The Aviva Premiership Round 10 saw some big changes in the table, which could become vital come playoff time.
Aviva Premiership Round 10
Worcester Warriors 14 Sale Sharks 18
Worcester’s recent form, with big wins over Midland rivals Northampton and Leicester, may have played on the minds of Steve Diamond’s men. They came into the contest without an away win in the league in over a year. But it was the visitors who got things underway early through an AJ MacGinty penalty, followed by Sales first try from Rohan Van Rensburg.
After a spectacular performance in his first start for Scotland against Australia. Byron McGuigan would have a game to forget. His first yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, gave the home side a chance at catching Sale before another MacGinty penalty put the Sharks in front going into the half.
Ten minutes into the second half, Worcester couldn’t capitalize when Faf de Klerk saw yellow. The home side could only manage a penalty off the boot of Chris Pennell during the sin binning period.
The Sixways faithful would have wanted to see their side break the Sale defense when a tip tackle from Byron McGuigan, earned him his second of the game, and a subsequent red card.It was the visitors who sealed it with eleven minutes to go. Down to fourteen men, Mark Jennings went over in the corner to bring Worcester back down to earth.
Northampton Saints 22 Newcastle Falcons 24
With both teams losing their last four Premiership games. The two sides would be looking to get back to winning ways at Franklins Gardens, in what would be Alex Waller’s 150th consecutive game for the Saints.
After just thirteen seconds, the home side thought they had crossed the whitewash. A referral to Television Match Official, David Grashoff, revealed a Ben Foden knock-on that chalked their score off the board.
The first points of the game came after twenty minutes, when Harry Mallinder spotted a gap in the Falcons defense and went over the line.
Sinoti Sinoti’s exceptional running ability finally brought the visitors into the fray, breaking through three defenders and dotting the ball over the line. A follow up Toby Flood conversion gave the men from the North the lead.
It was Sinoti again after a further five minutes, crashing down Saints channels and handing the ball off to Fijian international Josh Matavesi. Newcastle had their second and the Cornish man staking his claim for man of the match.
Saints went into the half two points behind the visitors. They closed the gap when Toby Flood was deemed to have brought down their driving maul before the line. Craig Maxwell-Keys would then go under the sticks for a penalty try and ten minutes on the sideline for Flood.
Jim Mallinder’s men would suffer their fifth consecutive defeat in the league after Nili Latu’s last-ditch try. A calm and collected conversion followed from Sonatane Takulua, edging the Falcons in front as the clock turned red.
Exeter Chiefs 42 Bath 29
Exeter were clinical in their defeat over third-placed side and South West rivals, Bath. Their pick and go game was too much for the visitors, and after seven minutes and eighteen phases, Luke Cowan-Dickie, in his first Premiership start since last years final, bulled his way over for the first of their six tries.
Bath’s inability to compete at the breakdown cost them dearly as Exeter exploited the wide channels. James Short’s beating of British and Irish Lions star, Anthony Watson, saw him go over in the corner.
Exeter then set up two more tries from the pick and go. The first from Mitch Lees, and the second from one of the leagues in form flankers, Don Armand.
After an impressive outing and a return to form for Exeter number eight Thomas Waldrom, the New Zealand born back-rower made it 11 from 11 in terms of scoring against every Premiership team. A feat which Jonathan Joseph later replicated, pouncing on a loose ball from the hands of Olly Woodburn, with fifteen minutes on the clock.
The Chiefs defense became lackluster in the final quarter and they allowed Bath back into bonus point territory. Conceding three more tries in the last ten minutes, putting a sour note on a game, which they had dominated for seventy minutes.
Gloucester 39 London Irish 15
With Worcester losing to Sale on Friday night, London Irish would have looked to close the gap at the bottom of the table. Gloucester, who haven’t lost a home game all season, however, would have no part in that.
An early try from Lewis Ludlow and two Billy Twelvetrees penalties had the home side in front after just twenty-two minutes. But the Exiles came back fighting when Petrus Du Plessis went over, off the back of a driving maul.
Billy Burns try before halftime was the least of the Exiles worries. Skipper David Paice was shown red for a shoulder charge off the ball on Willi Heinz. Irish would then play 40 minutes with 14 men.
It was then one-way traffic in favour of the home side. They crossed the line four more times in the second half to see off Irish’s chance at closing the gap with relegation rivals Worcester.
Wasps 32 Leicester Tigers 25
Kearnan Myall’s try at the death was the only thing separating the two sides at the final whistle. The thriller between two of the Midlands heavyweights got underway when Ben Youngs opened up the defense for brother Tom.
With the visitors in front, Wasps responded when James Gaskell tore through Leicester’s lines to set up Nizaam Carr. Dan Robson followed Carr’s try up ten minutes later when he finished off a pick and go that his forwards couldn’t complete. Elliot Daly’s kick at goal just before half time put the home side in the lead.
It was the Tigers who came out strongest at the start of the second half. Ex Wasps winger Jonah Holmes, saw the white wash twice in succession. Firstly beating Christian Wade on the outside, and then intercepting a terrible floated pass from Willie Le Roux.
Wasps then hit back as Elliot Daly raced into the corner, off the back of a questionably straight line out throw. Holmes almost made it a hat trick, but was stripped of the ball on the line. In one fluid motion, Wasps number nine, Dan Robson, defined the laws to save his side a certain try.
After a Leicester penalty to tie the game at 25 a piece, a twelve phase drive with 90 seconds on the clock, and a lovely delayed pass from Cipriani put Myall over to win it at the death.
Harlequins 20 Saracens 19
After their defeat at the hands of Harlequins, Saracens have now lost five on the bounce in all competitions and questions will surely be starting to get asked of Mike McCall’s men.
It was the visitors who got off to a fast start. After a supporting run from Brad Barritt on the shoulder of Vincent Koch and Jamie George, Sarries went over after just one minute.
It took Harlequins 25 minutes before they put their first points on the board. Danny Care’s cross-field kick fell neatly into the hands of Charlie Walker for his first of the game. Two penalties off the boot of Owen Farrell after halftime edged the European Champions further ahead. But it wouldn’t be enough to stop Quins from seizing their opportunities at home.
Ten minutes before time, Charlie Walker went in for his second of the game, bringing the home side within one point after the conversion from James Lang.
Owen Farrell would have surely thought his penalty on the 74th minute would seal the game. But Danny Care’s kicking ability was on fine display when a penalty advantage saw the England scrum-half produce another Hail Mary cross-field kick, that couldn’t be taken in by Alex Goode. The ball then fell into the hands of a waiting Tim Visser, to win it for Quins.
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