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Saracens

FULL-TIME
13     13

Exeter Chiefs

Premiership | Allianz Park
15:00 (GMT) | 07-01-2017
Mc saracens80
Saracens
Mc exeter chiefs80
Exeter Chiefs
START LINE UP
  • 15 Alex Goode
  • 14 Chris Ashton
  • 13 Duncan Taylor
  • 12 Brad Barritt
  • 11 Chris Wyles
  • 10 Owen Farrell
  • 9 Richard Wigglesworth
  • 8 Billy Vunipola
  • 7 Will Fraser
  • 6 Michael Rhodes
  • 5 George Kruis
  • 4 Maro Itoje
  • 3 Petrus du Plessis
  • 2 Schalk Brits
  • 1 Mako Vunipola
RESERVES
  • 23 Marcelo Bosch
  • 22 Charlie Hodgson
  • 21 Neil de Kock
  • 20 Jackson Wray
  • 19 Jim Hamilton
  • 18 Juan Figallo
  • 17 Richard Barrington
  • 16 Jamie George
START LINE UP
  • 15 Phil Dollman
  • 14 Jack Nowell
  • 13 Henry Slade
  • 12 Ian Whitten
  • 11 Olly Woodburn
  • 10 Gareth Steenson
  • 9 Will Chudley
  • 8 Don Armand
  • 7 Julian Salvi
  • 6 Dave Ewers
  • 5 Geoff Parling
  • 4 Mitch Lees
  • 3 Harry Williams
  • 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie
  • 1 Ben Moon
RESERVES
  • 23 James Short
  • 22 Michele Campagnaro
  • 21 Dave Lewis
  • 20 Kai Horstmann
  • 19 Damian Welch
  • 18 Tomas Francis
  • 17 Alec Hepburn
  • 16 Jack Yeandle
Mc article phil dollman v bath 2016 800

Preview: Premiership, Round 13

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 15:13

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Exeter Chiefs may have made history last weekend with victory over Bath, but Phil Dollman insists the quality within the Premiership means they can't afford to ease off for a second.

The Chiefs have made impressive progress since gaining promotion in 2010, reaching their first Premiership final last year.

However, it took until the last day of 2016 for them to finally record victory over rivals Bath at the Rec in the competition, coming courtesy of two late tries from wing James Short.

That was enough to move them up to third in the table following their fifth straight league win.

But Dollman knows that, despite the win, there is still room for improvement, especially with the fact that they let Bath move into an initial 11-0 half-time lead.

And with champions Saracens next up on the horizon on Saturday, the Chiefs fullback revealed there had been a lot of important reflection over the course of this week.

"We can take a lot of confidence from the Bath game. We didn't perform but we got the result. We know we can perform better than that," he said.

"We've played a lot better than that and come out on the other end of results.

"This week is probably a good one to look at things. We got the win and that felt great. But when you analyse things, there's a lot there to be improved on and that's a good way to look at ourselves.

"I wouldn't have said there's been an easy game for a long time. It does seem like the quality of the Premiership has taken a step up in the last few years.

"We're hopefully making that step up again ourselves, stepping on from last year and improving as do the other teams so we've just got to try and improve a little bit more.

"It's a big test against Saracens, they've proven their quality already this year and previous seasons. It will give us a good indicator of where we are.

"We've improved the last five or six weeks so we can go there and see what we are about."

Despite their recent run of form, Exeter will head to Allianz Park aware they have lost their last four encounters with Saracens, including last season's Premiership Final at Twickenham.

Their most recent defeat saw Saracens run in five tries in the 13-34 loss at Sandy Park in September and Dollman admits his team must not switch off again if they want to turn the tables on their opponents.

"It's that 80 minute performance," he said. "Whenever you play Saracens if you don't put in an 80 minute performance you're going to find it tough to get a good result against them because they go again and they are looking for errors off you all the time so we've got to be very clinical.

"If we can stop them playing our game, maybe we'll get the ball back and launch against them and get on the front foot.

"They've got a strong kicking game with a strong chase but a lot of teams have in the league.

"We've got to front up to start with because if they get on us physically then you are in for a tough day.

"They played well against us last year, they really exposed us defensively so we’ve really got to be on our mettle."

We look ahead to all the Round 13 action!

Friday, January 6:

Newcastle Falcons v Bath 
(Kingston Park - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

The Falcons have scored 23 tries in the 12 rounds of the Premiership this season and 10 of those have come in the last two home games. 

Bath have not won away from home in any competition since their trip to Exeter in the Premiership on October 30.

