Wasps end Quins' winning streak
London Wasps snapped Harlequins' ten-game winning streak at the Stoop with a thrilling 17-16 win on Saturday.
London Wasps snapped Harlequins' ten-game winning streak at the Stoop with a thrilling 17-16 win on Saturday.
We look at all of Saturday's action!
Harlequins 16-17 London Wasps
Nick Evans missed out on the chance to sink London Wasps for the second time this season as Premiership champions Harlequins saw their ten-game winning streak ended at the Stoop, going down 17-16.
Tom Varndell and Christian Wade both scored first-half tries and while Quins romped back, Evans missed a 78th-minute penalty which would have almost certainly won it for his side and extended their winning run to 11.
Evans downed Wasps at the death in a 42-40 thriller at Twickenham on the first day of the season but he missed out this time.
Instead, Wasps bounced back into the top four with a first win at the Stoop in six years, and their second away win of the campaign.
Wasps were handed the chance to take the lead on six minutes when Tom Guest was penalised by referee JP Doyle but Nicky Robinson was wayward with his 35-metre penalty.
But just a minute later the visitors were ahead, Varndell intercepting Evans' pass and streaking clear to dot down under the post for his 50th try for Wasps.
Evans’ night proceeded to get worse soon after when he missed a straightforward penalty and Wasps doubled their advantage on 14 minutes with a fine counter-attacking move.
Quins fullback Ross Chisholm booted straight down Varndell's throat and the ball was swiftly spread to Wade on the opposite wing.
He fed Elliot Daly who in turn found fellow centre Chris Bell, who expertly fed the supporting Wade on the outside and the England Saxons wing stormed clear for his 17th Premiership try.
On 18 minutes Harlequins finally got themselves on the scoresheet after Bell had been sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Nick Easter.
Evans this time made no mistake from the tee and three minutes later the hosts had their first try of the match through Matt Hopper.
A bulldozing run from heavyweight prop James Johnston saw Quins break the Wasps' line down the left and the ball was worked to Hopper who kicked towards the corner.
Wasps fullback Hugo Southwell appeared all set to mop up but he completely missed his kick, allowing Hopper to gather the ball and touch down under the posts, Evans adding the extras.
Daly was then short with a penalty effort from half-way before Evans trimmed the gap to just one before the interval with his second three-pointer, Wasps leading 14-13 at the break.
After the break Robinson was almost culpable for Quins' second try of the night when his kick was charged down by Evans but the Kiwi flyhalf's punt forward was wayward and Bell got back to snuff out the danger.
Harlequins continued to press but it was Wasps who scored next - Robinson on target with another penalty after an infringement from flank Luke Wallace on 60 minutes.
Evans was handed the chance to reduce the deficit to one again when Billy Vunipola was penalised for slowing the ball down but once more he dragged his effort wide.
He made up for it soon after but with another penalty but with less than two minutes to go, he missed the target again as Wasps clung on for the win.
Pens: Evans 3
For London Wasps:
Tries: Varndell, Wade
Cons: Robinson 2
Yellow card: Chris Bell (London Wasps, 18)
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Matt Hopper, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Jordan Turner-Hall.
Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (captain), 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 James Cannon, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Alex Rae, 20 Tinus Du Plessis, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Stephen Jones, 23 Charlie Hayter.
Referee: J.P. Doyle.
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Nigel Carrick.
TMO: Geoff Warren.
Bath 32-9 Worcester Warriors
Bath turned on the power in an impressive second-half display to pull away from a competitive Worcester Warriors side and record a 32-9 bonus-point victory at the Rec.
The victory was Bath's fifth in a row, and they wasted no time in building on last weekend's 32-5 demolition of Gloucester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Bath attacked from the off, winning an early line-out five metres from the Worcester try-line. Two scrums later Peter Stringer showed he had lost none of his know-how by burrowing over the whitewash from close range to make it 5-0.
Stephen Donald failed with the conversion and Worcester worked their way back into the game, winning a penalty on the Bath ten-metre line that Danny Gray - a late replacement for the sick Andy Goode - kicked for touch.
From the resulting line-out the ball was worked to David Lemi who crossed for a try only for referee Wayne Barnes to pull play back for a forward pass from Jon Clarke in the build-up.
