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Aviva Premiership Round 17 Round Up

One of the talking points of the weekend was Wembley, where the Saracens stormed ahead with a 39-17 victory against Harlequins, shooting again to top spot of the Aviva Premiership.

It was easy pickings for the home side, scoring a succession of tries, two of which were from interceptions. Sarries proved resolute and relentless, capitalising on every opportunity and the Harlequins were disappointingly disjointed in defence.

Quins will now struggle to secure a play off place unless they regain their commitment and composure entering the last phase.

The other was the performance of Northampton Saints, who received arguably the battlefield blow of the weekend, to see them fall to 2nd in the Premiership with a 19-6 loss to the Sale Sharks.

That made it two consecutive losses in 7 days – a tough reality pill to swallow. With the return of all their Six Nations players in the starting 15, on paper, it was a team that couldn’t be rivalled. However, Sale were in full control from the word go and three tries were scored in the first half alone! But credit where it’s due to both sides for not conceding any points in the second half.

Northampton need to redeem themselves and that means regaining self-belief and confidence and putting up one hell of a fight next weekend in the East Midlands derby. But once again, as five fully stretched, top performers go straight back into a premiership side, I’m sure people will discuss the rugby calendar and the Six Nations overlap.

Manu Tuilagi was back for Leicester, and with a vengeance. His first start at Welford Road since the Premiership Final at the back end of last season and his presence was vital in the annihilation of the Exeter Chiefs. The Tigers attack was exceptional as they looked to be back on form as the side who won the Premiership last season.

I would say it was Leicester’s best performance of the season so far as they secured a bonus point 45-15 win. Nothing can hold this side back and as Richard Cockerill quite rightly said: “It’s not about where we started it’s about where we finish.” Can they secure a play off place position? Definitely.

Gloucester welcomed the Newcastle Falcons to Kingsholm and it was a ‘try-fest’ to say the least with Mike Tindall scoring his first try in the Premiership since February last year.

The Cherry and Whites led 37-7 with still a quarter of the match to go but the Falcons fought back scoring four tries in twenty minutes! An unbelievable effort – wouldn’t you say? It took the final score to 40-33, with both sides walking away with bonus points. Tremendous.

And what was set to be a St Patrick’s Day Party at the ‘Mad Stad’ for London Irish turned into misery for the Exiles as the visitors, Bath, not only found their feet but also secured a bonus point win, 23-44.

It looked hopeful for the home side, securing the lead for the first quarter but the party petered out when the defence began to tire to the point of no return. No party poppers here then. The question on my mind is, can Bath retain 3rd position heading into the play-offs?

It was a hand-wringing tale of woe on Friday night as the Worcester Warriors failed to end their losing streak in the Aviva Premiership. The London Wasps travelled to Sixways to be met by a strong defensive side but even though David Lemi made an exceptional break to take Worcester into the lead. It was a late try from Jake Cooper-Woolley in the dying moments of the game that saw Wasps safe with an 11-13 win.

It was absolute heart break for the Warriors and their faithful fans and respectfully, Wasps didn’t celebrate the win either. Sadly, the writing is on the wall for Worcester.

By Rhiannon Chandler-Day

@RhiannonCDay

To see more from Rhiannon, please check out her blod at: rhiannonsrugbyunionblog.blogspot.co.uk

Results:

Worcester Warriors 11-13 London Wasps

London Irish 23-44 Bath

Saracens 39-17 Harlequins

Gloucester 40-33 Newcastle Falcons

Sale Sharks 19-6 Northampton Saints

Leicester Tigers 45-15 Exeter Chiefs

Table:

Aviva Premiership Table

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Saracens

17

15

0

2

7

67

2

Northampton Saints

17

14

1

2

6

64

3

Bath

17

12

1

4

4

54

4

Leicester Tigers

17

11

2

4

6

54

5

Sale Sharks

17

10

0

7

7

47

6

Harlequins

17

10

0

7

5

45

7

London Wasps

17

7

0

10

11

39

8

Exeter Chiefs

17

7

0

10

6

34

9

Gloucester

17

6

0

11

8

32

10

London Irish

17

5

0

12

6

26

11

Newcastle Falcons

17

3

0

14

6

18

12

Worcester Warriors

17

0

0

17

6

6

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