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Saracens halt Quins progress as Sale continue to flounder

Another exciting weekend of Premiership rugby brought us yet more big scorelines and matches full of tries. Perhaps the most significant result of the weekend though featured only one try, as Saracens beat Harlequins to end the champions’ unbeaten start to the season.

Owen Farrell returned to his usual sublime kicking form after a tough start to the season had seen him facing serious criticism for the first time in his young career.

Six penalties from six though saw Farrell kick Sarries to an 18-16 victory over Harlequins, with Nick Evans, for the first time all season, having a day to forget with the boot.

For Harlequins it is a bump in their momentum after an unbeaten start to the campaign including a magnificent victory at Welford Road. For Saracens it was the perfect response to their defeat away at Exeter, and for Owen Farrell it was a timely reminder to the England management that he is still a young man from whom pressure is a friend not a foe.

The other Sunday fixture saw London Welsh looking for a third victory on the bounce as they hosted Gloucester at the Kassam. It was a high scoring game that Gloucester won 31-25, meaning Welsh claimed a losing bonus point.

On Saturday Leicester welcomed Exeter to Welford Road and Tigers debutant, Adam Thompstone, decided to welcome them in style, scoring a hat trick to lead Tigers to a 30-8 victory.

His side while delighted with him, will be disappointed not to have picked up a bonus point after such a convincing victory, but will be aware that after defeat last week, all points are good points.

Bath, meanwhile, inflicted a fifth defeat in five game on Sale, who are now moving into crisis mode after yet another game in which they never looked likely to win.

It was Olly Barkley’s last game for Bath as he now heads over to France, and he was as assured as he has been all season, kicking 16 points to help his side to a 31-10 victory. How Bath react to his departure will be crucial to their season.

Unusually, there were two games on Friday night, the first of which saw Worcester secure a bonus point 35-11 victory over London Irish at Sixways. Once again the Exiles looked hapless in defence, and Brian Smith has some serious work on his hands if he is to bring back the magic of his first spell at the club.

Irish have a lot of young talent, but they are going to need to learn some defensive steel and to keep calmer heads if they are to remain competitive this season.

The other game saw Northampton blast their way to a 24-6 home victory over Wasps. Saints have been returing this season to the formula that proved so successful for them two years ago, where they dominated opposing packs as they ground out win after win.

With Stephen Myler back in the 10 shirt this is what they have been doing again as they grind down the opposition and he kicks his goals, collecting 14 points o Friday.

For Wasps it is fairly typical of their topsy-turvy form so far this season, and they ought not to be too concerned yet, as it is just consistency that they are lacking.

Our predictions were a little better this week with four out of six correct results and two correct margins of victory.

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