Worcester were awarded a penalty for a Bath infringement, however, which Gray dispatched to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
Both sides exchanged penalties as Bath worked their way deep into the Worcester 22, great defending from the visitors preventing the home side from extending their lead, although they lost Dean Schofield to the sin-bin for infringing at the maul.
Bath made the extra man pay, Rob Webber using his power to drive over from close range from a line-out on 24 minutes, with Donald again wayward from the tee.
Gray swiftly narrowed the gap to 10-6 with another penalty, this time from an acute angle as the sides engaged in an aerial battle.
As the first half wound down Worcester pushed on into Bath territory and Gray was given a third opportunity with the boot, making no mistake with another penalty to make it a one-point game only for Bath to instantly reply through Donald whose penalty made it 13-9.
Worcester came out strongly in the second half, winning a line-out on half-way before Gray found touch on the Bath 22 with a penalty.
Under pressure, Dave Attwood infringed once too often for Wayne Barnes and with six minutes of the second period gone Bath were down to 14 men.
Worcester forced a series of scrums but couldn't break Bath’s resistance as hooker Aleki Lutui was held up over the try-line.
And Bath made them pay as a lovely pass from Kyle Eastmond sent Tom Biggs racing away from the chasing cover to cross in the corner and put the home side 18-9 ahead, Donald again missing the conversion.
Both sides rung the chances but it made no difference to Bath's momentum with substitute Tom Heathcote finding Eastmond whose lofted pass put away Horacio Agulla to score.
Heathcote converted the bonus point score to give Bath a 16-point lead with 16 minutes remaining. Agulla nearly made it five for Bath shortly after only for the try to be cancelled for another forward pass.
Shell-shocked Worcester continued to probe in search of a way back into the game only for Craig Gillies to see yellow with ten minutes remaining.
David Lemi joined him for an early bath as he deliberately knocked on Nick Abendanon's offload to Agulla as Worcester finished with 13 men.
Bath, looking flush with confidence, went close again when Biggs was bundled into touch five metres from the line but the pressure told when Heathcote chipped ahead for Agulla to run on and collect.
Heathcote's conversion was virtually the last kick of the game, sealing a dominant victory for the home side who strode away from Worcester after half-time.
Tries: Stringer, Webber, Biggs, Agulla 2
Cons: Heathcote 2
Pens: Gray 3
Yellow cards: Dean Schofield (Worcester, 21), Dave Attwood (Bath, 45), Craig Gillies (Worcester, 70), David Lemi (Worcester, 73)
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Kyle Eastmond, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Charlie Beech.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.
Worcester: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Jon Clarke, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Neil Best, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 James Percival (captain), 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Jake Abbott, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Josh Matavesi.
Referee: Wayne Barnes.
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Andrew Pearce.
TMO: Laurie Bryant
Northampton Saints 11-27 Gloucester
A try in each half for Jonny May was enough to secure Gloucester a rare away win as they stunned Northampton Saints 27-11 at Franklin's Gardens.
Having lost at home to London Irish in their last Premiership game a month ago, the result comes as a huge boost for the Cherry and Whites.
Northampton took an early lead when Stephen Myler slotted a fourth-minute penalty after the Gloucester scrum had been penalised.
However the Cherry and Whites hit back almost immediately, Rob Cook making no mistake from the kicking tee to even the scores.
And Cook was on target again four minutes later to give the visitors the lead as Gloucester sought a first away win in the league since September.
The visitors looked to have settled the quicker, and they produced a moment of magic to score the first try of the game.
Mike Tindall's dummy run in midfield created the space for May, who showed some great footwork to skip away from George Pisi and sprint over for the game's opening try. Cook missed the conversion but the visitors led 11-3.
Northampton were under huge amounts of pressure, but their scrum was in control, and earned Myler the opportunity to add another three points, and having previously missed a shot at goal, he made no mistake this time to bring the score back to 11-6.
Cook was showing the kicking form that had made him such an important weapon for Cornish Pirates last season, and two more penalties from him increased the lead to 17-6 with half-time fast approaching.
The fullback then went on a searing break down the left touchline as Gloucester poured forward, GJ Van Velze eventually being sent to the bin for killing the move.
However the Saints did have the consolation of holding out just before the break when Gloucester had a series of scrums five metres out.
