11 The Daily Telegraph Monday 31 August 2020 *** Beno Obano speaks about matters on and off the pitch as he plays a key role in Bath’s push up the Premiership table G iven his hot form, after being named man of the match for Bath against Northampton last week, there is plenty to discuss when it comes to Beno Obano’s performances on the field. His thoughts about matters away from the pitch, however, are compelling. Last month, Obano appeared on his cousin Maro Itoje’s podcast, discussing the mesh of cultures within a rugby squad and, more specifically, often being the only black player in the gym or in team meetings. As momentum grew behind Black Lives Matter over the summer, his team-mates approached him to discuss the movement. Obano (right) says: “It’s not often that you would be the only white person in the room. That’s very rare that would happen. Whereas myself, that happens quite often where I am the only black person in the room. The dynamics will always be a bit different and that’s the way the Bath v Wasps The Rec, 3pm, BT Sport Kidney urges youngsters to embrace Saracens test By Ben Coles see where they stand and where they need to learn going forward,” Kidney said. Wednesday’s 13-7 defeat by Leicester Tigers brought Irish their first point since the restart, and Kidney has seen enough to be encouraged heading into next season. An exception to today’s youthful selection will be Agustin Creevy. When Sean O’Brien will next appear in an Irish shirt is less clear, after the Ireland flanker strained a hamstring against Bath. “Is this the right time to be pushing that to the nth degree? Not at all,” Kidney said. “We could have him out again this weekend, but it would not be prudent at this time of the year when you look at the overall picture.” London Irish’s five-game losing streak is unlikely to end today given their youthful selection against a fully bolstered Saracens outfit. The Exiles find themselves in unusual territory for a promoted club, having known they were safe since January once Saracens’ relegation after breaching the salary cap was confirmed. Arguably no Premiership club have struggled more since the restart, with Irish hit hard by injuries and departures from their second row. Adam Coleman and Steve Mafi are injured and Franco van der Merwe has moved on. Rob Simmons, the Australian with 100 Test caps, will not arrive until next month, leaving Ben Donnell and the promising Chunya Munga – with a combined age of 39 – to take on Maro Itoje today. Declan Kidney, London Irish’s director of rugby, hopes they embrace the occasion. “We know when we face Saracens they will come fully loaded, given their selection for their midweek match and their European quarter-final is two weeks away. For our lads who are playing it’s really exciting knowing that you could be coming up against a fullstrength Saracens side. They can London Irish v Saracens The Stoop, 1pm. BT Sport at Kingsholm a remarkable win. Just after the half-hour, Gloucester were 36-6 up, with Thorley grabbing his four touchdowns in 21 minutes, ably assisted by full-back Jason Woodward and fly-half Danny Cipriani. Scrum-half Joe Simpson and centre Chris Harris also grabbed two of Gloucester’s six tries during their romp. Thorley was on course to join Ryan Constable and Christian Wade, who are the joint highest try scorers in a single Premiership match with six, but was brought off after an hour. The winger has been in two England Six Nations squads but has never been capped by national coach Eddie Jones. Performances like this may help, but Thorley said: “I just need to keep putting my hand up. I worked hard over lockdown and it was nice just to have that time to upskill.” That first-half was one thing but the way Leicester came back from the abyss was another. The arrival of England fly-half George Ford and scrum-half Ben Youngs helped change the momentum. The Tigers had crossed through Harry Potter, but after the break found some sort of rhythm as Jordan Taufua charged past an attempted tackle by home centre Billy Twelvetrees to place the ball over the line. Ford converted and added the extras again when Cameron Henderson crossed. A Ford penalty on 64 minutes made the score 36-30. A penalty from Twelvetrees and a try from Lloyd Evans snuffed out the fightback. It was hard lines for Leicester not to get even a losing or try bonus point. Gloucester Leicester 46-30 Ollie Thorley, the Gloucester wing, joined an exclusive club by becoming only the third player in Premiership history to score four tries in the first half of a match. But Gloucester were close to blowing a massive victory as Leicester Tigers – who were shot to pieces during that opening period – galvanised themselves and came close to
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