Bath 11-14 Gloucester
Gloucester moved up to fifth in the Aviva Premiership table with a tense derby day victory over Bath at the Rec.
An early brawl between the two sides saw Bath’s Ryan Caldwell and Gloucester’s Jim Hamilton sin-binned before Tom Biggs put the hosts in front when he beat Charlie Sharples to the ball to touch down for the opening try. The Cherry and Whites weren’t behind for long though as an excellent move led to prop Nick Wood going over out wide to restore parity.
Two penalties from fly-half Freddie Burns then put the visitors into an 11-5 lead heading into half-time and it was lead they held until midway through the second half when a penalty apiece from Olly Barkley and Tom Heathcote pulled Bath level at 11-11.
But with 14 minutes to go, Gloucester replacement kicker Ryan Mills kept his cool to step up, land the winning penalty and keep his side right in the hunt for a place in the top four.
Harlequins 16-14 Worcester
Worcester Warriors pushed Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins all the way at the Stoop and were unlucky to go down to a 16-14 defeat.
Despite struggling in the league, the visitors raced into an 8-0 lead through a Danny Gray penalty and a try from winger Miles Benjamin. Quins then managed to get themselves on the scoreboard with a Nick Evans penalty before they took the lead when the fly-half converted a penalty try.
Evans stretched the home side’s lead just after the break with another successful attempt at the posts but that was soon cancelled out by Gray’s second penalty of the afternoon. The two kickers then repeated the trick as they exchanged penalties midway through the second half, leaving Quins 16-14 ahead.
Worcester pushed hard to find the points that would give them a shock victory but it wasn’t to be as the result finally went the way of the form book.
Newcastle 19-10 London Irish
Newcastle Falcons stunned London Irish as they recorded a victory which boosts their chances of avoiding relegation from the Aviva Premiership.
Jimmy Gopperth and Tom Homer swapped penalties early on before the visitors took the lead through a converted try from Sailosi Tagicakibau after a mistake in the Newcastle defence. A Gopperth drop-goal reduced the arrears as Irish led 10-6 at the half-time interval.
A penalty from the Falcons fly-half on 47 minutes meant the hosts were only a point behind but they suffered a blow when second row Adriaan Fondse was sent off for punching Delon Armitage.
But the bottom side weren’t affected and when Ryan Shortland intercepted an Armitage pass to run over and score, the Falcons moved into a 16-10 lead to the delight of the Kingston Park crowd.
Gopperth then sealed the deal with a long distance penalty to give Newcastle a 19-10 win and move them closer to London Wasps in the battle against the drop.
Northampton 24-17 Sale
Northampton Saints kept the pressure on the Aviva Premiership top two as Stephen Myler kicked them to victory over Sale Sharks.
Myler and Sale’s Nick Macleod swapped penalties in the early stages but in a scrappy tight affair, it was the Saints fly-half who prevailed in the kicking contest as he slotted four three more penalties to give the home side a 12-3 lead at the break.
The second half carried on in the same vein as Myler and Macleod struck a penalty apiece before Mark Cueto dived over in the corner to close the gap to four points and bring Sale right back into the contest. Myler extended the lead with his sixth penalty but Macleod quickly cancelled that out as the Saints led 18-14.
Another Myler penalty and a drop-goal from his replacement Ryan Lamb put Northampton out of sight but Macleod’s fourth penalty of the game secured a vital losing bonus point for the Sharks and ensured they are still in the running for a play-off place.
Wasps 12-15 Exeter
Exeter edged a tight penalty battle as they ran out winners at Adams Park and plunged London Wasps further into trouble in the relegation fight.
The home side took an early lead with a penalty from Nicky Robinson but Exeter soon took charge when Ignacio Mieres slotted three penalties of his own to put the Chiefs 9-3 ahead at the half-time interval.
Mieres and Robinson swapped penalties early in the second half before the former extended the visitors’ advantage with his fifth effort at goal of the afternoon as Exeter led 15-6. Two further penalties from Wasps fly-half Robinson brought the hosts to within three points but they couldn’t find a further score as the Chiefs held on to move into the Aviva Premiership top four.
Saracens 19-20 Leicester
Geordan Murphy’s last-gasp drop-goal gave Leicester Tigers a superb away win over Saracens as they moved back into the Aviva Premiership play-off places.
The visitors had Ed Slater sin-binned in the first minute of the game but bounced back to take a 6-0 with two penalties from the boot of Toby Flood. Saracens were stunned into action and grabbed the advantage with a converted score from scrum-half Neil de Kock before two penalties from Flood, with an Alex Goode penalty for the hosts sandwiched in between, gave the Tigers a 12-10 lead at half-time.
A pair of quick penalties from Goode just after the break put Sarries 16-12 ahead but an unconverted try from Slater meant the game swung back in Leicester’s favour as they led by a point.
Not to be outdone, Goode’s fourth penalty appeared to have won the game for Saracens late on but in the 84th minute of the match, Murphy slotted over his drop-goal to move the Tigers up to fourth in the table and ensure Sarries were unable to keep up the pressure on leaders Harlequins.