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Saints secure top 4 spot, Sale smash Chiefs, & Quins sink Tigers – Aviva Premiership Round Up

The talking point of the weekend was that you only had to look at the final scores across the board to see that more than thirty tries were run in during Round 20 of the Aviva Premiership!

The Harlequins entertained the Tigers at The Stoop, treating this game as if it were a Cup Final. The catalyst was none other than Danny Care, whose tempo and charisma shone through. Quins showcased their brilliance through a penalty try and a double whammy from Mike Brown. Even though there was a scintillating break from Manu Tuilagi, the Tigers looked a little lifeless. But the game certainly wasn’t and no game would have been complete without Mr Wigglesworth delving into his pocket as he sent both Pablo Matera and George Robson to the sin bin, leaving the crowd chanting ‘cheerio’ with 12 minutes to go. But it was a riveting 24-20 win for the Quins as they’re still hunting for that fourth position in the Premiership.

Saracens were at Kingston Park and were met by a resilient Newcastle Falcons side. Even though the 18-23 result favoured the top-placed team, the Falcons reined them in and gave them a good old-fashioned bumpy ride along the way. For Sarries though, consistency has been the key to their success and there’s no doubt they can secure a place in the Premiership final if it continues.

Northampton Saints know they have to follow suit if they want to be in with a chance of a home semi-final but they didn’t make it easy for themselves as they welcomed London Irish to Franklins Gardens.

Jamie Elliott was on fire to secure two tries in the game and Salesi Ma’afu made his mark with his first Premiership try for the Saints.

With the score 24-0 at half time, it looked as if Northampton had sealed the deal early on, but I was so very wrong. Shane Geraghty controlled the game beautifully for London Irish in the second half and their momentum saw them fight back to secure 21 points, a staggering amount in such a short space of time. A late try for Northampton widened the margin to give them a 36-21 victory but they must maintain consistency leading up to the play-offs.

The Warriors headed to The Rec to take on Bath who had a lot riding on this game, with the top end of the Premiership table still undecided in terms of play-off positions.

Bath looked to be in control with a comfortable extended lead on the brink of half-time but after two yellow cards shown to Sam Betty and George Ford, Worcester refused to surrender. The battle was a brilliant one.

The Warriors were back in the game with five minutes left to play as the score reflected, 25-20. But Matt Banahan scored Bath’s bonus point try in the final minutes of the game to secure a 32-20 victory, which puts them in third spot in the Premiership table.

London Wasps welcomed Gloucester to their temporary residence of Twickenham on Saturday and they celebrated ‘The Stinger’ in style with a 38-30 win. And what a game it was. Early on James Haskell touched down, as did Jonny May with both teams level pegging. But lightening strikes from Tom Varndell, Elliot Daly and bulldozing brilliance from Ashley Johnson saw the Wasps fly away with the lead.

Both Huia Edmonds and Freddie Burns fought back for the Cherry and Whites, with two consolation tries but it was a little too late for the West Country pack to regain any real control. A monumental day for Wasps and one that will see them edging closer to cementing seventh place in the Premiership and igniting their chances of a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Sandy Park saw the Sale Sharks bite back and who would’ve thought Exeter’s defence could disintegrate so badly in a 12-55 defeat.

The home side looked stretched on numerous occasions, which wasn’t helped either but Danny Cipriani’s sheer reliability, delivering try scoring passes here there and every where! His composure dominated the park. Exeter’s defence looked shaky and then slipped very early, to give way to a dismantling and hungry Sharks side.

It will leave the Chiefs wondering what hit them and reflecting on what can only be described as their worst Premiership performance.

Results:

Harlequins 24-20 Leicester Tigers

Newcastle Falcons 18-23 Saracens

Northampton Saints 36-21 London Irish

Bath 32-20 Worcester Warriors

London Wasps 38-30 Gloucester

Exeter Chiefs 12-55 Sales Sharks

Aviva Premiership Table

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Saracens

20

18

0

2

8

80

2

Northampton Saints

20

15

1

4

9

71

3

Bath

20

14

1

5

6

64

4

Leicester Tigers

20

13

2

5

8

64

5

Harlequins

20

13

0

7

6

58

6

Sale Sharks

20

12

0

8

8

56

7

London Wasps

20

8

0

12

12

44

8

Exeter Chiefs

20

8

0

11

8

40

9

Gloucester

20

7

0

13

9

37

10

London Irish

20

6

0

14

7

31

11

Newcastle Falcons

20

3

0

17

8

20

12

Worcester Warriors

20

1

0

19

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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