The respite lasted only as long as the half-time interval though, with May going over for his second score a minute later.
Northampton showed ambition in midfield but a mix-up between Pisi and James Wilson allowed May to collect the ball on half-way, and from there no one was going to get back to stop him. Cook's conversion made it 24-6.
May then turned from hero to villain as Gloucester came under huge pressure from the Saints and the wing was penalised for coming in at the side and received ten minutes in the bin.
Northampton needed to score with their extra man but they blew an opportunity when Soane Tonga'uiha knocked on as he drove over the line.
They did finally manage to get over the line with 52 minutes on the clock, Phil Dowson on hand to dive over as the Gloucester defence was stretched.
Even with that score, Saints didn't help themselves, Samu Manoa being sent to the sin bin for a punch after the try was scored, and Myler's conversion effort going horribly wide.
Despite that, the home side were in the ascendancy and restored to their full complement, and they looked certain to score but after a series of drives at the Gloucester line, Mark Sorenson was isolated and the visitors earned a penalty.
Gloucester continued to manage the game well, and after a period of possession in Saints territory, an infringement at the breakdown allowed Cook to stretch the lead with three more points.
Pens: Myler 2
Tries: May 2
Pens: Cook 5
Yellow cards: Gerrit-Jan van Velze (Northampton, 35), Jonny May (Gloucester, 47), Samu Manoa (Northampton, 54)
Northampton Saints: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Phil Dowson (captain), 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 James Craig, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall (captain), 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Jonny May, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Will James, 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso d'Apice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Shane Monahan, 23 Martyn Thomas.
Referee: Martin Fox.
Assistant referees: Andrew Watson, Robin Goodliffe.
TMO: David Grashoff.
Leicester Tigers 28-12 London Welsh
Leicester continued their relentless charge towards an end-of-season play-off place with a 28-12 win against London Welsh thanks largely to the goal-kicking of departing flyhalf George Ford.
Ford produced a near-faultless display in the absence of Toby Flood, who is on international duty with England, always keeping Premiership newboys London Welsh at arm's length with 13 points.
Adam Thompstone scored a first-half try, with Niall Morris and Dan Bowden touching down for the Tigers after the break, while Gordon Ross scored 12 points for the Exiles.
With Sale winning on Friday night against Exeter, the Exiles desperately needed a win to keep some breathing space at the foot of the table.
Despite missing the likes of Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling and Martin Castrogiovanni from the Leicester pack, who are all away in Six Nations action, the Tigers dominated up front from start to finish.
Ross put Welsh on the board with a third-minute penalty before opposite number Ford kicked Tigers level one minute later and then put Leicester ahead with his second kick at goal on 11, before his 18th-minute penalty struck the post.
Tigers struggled to turn their territorial dominance into points, Welsh hacking clear from one spell deep inside their own 22 as Graham Kitchener tried to power over.
Mathew Tait jinked in from the left wing on 23 minutes but strong tackling from Greg Bateman halted the danger.
On 25 minutes some quick exchanges on the right wing released Thompstone - who skipped past Sonny Parker and touched down for a score which Ford duly converted.
Tigers - looking to secure their fifth successive win - continued to press and a powerful surge from Jordan Crane had to be stopped metres from the line.
A brief excursion into the Tigers half from wing Nick Scott was ended abruptly - Scott found space on the right only to collide with Tait just beyond the ten-metre line.
Excellent hands from Anthony Allen and Matt Smith - celebrating his 100th game - opened space for Tait but his run was halted just inside the 22.
Fullback Tait continued to look for ball in hand, breaking the gainline again with five minutes remaining only to find his path blocked by an impressive Welsh pack.
Welsh struggled to escape their half as the break approached and Ford kicked Tigers further ahead minutes before the whistle.
Tom Arscott had an early chance to narrow the gap but his 42nd-minute penalty was scuffed wide from distance.
A Leicester line-out deep inside the visitors 22 led to a long spell of pressure but flyhalf Ford failed to find Tigers' hands with a loose pass with men over on the left.
With ten minutes gone in the second half some Tigers indiscipline at the breakdown handed the visitors a penalty, which Ross slotted to bring Welsh within ten.
