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Aviva Premiership Round Up – One round to go

Sunday was a sensational game at Sandy Park as the Harlequins travelled down to face the ferocious Exeter Chiefs. Quins knew they had to secure the win away to be in with a chance of qualifying in the Aviva Premiership play-offs.

The dynamic of the Exeter Chiefs shone through, as their physicality and creativity saw them take a 16-5 lead at half time. But the Quins craftily carved their way back into the game, scoring 25 points alone in the second half – remarkable!

It was all down to the bruising and brutal work rate from the likes of Dave Ward and the forwards, burgeoning and battering the barrier that was the Exeter defence. Eventually the Chiefs succumbed to what was such a narrow, 29-30 defeat.

Quins Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea said after the game:

“It was a rollercoaster, but I cannot credit this team enough for the belief….and the belief that will course through our players now for the “winner takes all” …we are very excited.”

A traumatic loss for the home side, with their hopes of a European position taken – but now all eyes are on the Stoop. It will be a killer game as the Harlequins welcome their biggest rivals – 4th placed Bath. Start the car Quins!!

Friday night saw Bath welcome Northampton Saints to the Rec. It was a tremendous test between the two sides and it was all to play for as the Northampton Saints had their hopes set on securing a home semi-final.

Points were exchanged from the boots of both Stephen Myler and George Ford but it was crunch time when Bath scored the first try of the game. At half time, the score was even, setting up the expectation of a frenetic nail biting second half.

The physicality and power of both sides was reflected in the score line.  A glorious try and conversion from George Ford was the talking point, along with Referee Matt Carley taking full control of the game – ending it abruptly and somewhat controversially with the restart in extra time – when suspected foul play from Courtney Lawes on George Ford was reviewed by the TMO. Saints’

Stephen Myler, whose last minute kick earned Northampton a draw at Bath, says he enjoys the pressure:

“It would be boring for me kicking goals if there’s nothing riding on it. The true test of yourself as a character, first and foremost, is can you deliver when it counts? That is what you practice for.”

Bath will feel somewhat deflated by the 19-19 draw at home, but yet again, it reaffirms the quality of players in the Aviva Premiership.

They go into Round 22, 4th in the Premiership.

Leicester Tigers travelled to the AJ Bell Stadium to face the mighty 6th place Sale Sharks. It was a stylish and easy ride for the Tigers as they took full control of the game early on and sealed a mighty 22-42 victory.

Several sensational phases of play gave way to perfection, with inside steps from Owen Williams, terrific tackles from Anthony Allen and bullish ball carries from Jordan Crane and the forward pack, enabling Leicester to take a comfortable lead.  But that said, Sale did finish with a flurry!  

Henry Thomas gave a little ‘show and go’ off the line out and Johnny Leota scored a sensational try, rocketing down half the pitch with five minutes left to play.  The Sharks then looked unstoppable until a late off-the-ball tackle on David Mele saw Tom Arscott sin binned – game over.  Leicester Tigers claimed their Premiership rugby play-off position for the tenth consecutive year. Hats off!!

The sun shone down on Allianz Park but Worcester’s sights couldn’t be clouded as nothing short of victory was the task in hand. A Warriors win – all or nothing – to prevent relegation. But as righteous as Worcester have been, the sun wasn’t shining on them and they were heading into the Championship, as the Saracens stormed to a 44-20 win.

However even though it was a mighty victory and yet another clinical performance from the Saracens, Worcester looked in contention at half-time with Chris Pennell scoring; but it was all about tries, tries and more tries – that were run in – in the second half. Two tries from Chris Ashton, three from Jackson Wray and the entire wolf pack pounding the Warriors saw them finish off the job and sadly Worcester, in style.

The Cherry and Whites took on the Exiles at the sun-kissed shed and Kingsholm. Early on, Gloucester took the lead with two tries in ten minutes from Sione Kalamafoni and Charlie Sharples. Marland Yarde responded, starting with a 60 metre sprint as he then went on to score a hat trick. Gloucester didn’t dwell and Shane Monahan added to the score and the 38-30 win on home turf for the Cherry and Whites. They look to go into next season prepared and positive.

Wasps were looking to keep their European hopes alive as they fought off the Newcastle Falcons at Adams Park. And on the back of Exeter’s loss, they secured themselves a trip to meet their French counterparts, Stade Francais, in what can only be described as luck at the last chance saloon.

It was the power up front and the fiery attacking back line that saw the Wasps take a 12 point lead at half time. The Falcons did retaliate and take the lead at one point as Noah Cato managed to put two tries in the bag. With Charlie Hayter and James Haskell yellow carded, it was a daunting sight for the London club but the Wasps managed to keep their composure and secure the 7th place in the Premiership with a 44-38 win. Wasps Andy Goode tweeted on the Quins win at Exeter, which ensured Wasps will be involved in the 7th place play off for a place in Europe: “Thanks Quins. You beauties!” Well done!!

Aviva Premiership Results:

Exeter Chiefs 29-30 Harlequins

Bath 19-19 Northampton Saints

Sale Sharks 22-42 Leicester Tigers

Saracens 44-20 Worcester Warriors

Gloucester 38-30 London Irish

London Wasps 44-38 Newcastle Falcons

Aviva Premiership Table

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Saracens

21

19

0

2

9

85 (Q)

2

Northampton Saints

21

15

2

4

9

73 (q)

3

Leicester Tigers

21

14

2

5

9

69 (q)

4

Bath

21

14

2

5

6

66

5

Harlequins

21

14

0

7

7

63

6

Sale Sharks

21

12

0

9

8

56

7

London Wasps

21

9

0

12

13

49

8

Gloucester

21

8

0

13

10

42

9

Exeter Chiefs

21

8

0

13

9

41

10

London Irish

21

6

0

15

8

32

11

Newcastle Falcons

21

3

0

18

10

22

12

Worcester Warriors

21

1

0

20

8

12 (R)

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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