Quins upset Sarries
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Saracens unbeaten start to the season was brought to a halt by a brilliant first-half display from Harlequins as they claimed a 17-10 win at the Stoop.
The defending Premiership champions had won their last 13 games in all competitions, but found themselves 17 points down by half-time following tries for wing duo Tim Visser and Charlie Walker.
Richard Wigglesworth crossed early in the second half for Saracens as they mounted a fightback of sorts but just as they did a year ago, Quins handed the champions a first loss of the season.
In Saturday's other matches, Newcastle Falcons delivered an all-round performance to record their first away win in Aviva Premiership Rugby since October 2014, as they beat Gloucester 18-13 at Kingsholm.
At Sixways, Worcester Warriors recorded their second draw of the year as they and Sale Sharks shared nine tries and both scored try bonus points in a 34-34 thriller.
At Franklin's Gardens, Josh Bassett's late try sealed Wasps' 20-15 triumph over Northampton Saints, but in truth they were made to make very hard for their win.
We take a look at all Saturday's action!
Harlequins 17-10 Saracens
Harlequins lost Joe Marler to injury within a minute but responded with a flying start.
After an early Tim Swiel penalty, they were ten points clear when Tim Visser picked off Alex Lozowski to race 75 metres for a try.
Swiel converted to give Quins the perfect start and put the champions under real pressure for the first time this season.
It was their biggest deficit of the campaign to date but they looked to be coming back into it with one brilliant break from Alex Goode coming to naught after a wayward pass by the fullback.
Instead it was Quins who struck again, piling the pressure on the visitors. Two mauls were illegally stopped to leave Saracens on a final warning, but after they successfully stopped a third, the ball was spread wide and with extra numbers Charlie Walker had the simplest of finishes. Swiel converted from out wide to make it 17-0.
Harlequins were in control but almost gifted Saracens a try to get back in it when Mike Brown dithered and Richard Wigglesworth dived for a loose ball on the tryline.
Brown dotted it down just in time, but conceded a five-metre scrum and after a period of sustained pressure Saracens looked certain to score.
But as they were given a final warning for indiscipline, the home side were able to force a knock-on out of Mako Vunipola and clear their lines.
Saracens kept at it, but Harlequins showed their defensive resolve to keep the champions out before the break.
The champions needed a response early in the second half and they got just that with some magic from Mike Ellery.
The wing had bided his time in the first half but when the ball was shifted to the right after the break, he got away, chipped over the covering defence and then produced a perfect offload inside for Wigglesworth to jog under the posts. Lozowski slotted the conversion to cut the deficit to ten.
Things could have got even worse for Quins when Brad Barritt's wide pass looked to have put Saracens in. But some brilliant last-ditch defence, notably from Chris Robshaw, forced the error.
Quins could have extended their lead again soon after but Swiel's long-range penalty attempt came back off the post.
Saracens were proving uncharacteristically error-prone though, with one overthrown line-out and subsequent knock-on symptomatic of their struggles.
And just as Swiel had done earlier, Lozowski saw a penalty effort bounce away off the post as he looked to bring Saracens back within a score just after the hour.
He pulled a second attempt wide not long after but there was a clear sense of urgency about the visitors.
In the first half it was Saracens who had dominated at the set-piece but the tide turned after the break, and a trickle of scrum penalties eased the pressure on the home side.
Still, Saracens weren't going to go down without a fight, and after a couple of successive maul penalties, James Horwill left his partners four minutes from time as he was sent to the sin-bin.
Ben Spencer slotted the resulting penalty to make it a one-score game with three minutes to go.
But there was to be no late drama, with Saracens unable to find a way through and having to settle for a point.
Tries: Visser, Walker
Con: Swiel 2
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Danny Care (captain), 8 James Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Dave Ward, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Alofa Alofa.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Kelly Brown, 20 Scott Spurling, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Matt Gallagher.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick & Phil Watters
TMO: David Grashoff
Gloucester 13-18 Newcastle Falcons
After a cagey opening ten minutes it was Dominic Waldouck that set the game alight.
The Falcons defence wrapped up Willi Heinz as the Cherry and Whites scrumhalf tried to kick clear, and from the recycled ball play was transferred left to give the former Wasp an easy finish – Mike Delany adding the extras.
But the home side were back in it within two minutes as Billy Burns held his pass beautifully to feed Ross Moriarty, who broke through the Newcastle line to touch down – Burns kicking the conversion.
