The regular Premiership season is now over, and eyes are firmly locked on the Cup final. So with that over the horizon, view our 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership club ratings, highlights, wins, and losses across all clubs that ended the calendar year.
In a memorable season; all be it maybe for the some wrong reasons, there has been some real quality out on the pitch. We think so.
Louis Chapman-Coombe has brought all that together in a review of each team’s season by rankings.
2022/23 Gallagher Premiership club ratings, highlights, wins and losses
The easiest place to start is with the table-toppers naturally. Pushed early, the London club returned to form and has received the highest grade.
What can be said about Saracens that hasn’t already been said? They have romped to the top of the table and even had time to blood in the youngsters at the end of the season. Sarries have evolved their style from the aggressive defence ‘wolfpack’ mentality to playing free-flowing attacking rugby, which has been just as devastating.
Accordingly, Gallagher Premiership club rankings illustrate only so much, silverware can underscore the highlight which lasts longer. Below is head coach Mark McCall with his Coach of the Year gong, and Sean Maitland who received the Gallagher Community Player of the Season award for all his work on and off the field.
Our winners 😎#YourSaracens💫 pic.twitter.com/TIEaQyZrVY
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) May 11, 2023
It will take a massive effort for anyone to stop them lifting the title on May 27.
Sale Sharks: A+
Sale Sharks have probably been the most improved side this season. Moving from a sixth-place finish last season to securing a home semi-final with time to spare, was an incredible achievement. Something Alex Sanderson should be proud of. They’ve turned their physicality into a major weapon in attack, and they can boast the best defence in the league.
Sale have star quality across the park and deserve their place in the Cup final, and considering the result from their last clash against Saracens, might an upset be on the cards?
Leicester Tigers: A
Rewind back to February, only the bravest of punters would have bet on the Tigers getting to the playoffs; however, a huge turn of form has seen the defending champions climb up the table.
Away from the pitch, the change in coaching staff has presented plenty of excuses for the Tigers to have just fallen off. Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield went first ahead of the Six Nations, and Richard Wigglesworth, Aled Walters and Tom Harrison are also on their way from Welford Road to England. The Tigers have overcome these challenges brilliantly and fought their way to the end of season dance.
Northampton Saints: B+
The resident entertainers of the league, the Northampton Saints secured the final playoff place through outright attacking rugby. The Saints secured their place in the top four for the second year in a row, however whilst they have been great in attack, they have conceded more tries than they’ve scored. They finished the second-worst defence in the league, with only Newcastle Falcons conceding more points.
Furthermore, for the second time in three years, their total points difference has been under 15 points, despite them having the best attack in the league. This area will need to be worked on over the summer, if they are to become genuine title contenders.
London Irish: B+
London Irish have had a great season. They are probably most neutrals’ favourite team. The Exiles play rugby without fear, which has served them well as they’ve moved within touching distance of the playoffs.
London Irish making things happen 🪄
Tarek Haffar grabbed his first #GallagherPrem try with this impressive forwards' effort in @londonirish's big win over Sale Sharks ☘️
Catch all the highlights from Round 20 on @ITVX 📺 pic.twitter.com/uWrtOeLyBf
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) March 13, 2023
As well as this, they also nearly secured silverware as they got to the Premiership Cup Final, losing out in extra time to Exeter. However, the talk around them in recent weeks has been about financial issues at the club. Unpaid staff, missed insurance payments and talks of a takeover are a familiar tune to this season, and the rest of the league hopes they can get through it.
A quiet season at the Stoop this year. For the first time in two seasons, they haven’t been able to make the playoffs, however, with the quality they have in their ranks, they should have walked into the top four.
There were highlights, although a negative record to end the season is a far cry from the heroics of 2021 and even last season. Yet there is plenty of room to improve and this could be a one-off poor result for ‘Quins.
Exeter Chiefs: B-
Another year without playoffs for the Chiefs. They’ve maintained their seventh-place finish that they achieved last season, however, similarly to ‘Quins, they should have finished much higher. Much was made about their desire to win European silverware as the last hurrah for the senior players, which [in a way] made their Premiership campaign feel second fiddle.
They did secure some silverware though, as they won the Premiership Cup. The only way is up for the Chiefs ahead of next season.
2⃣0⃣1⃣0⃣: Promoted to the Premiership
2⃣0⃣1⃣6⃣: First Premiership final
2⃣0⃣1⃣7⃣: First Premiership title
2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣: First Champions Cup title
🏆 What a journey Rob Baxter's Exeter Chiefs have been on! pic.twitter.com/1g9WSvOWB5
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) October 17, 2020
Now it may seem weird to give Bath a B, however, they have improved massively as the season went on.
Bath made some very good mid-season transfers, who added real quality across the park that was missing previously. This helped propel them up the table and finish the season in eighth place.
The improvement in all aspects has taken Bath from the bottom of the league to qualifying for the Champions Cup, and with the new arrivals coming in next season, they could be the team to watch.
Bristol Bears: C
The Bears fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the Champions Cup, yet this was a sorry end to a poor season for the Bears. Whilst they improved their record from last season, the team didn’t meet its potential – thus they will spend another season in Europe’s second-tier competition.
In judging their Gallagher Premiership club rankings, one cannot escape it; Bristol Bears were very inconsistent this season. When they were good they were up there with the best in the league, yet this wasn’t seen often enough and ultimately cost them any place in a potential Cup finale.
The season started brilliantly for the Cherry and Whites. They were coasting to a top-four finish, and sat comfortably in a Champions Cup place, however, this changed dramatically at the turn of the year. Gloucester lost seven of their nine Premiership fixtures late in 2023, including defeats to Newcastle and Bath.
Deserved or undeservedly, a 10th-place finish is not what the Kingsholm faithful are used to. They will need a big preseason if they want to improve on this finish to resurrect the West Country club’s hopes.
Newcastle Falcons (11th) pic.twitter.com/1t1GJ67tGX
— The Rugby Collective (@RugbyCollective) May 6, 2023
Newcastle Falcons: D-
Newcastle Falcons have been poor from start to finish this season, taking a big backwards step from last year as they finish bottom of the pile. They have lacked real quality this season on both sides of the ball, as they finished the calendar with the lowest points difference of negative 217.
In attack, they lacked a creative edge and scoring proved difficult, despite having some of the leagues most exciting attackers in Adam Radwan and Mateo Carreras. In defence, they were very leaky. They conceded a total of 168 in those last games.
They looked despondent at times, and as the season went on, they only got worse. A big change is needed in Newcastle if they want to avoid a repeat of this next season.
Editors note: Early in the 2022/23 season, the axe fell on both the Worcester Warriors and Wasps, in an unpleasant memory for English rugby fans. Sadly, they have not been able to resurrect any participation in the top league – Wasps Championship rugby future was secured though finances and revenue streams of many clubs still sit in a precarious position, come the end of the season.
Ratings may reflect the player’s input on the park, yet the long-term sustainability of the game relies on more than just the scoreline.
Follow the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership to its conclusion, with the Cup final is played on May 27: Saracens v Sale Sharks
“Main photo credit Andy Fever, courtesy of Flckr“