offloads as Ruan Ackermann’s side came roaring back in the second half at Kingsholm. BATH WING IS NO REGULAR JOE Eddie Jones has always liked his wings to combine pace with power.
The likes of Anthony Watson and Jonny May are not short of straight-line speed – but the wrecking ball wing has yet to materialise for England under Jones’ tenure.
Until now that is. Could Joe Cokanasiga be the answer for the Red Rose? On the evidence of Bath’s dramatic win over Harlequins, he has a compelling case.
The 20-year-old tore it up at the Stoop, making 151m with ball in hand, scoring two tries from five clean breaks and only denied a hat-trick by the TMO.
The first of his two tries has to be seen to be believed however, the wing juggling and dotting down in the left corner while somehow keeping his body away from the touchline.
Jones – who names a squad for an England training camp later this week – surely will have liked what he saw. PRICE IS RIGHT FOR GLASGOW Ali Price had to wait for his first start of the season for the Glasgow Warriors.
George Horne looked to have leapfrogged him in the eyes of head coach Dave Rennie – but on Saturday against the Toyota Cheetahs the scrum-half came roaring back.
Price was on fire in Bloemfontein and dovetailed nicely with Adam Hastings, his halfback partner.
Price notched two tries as the Warriors piled up a half century of points to maintain their perfect start to the season.
And with Scotland’s autumn internationals fast approaching, Price will be hoping for further chances to enhance his claims.