And the home side nearly went ahead shortly after 20 minutes as a darting Heinz run set up Moriarty to feed Mark Atkinson, who was brought down just a yard shy of the line.
Falcons' Will Welsh was penalised at the resulting breakdown though and Burns made no mistake from the kicking tee, giving his side a three-point lead.
In the 27th minute referee Dean Richards collided with Newcastle's Mark Wilson and required a period of treatment, with heavy strapping being applied to his left ankle.
But the man in yellow returned to the fray and saw Atkinson orchestrate another break, three minutes later, but was held up before Gloucester made the Falcons 22.
Delany got the Falcons back on level terms with three minutes remaining in the first half as they capped a period of extended pressure by forcing an indiscretion from Moriarty, within kicking range.
Gloucester attempted to force a lead at the break but Heinz's delayed pass was fumbled by Matt Scott and Newcastle saw out the clock to go in all square.
The home side almost grabbed a second try in the opening minutes of the second half but Henry Purdy knocked on when stretching to collect Burns' clever chip over the Falcons defensive line.
And they missed another chance to keep the scoreboard ticking over five minutes later, as Burns was wayward with the boot after Falcons were penalised for taking the man without the ball.
Gloucester were dominating the game and fine passing interplay between each of their back row eventually came to nothing as Ben Morgan's pass was knocked on by Purdy, again, as he tried to collect it inside the Falcons 22, with 52 minutes gone.
And after all of Gloucester's dominance it was Newcastle that went into the lead as Delany struck a long-distance penalty after the Cherry and Whites were penalised at the scrum.
From the restart Delany received the ball but kicked out on the full and Gloucester went on the attack.
But the Falcons defence stood firm and the flyhalf was eventually able to clear his lines after Gloucester were penalised at the breakdown, just five yards from the Newcastle line.
And they capitalised on the territory as a Delany-orchestrated move set up Micky Young to feed Tait, who crossed in the corner for his first try of the season, but Delany could not add the extras.
And the flyhalf was wayward from the tee again as, in the 71st minute, he missed a penalty that would have put his side 11 points clear.
Replacement Greig Laidlaw did not waste his opportunity though, and four minutes later brought his Gloucester side to within five points of Falcons with his 17th consecutive successful kick of the season.
But Falcons showed some much-needed composure to keep the ball in Gloucester territory, picking and driving at every opportunity to eat up the clock and make sure of the win – despite a missed drop goal attempt by Joel Hodgson.
Pens: Burns, Laidlaw
Tries: Waldouck, Tait
Pens: Delaney 2
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz(captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 James Hook, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Ally Hogg, 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 Alex Rogers, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Witty, 20 Daniel Temm, 21 Michael Young, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Belisario Agulla.
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson & Jonathan Healy
TMO: David Sainsbury
Worcester Warriors 34-34 Sale Sharks
Fullback Jamie Shillcock scored his first two Premiership tries for the Warriors while Will Addison got a try double for the visitors in the first half.
Jonny Arr, Perry Humphreys and Wynand Olivier also scored tries for the hosts, who saw Ryan Lamb pass 1000 Premiership points with three conversions and a penalty.
But late second-half scores from forwards Neil Briggs and Halani Aulika saw the Sharks recover from 17-31 down to take a share of the spoils.
In a see-saw first half, Addison gave the Sharks the perfect start with the opening try in just the third minute of the game.
Sale enjoyed numerous phases in the Warriors' 22 before Byron McGuigan's offload put the outside centre into a gap for his 12th Premiership try.
AJ MacGinty's successful conversion made it 7-0 and his penalty after 14 minutes stretched the visitors lead to ten points.
Fullback Shillcock crossed in the left corner to get Worcester off the mark but they conceded a second try almost immediately.
A loose ball from Lamb was picked up by Addison who had an easy run in under the posts to extend the visitors lead as MacGinty's conversion made it 17-5 to the Sharks after 20 minutes.
But the Warriors would end the half with the upper hand as, first, scrumhalf Arr successfully sniped over the line from a 5m scrum just before the half hour mark.
Wing Perry Humphreys' incisive line gave him his third try of the season and Lamb's conversion was enough to give the Warriors the lead for the first time in the game, and at the break, 19-17.
Worcester had a try bonus point barely a minute into the second half as Lamb stepped through the Sharks defence before offloading to former Springbok Olivier to score under the posts.
McGuigan was given a yellow card for the tackle on Lamb, who converted to make it 26-17, after the offload.
Jamie Shillcock then took full advantage of a Warriors turnover in their own 22 to run the length of the field for his second try of the game.
