With the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup returning this weekend, Joe Harvey brings you the latest round-up from the Gallagher Premiership, including a first loss of the season for Exeter Chiefs.
Harlequins 28 – 26 Exeter Chiefs
Exeter were handed their first loss of the Premiership season against Harlequins on Friday night. Matt Kvesic opened the try scoring for Chiefs, six minutes after a James Lang penalty for Quins, but Joe Simmonds was unable to convert the try.
Scores from James Chisholm and Nathan Earle gave Quins the lead going into halftime, with Lang unable to convert both scores.
Caught napping ??— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) November 30, 2018
Quins take advantage of a lapse in the concentration of the Chiefs for the score...
The Stoop enjoyed that! pic.twitter.com/MPNJ6aqvAE
Exeter looked much better at the start of the second period. Jack Yeandle and Ollie Devoto both crossed the whitewash, either side of a converted Nathan Earle score, with Devoto’s try being converted by Gareth Steenson.
A penalty from Marcus Smith kept Quins just in front and a Joe Marchant try followed soon after which concluded Quins’ scoring for the evening.
Ian Whitten’s converted effort late on made uneasy viewing for any Quins fans, put they saw off the Chiefs challenge. It was a great display from Paul Gustard’s side against a team who many would have backed going into the game.
Bristol Bears 41 – 10 Leicester Tigers
The second game in Round 9 of the Gallagher Premiership offered another surprise result. Bristol brushed aside Leicester Tigers and they started strongly with a converted Harry Thacker try, the hooker going over after just one minute played. An Ian Madigan penalty soon followed, but Tigers did get on the scoresheet after a Manu Tuilagi touchdown in the 15th minute.
Bristol were given a clear advantage after Kyle Eastmond was given a red card following a high and dangerous tackle on Madigan. The Irish flyhalf quickly brushed the challenge off, kicking the resulting penalty. The sides would briefly be made even when John Afoa was sinbinned for an infringement, allowing Ford to kick for three more points.
Pat Lam’s men really took the game by the scruff of the neck from here. Thacker scored his fifth try in two games just after a Madigan penalty. These scores gave the Bears a definitive lead at halftime, before an onslaught from the hosts after the break.
Luke Morahan got the first score of the second half with Madigan successfully converting the try and he would do the same after Harry Randall’s opportunistic effort. Two more Madigan penalties secured the bonus-point win against what was a toothless Tigers team.
Gloucester Rugby 36 – 16 Worcester Warriors
Gloucester put last week’s disappointing result against Exeter Chiefs behind them with a comprehensive victory over visitors Worcester. The first half was a somewhat quiet affair. Tries from James Hanson and Charlie Sharples nudged the Cherry and Whites ahead, but their lead was gnawed away at by three Duncan Weir penalties going into halftime.
Ollie Thorley once again impressed as he crossed the whitewash early on in the second half. Flanker Freddie Clarke was the next Gloucester name on the scoresheet and the forwards score was the first to be converted by Billy Twelvetrees.
On loan hooker Jaco Visagie managed to dot down next for Johan Ackermann’s side, just prior to Thorley’s second of the fixture. Both tries were converted by Twelvetrees.
With Chris Pennell in the sin-bin, Warriors did manage to gather seven points. Bryce Heem continued his good form and even gave Duncan Weir another two points. Realistically, this was a game that Gloucester would have been expected to win, especially after a very poor showing in Round 8.
Northampton Saints 14 – 16 Newcastle Falcons
This was certainly a close affair. Newcastle Falcons won their second Premiership game in a row and even welcomed England’s man of the Autumn series, Mark Wilson, back to their team. Toby Flood scored two penalties in the first half, but the former England man saw his efforts cancelled out after Cobus Reinach’s try was converted by Dan Biggar.
The second half offered much of the same. Reinach and Biggar completed a similar trick around 10 minutes into the second half, leaving Falcons with all the work to do. Young back Brett Connon slotted a penalty at the 70-minute mark, meaning that Newcastle needed a converted try to win the game.
There were echoes of the Falcons win over Montpellier when they finally crossed the whitewash. Six minutes after the clock had turned red, Wilson, fresh from his England exploits, gave Flood the opportunity to win the game and the fly-half delivered. Another gritty win from Newcastle. They are too good to be in a relegation battle.
Saracens 29 – 6 Wasps
Wasps fell fairly short of Saracens in this game. Alex Lozowski was on kicking duties at outside centre and he landed three penalties in the first half to Elliot Daly’s one for Wasps. The second half followed in the same suit. Daly and his former teammate Lozowski traded penalties prior to the first try of the game.
?? Highlights | Saracens 29-6 @WaspsRugby— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) December 3, 2018
What a kick chase ????! @NickIsiekwe's score was definitely a popular one among the players and coaching staff at the weekend ??
Full highlights ?? https://t.co/pwr7oXaDlV pic.twitter.com/O0dAC6gVMa
Jamie George rumbled over for that score and Lozowski converted to keep Sarries in the ascendency. Another Saracens penalty preceded Nick Isiekwe’s five-point effort, which as ever, Lozowski converted. This win put Saracens in the driving seat for the Premiership, especially after Exeter’s loss. A really good weekend for Mark McCall’s men.
Bath Rugby 7 – 7 Sale Sharks
Well. Not a classic. All the action in this one came in the second half. A Jean-Luc du Preez try was converted by his brother Robert before Bath were rescued by a late Joe Cokanasiga try
The England man produced another excellent finish and James Wilson converted the try as the hosts claimed a draw. This was a pretty low-quality game, partly due to the weather, but for the sides to share the points was probably fair.
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12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
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