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Battle for the Play-Offs heats up in the Aviva Premiership

A crazy and spiteful West Country Derby, what an absolute shocker this weekend!

A game that saw two reds, five yellows, Gloucester down to 11 men and a mass brawl in the dying moments of the game. RefereeTim Wigglesworth emptied his pockets of cards with Carl Fearns, Matt Garvey, Dave Attwood, Mike Tindall and Huia Edmonds sin-binned and Sila Pilafouisi and Tavis Knoyles sent off.

A fiery finish, which saw Bath victorious with a penalty try and a 17-18 one point win. A match that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

It was 1st vs. 2nd as the Northampton Saints travelled to Allianz Park. The Saints were supposedly revitalized and ready for business with Stephen Myler and Samu Manoa back for the Saints. But Saracens were confident, composed and in control early on and even though Northampton’s surge and intensity increased in the last quarter and they came back to narrow the gap 28-24 in the dying moments, it was too late.

Bosch and Brits for Saracens, demonstrated real skill and agility today – all over the pitch. Both these sides are clinical and exceptional to watch, in my opinion, but to secure a home semi-final, Northampton need to start how they finished. Fresh back from Lanzarote – the holiday’s over.

Friday Night Lights saw 6th place Sale welcome 5th place Harlequins to Salford Stadium. It was a battle of the two fly halves with Nick Evans and Danny Cipriani on form as usual but unfortunately, Danny Cipriani was pretty much a one man band, as the Quins secured a vital 12-27 win and the bonus point try to take them into a comfortable lead. Harlequins got the job done. Are these dark horses slowly creeping into a play-off position?

Leicester welcomed London Wasps to Welford Road, and as the Tigers were intent on cementing their place in the play offs, it was all to play for. Wasps took the lead on the half hour but Niki Goneva took the Tigers to a four point lead by the interval. Tigers pulled further away from the woeful Wasps in the second half and secured their bonus point victory 27-15. Timing is everything and the possibility of a home semi-final is definitely on the cards!

It was a try fest at Sixways as the Worcester Warriors hosted Exeter Chiefs. A game that saw the Warriors chasing points from the outset as Exeter’s attack was bullish and dominant. But the home team had a five point deficit with two minutes to go and it was a narrow defeat, 33-38. A true reflection on how far the Warriors have come this season and proof that their confidence is growing game by game. But have they left it too late?

Newcastle Falcons headed to the Madjeski Stadium to take on London Irish and it was an absolute belter with a hat trick of tries by the former Falcons player Andrew Fenby being the highlight of the six try victory – Irish winning by 40 points to 12. Strength in numbers and the ability to win on home turf is what the Irish do so well.

With just three rounds left to go the battle for the play offs looks likely to get even more tense.

Results:

Gloucester 17-18 Bath

Saracens 28-24 Northampton Saints

Sale Sharks 12-27 Harlequins

Leicester Tigers 27-15 Northampton Saints

Worcester Warriors 33-38 Exeter Chiefs

London Irish 40-12 Newcastle Falcons

Aviva Premiership Table

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Saracens

19

17

0

2

8

76

2

Northampton Saints

19

14

1

4

8

66

3

Leicester Tigers

19

13

2

4

7

63

4

Bath

19

13

1

5

5

59

5

Harlequins

19

12

0

7

6

54

6

Sale Sharks

19

11

0

8

7

51

7

Exeter Chiefs

19

8

0

11

8

40

8

London Wasps

19

7

0

12

11

39

9

Gloucester

19

7

0

12

9

37

10

London Irish

19

6

0

13

7

31

11

Newcastle Falcons

19

3

0

16

7

19

12

Worcester Warriors

19

1

0

18

8

12

By Rhiannon Chandler-Day

@RhiannonCDay

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

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