At 17-31 down, MacGinty reduced the deficit by three before hooker Neil Briggs drove over from a 5m line-out to bring the Sharks back within four points.
Lamb knocked over what proved to be a vital penalty for the hosts but a 75th-minute try from Aulikia between the sticks and MacGinty's conversion levelled the scoreline at 34-34.
The result leaves the Warriors still looking for their first win of the Premiership season.
For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Shillcock 2, Arr, Humphreys, Olivier
Cons: Lamb 3
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Addison 2, Briggs, Aulika
Cons: McGinty 4
Pens: McGinty 2
Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Phil Dowson (captain), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Tevita Cavubati, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Josh Adams, 23 Max Stelling.
Sale Sharks: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Nev Edwards, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont (captain), 7 David Seymour, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Ross Harrison, 17 Halani Aulika, 18 Andrei Ostrikov, 19 Laurence Pearce, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Dan Mugford, 23 Nick Scott.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner, Roy Maybank
TMO: David Rose
Northampton Saints 15-20 Wasps
Despite dominating in terms of territory, the hosts found themselves down at half-time after man-of-the-match Jimmy Gopperth’s superb breakaway score and penalty cancelled out George North's early try.
And despite countless opportunities, another Gopperth penalty and Josh Bassett's effort on 79 minutes meant Tom Kessell's sniping try was no more than a consolation.
North opened the scoring as Northampton made a blistering start, with the Wales international taking advantage of an overlap after Louis Picamoles made the initial break from a line-out drive.
Myler's conversion went wide, but Northampton kept up the pressure with great hands and movement in the first ten minutes – with Harry Mallinder and Courtney Lawes unlocking the Wasps defence.
A penalty into the corner brought a series of five-metre scrums and line-outs, but desperate defending from Wasps kept them at bay, before Ken Pisi's knock on under pressure from Danny Cipriani halted their progress.
Dai Young would be delighted that his defence held up under such intense pressure, but not as happy as he will have been with Wasps first try which saw them take the lead.
Having been camped in their own half they crafted a wonderful try which saw them break 95 metres for a score under the posts.
Sublime instinct from Cipriani at the base of the scrum created a two-on-two on the blindside, before he gathered his own grubber and sent Guy Thompson clear. The back row forward then drew in the last man and offloaded to Gopperth who finished off in style.
Pisi thought he had put Northampton back ahead just moments later as scythed through the Wasps line to score, but Alex Waller was penalised by the TMO for obstructing Elliot Daly.
Jamie Gibson was then pinged for not rolling away on the half hour, and Gopperth took advantage of the soft penalty to curl his effort through the uprights and put Wasps ahead by five points.
Over 35 percent of the first-half was spent inside Wasps' own 25, but for all of Northampton's pressure, they were held up for the umpteenth time in the 40th minute and went in behind at the break.
Picamoles could not quite find Pisi in the 44th minute with an offload on the tryline as Saints again came out firing.
Cipriani was forced off early in his 100th appearance for Wasps with an injury, with Kyle Eastmond replacing him and Gopperth switching to flyhalf.
The Kiwi's 53rd-minute penalty gave the visitors some breathing room as they won a scrum penalty, but Daly's long-range effort from the tee went wide a minute later after Kieran Brookes put his hands in the ruck.
Northampton continued to search for a way through Wasps' dogged defence, but the visitors were threatening on the counter with Christian Wade almost chasing down Gopperth's 64th-minute grubber only for North to clear up.
The Saints let another chance go begging with ten minutes remaining, Lawes spilling as they built the phases once again with North in acres of space on the left.
Hughes eventually saw yellow after Northampton kicked for the corner once again for pulling down the maul, and the extra man told when replacement Kessell snuck over the whitewash to set up a grandstand finish at 13-12.
But Wasps pulled the coal out of the fire to seal the victory when Bassett latched on to Dan Robson's chip through, and to add insult to injury Pisi was yellow carded for blocking the scrumhalf's chase.
Stephen Myler's last-gasp penalty earned Northampton a losing bonus, but after so many opportunities in the red zone Jim Mallinder will be disappointed it was not four points.
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: North, Kessell
Tries: Gopperth, Bassett
Cons: Gopperth 2
Pens: Gopperth 2
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Sam Dickinson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements:16 Charlie Clare, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Ahsee Tuala.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Sam Jones, 5 James Gaskell (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Kyle Eastmond, 23 Nick De Luca.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Andy Watson
TMO: Rowan Kitt