Ross continued the Exiles' revival minutes later with another close-range penalty, which struck the post on its way over, before adding another three-pointer on the hour.
The hosts struck back immediately, an offload from Smith - one half of the first father-son pair to play 100 games for the Tigers - found Morris for the score which Ford converted.
Tigers nearly crossed again minutes later when Allen picked a great line through the Exiles defence but was brought down ten metres short.
Phil MacKenzie came close soon after when he intercepted a pass just outside his 22 and ran the length of the field only to be brought down metres from the line.
Another long drive on 68 minutes from Welsh came up short as they failed to find a way through a sturdy Tigers defence.
Replacement Rob Lewis broke free on 70 minutes but was pulled down inside the 22, the resulting drive was halted on the line by Tigers with Ford booting clear.
With minutes remaining Tigers had a line-out metres from the line but the resulting maul couldn't gain ground as the Exiles pulled it down.
Tigers restarted quickly and replacement Bowden slipped between two challenges to cross on the left wing to score.
Tries: Thompstone, Morris, Bowden
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 3
For London Welsh:
Pens: Ross 4
Yellow cards: Mike Hills (London Irish, 34), Jordan Crane (Leicester, 60)
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Micky Young, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Geordan Murphy.
London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Sonny Parker, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Martin Purdy, 20 Ed Williamson, 21 Seb Jewell, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Rob Lewis.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth.
Assistant referees: Steve Lee, Stuart Terheege.
London Irish 29-16 Saracens
Tom Homer kicked 19 points as London Irish gave their Premiership survival bid a huge boost by inflicting a first defeat in nine games on Saracens.
With Sale Sharks beating Exeter Chiefs on Friday night the Exiles were under serious pressure at the wrong end of the Premiership table heading into their clash with Sarries and they didn't disappoint.
Homer's 19 points - plus tries from Shane Geraghty and Ofisa Treviranus - ensured the home side secured just their fourth Premiership win of the season.
Sarries - without the likes of England backs Chris Ashton, Alex Goode and Owen Farrell - saw their points come from David Strettle's try and 11 points from Charlie Hodgson but it was not enough.
Sarries drew first blood when Hodgson kicked a three-pointer however it was 3-3 when Homer made a tricky-looking penalty from out wide look easy.
Hodgson's first three-pointer wasn't the cleanest of strikes however his second attempt, after Matt Garvey was penalised for crossing, was perfectly struck to put Sarries back ahead.
Former England prop Matt Stevens was penalised for a tip-tackle on Halani Aulika on the quarter-hour mark and Homer's penalty once more levelled proceedings.
Hodgson blotted his copy book midway through the half when his third penalty attempt was off target
Pat Phibbs then wasted a golden chance to score the first try of the game for the Exiles just after the half-hour mark before Homer missed a very kickable penalty minutes later when Sarries were penalised at the scrum.
Homer made no mistake on 35 minutes when the visitors were again guilty at scrum time - the fullback kicking his side into the lead for the first time in the contest.
It was to prove to be short-lived however when the Hodgson-Homer kicking duel continued with the Sarries No.10 putting a penalty over, with the help of the crossbar.
First blood in the second half went to the home team when Saracens were penalised for going over the top and fullback Homer kicked an easy three points.
On 52 minutes Geraghty's interception try gave the home side some breathing space. The Exiles had been putting huge pressure on the visitors with a flat defensive line throughout the second half and Geraghty duly profited to run in.
Homer added the extras and the home side had a ten-point margin. The home fullback extended that lead just after the hour mark with another penalty after Steve Borthwick was penalised.
Irish were buoyant but the wind was taken firmly out of their sails when Strettle's try, plus Hodgson's extras, made it 22-16 on 66 minutes.
However minutes later Irish promptly scored a second try when Topsy Ojo's fantastic offload allowed replacement Treviranus to cross.
Another impressive kick from Homer made it 29-16 and the Exiles were able to celebrate back-to-back Premiership wins.
For London Irish:
Tries: Geraghty, Treviranus
Cons: Homer 2
Pens: Homer 5
Pens: Hodgson 3
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Guy Armitage, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (captain), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18Leo Halavatau, 19Jamie Gibson, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Steven Shingler, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 George Kruis, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 James Short.
Referee: Andrew Small.
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Ashley Rowden.