Newcastle's solitary victory in their last dozen meetings with Bath in the Premiership was 19-14 at Kingston Park in this equivalent fixture last season played on January 2.

Teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Witty, 20 Sean Robinson, 21 Michael Young, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Fred Burdon.

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Robbie Fruean.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Keith Lewis

Saturday, January 7:

Gloucester v Worcester Warriors
(Kingsholm - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Earlier in the season this fixture produced a sensational 23-23 draw. Gloucester's five-game winning run at Kingsholm in all tournaments ended with their single point defeat to Northampton on New Year's Day.

Worcester Warriors doubled their tally of victories in the Premiership this season with their 24-17 win at home to Harlequins in Round 12. The Warriors have yet to record a single league point from their six away games in the tournament this season.

Worcester have lost just one of their last four Premiership fixtures against the Cherry & Whites and that was by only two points at Kingsholm in Round Three last season. The Warriors only victory at Gloucester in competition rugby was 13-6 in the Premiership in April 2009.

Teams:

Gloucester: 15 James Hook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck. 
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Henry Purdy.

Worcester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Phil Dowson (captain), 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Will Spencer, 21 Marco Mama, 22 Luke Baldwin, 23 Ben Howard.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Thomas Foley, Luke Pearce
TMO: David Sainsbury

Saracens v Exeter Chiefs
(Allianz Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Saracens have lost just one of their last eight first team fixtures: 11-14 at Bath in the Premiership on December 3. Sarries are unbeaten in any home game since Northampton visited Allianz Park in the Premiership on March 5.

Exeter Chiefs' solitary defeat in their last eight games in all competitions was 7-13 at home to Bordeaux in Round Three of the European Champions Cup. Exeter, along with Saracens, have the best away records in the Premiership this season, both gaining 20 points from their six trips so far. 

Saracens have won their last four encounters with the Chiefs, including last season's Premiership Final at Twickenham, since Exeter's 24-20 victory at Allianz Park in May 2015.

Teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Sam Hill, 12 Henry Slade, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Tom Johnson, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Michele Campagnaro

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton
TMO: Sean Davey

Harlequins v Sale Sharks
(Twickenham Stoop - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Harlequins are one of only three sides with a 100 percent home winning record in the Premiership this season – they have gleaned 25 of their total of 28 league points at home this campaign. 

'Quins only loss at Twickenham Stoop in any tournament since March was 24-62 to Exeter in Round 22 last season. 

The Sharks have won just once on the road in any tournament this season, 31-13 at Bristol in Round Seven of the Premiership. Sale beat Harlequins 19-10 in Salford in Round Two and have not achieved a season's double over the Londoners since 2007-08.

Teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Joe Marchant, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (captain), 8 James Chisholm, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Matt Hopper.

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Sam James, 9 James Mitchell, 8 Josh Beaumont (captain), 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Josh Charnley.

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healy, Andy Watson
TMO: Geoff Warren

Northampton Saints v Bristol
(Franklin's Gardens - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Northampton Saints have won their last two Premiership matches, at home to Sale and away at Gloucester but have not won three in a row in the tournament since March. The Saints' only loss in their last four Premiership matches at Franklin's Gardens was 16-22 to Newcastle in Round Nine. 

Bristol have won their last four matches in all tournaments, scoring 17 tries in the process compared with only 27 tries scored in their opening 14 first-team games of 2016-17.

Bristol have won their last two away games, at Pau in the European Challenge Cup and at Sale in the Premiership. 

Northampton have won their last two fixtures against Bristol in the Premiership, whilst Bristol's only win at Franklin's Gardens in any tournament since 2001 was 14-8 in the Premiership in January 2007.

Teams: 

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles.

Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Thretton Palamo 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Olly Robinson (captain), 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Luke Arscott.

Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: Steve Lee, Simon McConnell
TMO: Trevor Fisher

Sunday, January 8:

Wasps v Leicester Tigers
(Ricoh Stadium - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Wasps have lost just one of their last six first team matches: 18-20 in Connacht in Round Four of the European Champions Cup. Wasps have won their last 18 matches at the Ricoh Arena in all tournaments and have only dropped one possible league point there in any tournament this season when scoring only three tries in their 25-20 eclipsing of Exeter in Round One of the Premiership. 

Leicester Tigers only victory in their last four first team games was 18-16 at home to Munster in the European Champions Cup, during which time they have scored just two tries but conceded ten. The Tigers have a won three lost three record on the road in the Premiership this season. 

