Sale 46-34 Wasps
Sale Sharks kept themselves in the hunt for a play-off place with a thumping bonus-point victory over struggling London Wasps on Friday night.
Captain Sam Tuitupou’s early try put Sale in front before three Elliot Daly penalties gave the visitors a shock 9-7 lead but the Sharks hit back with a converted Dwayne Peel score. A try from centre Dominic Waldouck pulled Wasps level momentarily but another try for Tuitupou, added to a penalty and a drop-goal from Nick Macleod put the home side 25-14 ahead at the half-time break.
Another Daly penalty gave Wasps hope but when their winger Jack Wallace was sin-binned, Sale took immediate advantage when Andy Powell crashed over in the corner. Wasps responded well with another effort from Daly’s boot but the hosts killed the game off through two more converted scores from Johnny Leota and Rob Miller.
Replacement Joe Simpson came off the bench to score two late converted tries for Wasps but it wasn’t enough to get them a losing bonus point as they crashed to a fifth straight defeat in all competitons.
Worcester 16-11 Saracens
Worcester Warriors dramatically improved their chances of avoiding relegation with a stunning win over defending champions Saracens at Sixways.
It all looked to be going with the form book early on when Michael Tagicakibau raced over to give Saracens the lead and it was an advantage they stretched when Alex Goode slotted over his first penalty of the evening.
Worcester got themselves onto the scoreboard through a penalty from Andy Goode and despite having been outplayed in the first half, they took the lead just before half-time when centre Alex Grove showed great ball control to kick through and score.
Saracens edged in front early in the second half with another Alex Goode penalty but the hosts stepped up their game significantly after the break and moved into a 16-11 advantage when Andy Goode landed two more successful penalties.
It was a lead that the Warriors held onto as they moved further clear of the relegation place and condemned Saracens to a second consecutive defeat.
Exeter 9-12 Bath
Bath won the penalty battle as they ran out winners over West Country rivals Exeter at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Referee David Rose ruled out an early Tom Biggs try for Bath after a forward pass and Exeter took advantage as Ignacio Mieres kicked two penalties to give the home side a 6-0 lead at the half-time interval.
Bath switched kickers from Olly Barkley to Tom Heathcote and that proved to be the difference as indiscipline from Exeter allowed Heathcote to slot four second-half penalties, including one in the last ten minutes, to win the game for the visitors and stunt Exeter’s play-off charge.
Gloucester 29-23 Harlequins
Gloucester and Harlequins served up a Premiership classic at Kingsholm as the home side ran out winners in a tight and entertaining affair.
The Cherry and Whites raced into a 10-0 lead through a Freddie Burns penalty and a converted Charlie Sharples try before Nick Evans landed two penalties for Quins to close the gap. Jonny May then scored one of the individual tries of the season to extend the Gloucester lead before Burns slotted through another penalty.
Ross Chisholm then crossed for the league leaders as they got themselves back into the game but Burns’ boot kept them at arm’s length as the hosts led 21-13 at half-time.
Evans and Burns exchanged penalties early in the second half before Akapusi Qera’s score put Gloucester firmly in control as Harlequins continued to struggle with the mix of power and pace they were facing. The positive for Quins came when Chisholm’s second try of the afternoon, converted by Evans, gave them a losing bonus point which keeps them six points ahead of Saracens.
Leicester 42-15 Newcastle
Leicester Tigers ran in six tries as they easily crushed bottom side Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road on Saturday.
The hosts forged a 10-0 lead through a George Ford penalty and a try from Julian Salvi before Jimmy Gopperth’s first penalty got the Falcons on the board. Leicester were in a ruthless mood and another Ford penalty was sandwiched in between a try apiece for Billy Twelvetrees and Horacio Agulla as the hosts led 23-3 at the break.
Thomas Waldrom crossed early in the second half to give Leicester a bonus point before Jon Golding went over to give Newcastle their first try of the game. Two more tries, one from Waldrom and one from replacement Niall Morris put a gloss on the scoreline for the Tigers before a late Richard Mayhew score gave the Newcastle fans something to cheer about in the final minutes as their mini-revival was crushed by a superb Leicester performance.
London Irish 23-30 Northampton
Northampton Saints closed the gap on the top two as they came from behind to defeat London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.
Winger Noah Cato went over in the corner to give the Saints an early lead but Irish soon hit back with a penalty from Adrian Jarvis and a converted score from Delon Armitage to take the lead themselves. Jarvis and Stephen Myler then swapped penalties before a mistake in the Northampton defence allowed Sailosi Tagicakibau to score with ease.
Myler’s second penalty left the Saints 18-11 behind at half-time but they came out firing in the second half and grabbed two quick fire tries through Roger Wilson and Paul Diggin to take a 23-18 lead themselves.
An unconverted score from Declan Danaher pulled Irish level as the game threatened to swing either way but with just three minutes remaining, a chargedown allowed Northampton’s Ben Nutley to go over under the posts and seal an impressive bonus-point victory for the Saints at the same
time all but ending Irish’s hopes of getting a play-off place.