Wasps beat Leicester 34-22 at Welford Road in Round Two and have not achieved a Premiership double over their now near neighbours since 2008-09. Wasps have lost just once at home to the Tigers since 2007: 21-26 at the Ricoh Arena in May 2015.

Teams:

Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Thomas Young, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 James Haskell, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Rob Miller.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Brendon O'Connor, 7 Will Evans, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Worth, 23 Matt Smith.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Peter Allan, Jack Makepeace
TMO: Stuart Terheege

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Mc article saracens players celebrate 800

Saracens fight back to earn draw

Sat, 07 Jan 2017 17:53

PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: A late Titi Lamositele try earned 14-man Saracens the most unlikely of draws as they secured a 13-13 result at home to Exeter Chiefs.

They were up against it early on when Richard Barrington was dismissed for a high tackle and Jack Nowell's try put the visitors 10-0 up. But Saracens showed their never-say-die attitude to frustrate Exeter at every turn and slowly work their way back into the game.

Even after Steenson had made it 13-6 to Chiefs, Saracens came back, with Lamositele forcing his way over from a rolling maul and Alex Lozowski converting from out wide to seal the draw.

Elsewhere, Harlequins made it 10 wins from 10 home matches this season, but were made to work hard at Twickenham Stoop for their 29-26 triumph by a determined Sale Sharks. Two quick-fire scores shortly before the interval from Charlie Walker and Tim Swiel saw the hosts turn the game on its head, after Denny Solomona had notched up his third try in as many weeks.

Byron McGuigan and Solomona scored the only tries of the second period for the Sharks, but Swiel's boot did not waver and the 23-year-old flyhalf took his personal tally to 24 points with three penalties after half-time to edge Quins home.

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints brought an end to Bristol 's recent winning run after edging them 32-26 in an entertaining clash at Franklin's Gardens. Saints outscored their opponents by four tries to two but an impressive all round performance from flyhalf Jason Woodward, who scored 21 of his side's points, kept Bristol in the game with the scores level heading into the last 20 minutes.

However Stephen Myler's penalty and Harry Mallinder's late drop goal settled matters as the Saints won a third successive match for the first time since March, with tries from Louis Picamoles, Mike Haywood, Tom Wood and JJ Hanrahan earning the try bonus point.

In the early match, Gloucester were in seventh heaven at Kingsholm after demolishing Worcester Warriors 55-19 to increase the gap between the two West Country sides. Matt Scott grabbed a try double as Jonny May, Jacob Rowan, John Afoa, Charlie Sharples and Josh Hohneck each touched down once to earn the home side a try bonus point.

Cooper Vuna, Tevita Cavubati and Alafoti Fa'osiliva all scored for Warriors but with Bristol Rugby recording a losing bonus point against Northampton Saints, Worcester slipped to within a point of the bottom of the table.

All Saturday's scores and scorers!

Gloucester 55-19 Worcester Warriors

In a lively atmosphere at Kingsholm with the crowd knowing how vital a win would be, Gloucester got off to a quick start as Greig Laidlaw kicked a fourth-minute penalty. And after a period of pressure in the opening 15 minutes, the Cherry and Whites eventually got their reward when May crashed over in the 14th minute.

Billy Burns broke from a scrum to get the home side within five metres and when the ball was thrown wide, May ran it in - with Laidlaw adding the extras.

Five minutes later Gloucester made it two, as Hohneck turned the ball over and fed May - who in turn found Scott - who ambled over for the score. Laidlaw again accurate from the tee. But it was Worcester who hit back shortly after the half hour mark, with Vuna wriggling away from a tackle to go over. Ryan Mills kicking the conversion.

The comeback did not last long, though, and Rowan made the most of quick ball from the top of a line-out and broke a tackle to sprint over the line. Laidlaw again kicking the extras to give his side a 24-7 half-time advantage.

After a scrappy opening to the second period, it was Burns who added to Gloucester's lead, kicking a 46th-minute penalty. And it took another 12 minutes for the home side to add to their score when prop Afoa profited from May's fine charge down and run, to earn Gloucester their try bonus point.

Billy Twelvetrees then added the conversion to put his side 27 points ahead, with 20 minutes still to play. And five minutes later Sharples extended their advantage after Ross Moriarty secured a line-out and Gloucester got their rolling maul going.

The drive got them within reach of the line and when Ben Vellacott fed Sharples, the wing side-stepped his man to touch down for try number five. Twelvetrees adding the extras. And the sixth came soon after, with Scott grabbing his second by showing great pace to run in a loose ball and set up a simple Twelvetrees conversion.

The visitors were not going out without a fight though, and Cavubati dived over after stealing the ball.

But Gloucester were not done, either, with Hohneck getting in on the act as he bundled over at the base of a rolling maul. Twelvetrees again successful from the tee.

The Warriors lived up to their name and had the last word as Fa'osiliva dotted down in the 80th minute, but it was in vain as the home fans cheered in delight at the final whistle.

Scorers:

For Gloucester:
Tries: May, Scott 2, Rowan, Afoa, Sharples, Hohneck
Cons: Laidlaw 3, Twelvetrees 4
Pens: Laidlaw, Burns

For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Vuna, Cavubati, Fa'osiliva
Cons: Mills 2

Teams:

Gloucester: 15 James Hook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Henry Purdy.

Worcester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Phil Dowson (captain), 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Will Spencer, 21 Marco Mama, 22 Luke Baldwin, 23 Ben Howard.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Thomas Foley, Luke Pearce
TMO: David Sainsbury

Saracens 13-13 Exeter Chiefs

Exeter started the game on the front foot and found themselves a man up after 10 minutes when Barrington was sent off. The prop caught Geoff Parling with his shoulder and was red-carded as a result, with Gareth Steenson knocking over a penalty to give his side the lead.

With Barrington off, Saracens replaced Sean Maitland with Lamositele, and Chiefs took advantage of the extra space out wide. Steenson, who had missed an early penalty, produced a delightful cross-kick and Nowell brilliantly caught it and dotted down.

Steenson nailed the conversion from out wide and Chiefs led 10-0 with quarter of an hour gone.

Saracens could have cut the deficit, only for Alex Lozowski to pull a drop goal attempt wide but he made up for it with a penalty on 23 minutes. However, with their man advantage, Exeter continued to press and it required a desperate last-ditch tackle from Michael Rhodes to stop Don Armand as he looked set to score.

Saracens produced another huge defensive stand to close out the half, forcing a penalty with Exeter pressing, to go in just seven points down at 3-10.

The second half was a tight affair and Saracens cut the deficit to four points, Lozowski slotting a second penalty after a scrum infringement. Maro Itoje was then pinged at a line-out but Steenson pulled his shot at goal to the left and the nerves went on for the visitors.

Saracens had the chance to grab the lead for the first time when Alex Goode played a grubber through but Chris Wyles couldn't get there and in the end, conceded a penalty for an intentional knock-on as he stretched for the ball.

A second chance then went begging as Lozowski's kick-through just beat Wyles into touch once again. Instead, it was Steenson who pushed Exeter's lead back to seven points with a penalty as Saracens were penalised for not rolling away.

But still Saracens would not give up, and replacement prop Lamositele was the man to emerge after an unstoppable driving maul. Lozowski knocked over the extras to level the scores.

Exeter threw everything at their hosts in the final stages but Steenson's late drop goal attempt from 45 metres out was well wide.

Scorers:

For Saracens:
Try: Lamositele
Con: Lozowski
Pens: Lozowski 2

For Exeter Chiefs:
Try: Nowell
Con: Steenson
Pens: Steenson 2

Red card: Richard Barrington (Saracens, 10)

Teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Sam Hill, 12 Henry Slade, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Tom Johnson, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Michele Campagnaro

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton
TMO: Sean Davey

Harlequins 29-26 Sale Sharks

After a scrappy start to the game from the hosts, the sides were level at 3-3 after 10 minutes with Swiel cancelling out Will Addison's early penalty after Cameron Neild was pinged.

But straight away, Quins were guilty of obstruction on Mike Haley to allow Addison another shot at goal, before a high tackle from Josh Beaumont on Mike Brown saw Swiel level arrears once more after 16 minutes.

Once the game settled down, it was Sale who fashioned the first real try-scoring opportunity on the 20-minute mark, putting huge pressure on a Quins line-out on their own 10-metre line. But while Denny Solomona eventually crossed the whitewash, referee JP Doyle ruled out the try for a forward pass by Rob Webber in the build-up.

Former Wales international Jones was then required off the bench after only 21 minutes as both Will Collier and Evans became the second and third front-row casualties of the afternoon, with Kyle Sinckler the other replacement.

And things soon went from bad to worse for the hosts. Solomona was not to be denied for a second time as the Sharks sliced through the middle of the park. The score was confirmed by the TMO and Addison made no mistake with the conversion to make the scoreline 13-6 after 30 minutes.

A quick tap-and-go from Danny Care looked to have unlocked the Sharks as Marland Yarde barged his way over, but the England wing was held up.

The momentum was finally with the hosts and they took full advantage. First, Walker finished off a wonderful try after Ross Chisholm burst through the midfield and offloaded to Brown, before Swiel pounced on a loose ball on halfway and flew across the line untouched to make it 20-13 at the break.

Quins picked up where they left off on the resumption, as the Sharks were penalised for holding on and Swiel extended the lead to 10 points from the tee. But McGuigan brought the visitors right back into the contest on 49 minutes after Sale kicked to the corner from a penalty, Johnny Leota's sublime pass setting him up.

Addison's boot was wayward for the first time in the afternoon with the conversion, and when Care won another penalty shortly after, with a defender not retreating fast enough, Swiel could once again give John Kingston's side some breathing room at 26-18.

But Sale flew forward after Addison punished Swiel's dangerous tackle with another penalty, and only determined defence from Quins kept them at bay – Chisholm turning the ball over at the breakdown right in front of his own posts.

And despite their front row injury problems, the hosts' scrum was on fire in the final 10 minutes to win yet another penalty for Swiel to knock over, meaning Solomona's second score of the afternoon late on from TJ Ioane's crossfield kick was in vain.

Scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries: Walker, Swiel
Cons: Swiel 2
Pens: Swiel 5

For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Solomona 2, McGuigan
Con: Addison
Pens: Addison 3

Teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Joe Marchant, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (captain), 8 James Chisholm, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Adam Jones, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Matt Hopper.

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Sam James, 9 James Mitchell, 8 Josh Beaumont (captain), 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Josh Charnley.

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healy, Andy Watson
TMO: Geoff Warren

Northampton Saints 32-26 Bristol

Bristol started brightly and Varndell, chasing the record for the most Premiership tries, got his first sniff of the try line after a strong break by Woodward but he was bundled into touch five metres out before Woodward dragged a penalty wide.

After that miss, it turned out to be the Saints who got the first points of the afternoon on 13 minutes, with George North setting it all up with an impressive 60 metre break before the hosts eventually won a scrum and Picamoles powered over after the Bristol defence crumbled.

Myler converted for 7-0 but Bristol were able to respond with a 16th-minute Woodward penalty to cut the deficit.

And it got better for the visitors on 20 minutes when Varndell made space before putting in Olly Robinson. He was stopped but Bristol managed to keep the ball alive, with Mitch Eadie crossing from close range for his third try of the season with Woodward's conversion making it 10-7.

Bristol's confidence was plain to see, with Woodward opting for the posts rather than territory with a penalty on 29 minutes and duly dissected the posts on the angle from 45 metres out for 13-7.

But Northampton were proving equally dangerous in attack and piled the pressure on the Bristol try-line, with Alex Waller appearing to go over before the TMO ruled it out on the ground of no clear grounding over the line.

Play was brought back to an earlier penalty and Saints went again, with Mike Haywood eventually crossing the whitewash from close range on 35 minutes. Myler converted and the hosts were back in front by a point.

That was the way the score stayed heading into the break but it only took five minutes for Saints to add their third try of the afternoon as Bristol's scrum was bullied again. Picamoles then shrugged off several tackles before offloading to captain Wood to run in from 15 metres out, with Myler's extras making the score 21-13.

Bristol's Varndell continued to look dangerous with ball in hand before winning a penalty which Adrian Jarvis kicked to touch. From the resulting set piece, Bristol were able to win themselves another penalty which Woodward dispatched to bring the deficit down to five.

The flyhalf was involved again just minutes later, as an impressive counter attacking move from close to Bristol's try-line saw Varndell pick up on a defensive kick forward before Woodward claimed the offload to go over before converting for 23-21.

But Saints hit back immediately to mute the celebrating Bristol fans, as straight from the restart, Myler kicked deep with JJ Hanrahan charging down and catching the Bristol clearance to score on 56 minutes for the bonus point try.

The conversion was missed and Bristol were able to draw level at 26-26 just three minutes later, through Woodward's penalty.

But it was Saints who nudged ahead as they broke in numbers and won a penalty after Bristol were pinged for holding on, leaving Myler to dissect the posts with eight minutes left. Mallinder then added a late drop goal but Bristol did manage to pick up a losing bonus point to move within a point of second-bottom Worcester Warriors.

Scorers:

For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Picamoles, Haywood, Wood, Hanrahan
Cons: Myler 3
Pen: Myler
DG: Mallinder

For Bristol:
Tries: Eadie, Woodward
Cons: Woodward 2
Pens: Woodward 4

Teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles.

Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Thretton Palamo 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Olly Robinson (captain), 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Luke Arscott.

Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: Steve Lee, Simon McConnell
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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