Aviva Premiership: Saracens beat Wasps, Exeter slip up
Second-placed Saracens have beaten third-placed Wasps 38-15 to maintain the pressure on Exeter Chiefs.
Sarries were up by 15 points inside the opening half-hour through tries from Chris Wyles, Alex Goode and Schalk Burger.
Wasps hit back with two tries in the last five minutes of the half though. First, a penalty try was awarded before Willie LeRoux crossed to add to Danny Cipriani’s earlier penalty.
Saracens shut Wasps out completely in the second half though, and eventually strolled to victory. Goode added his second try to secure the bonus point before Ben Spencer added a fifth try two minutes from time.
Newcastle Falcons became just the third team to defeat Exeter after a dominant first-half display set up a 28-20 victory.
Toby Flood started the scoring with the boot after two minutes before tries from Sinoti Sinoti, Vereniki Goneva and Kyle Cooper gave them a 25-3 half-time lead.
Exeter did their best to come back in the second half with tries from Sam Simmonds, Olly Woodburn and Toby Salmon but they were unable to make up the deficit.
On Saturday, struggling Northampton Saints beat fourth-placed Gloucester 22-19 in Alan Gaffney’s first match in charge.
Ken Pisi gave Northampton the lead in the 10th minute before Api Ratuniyarawa was sent to the sin-bin and a penalty try was awarded to Gloucester.
Harry Mallinder put Northampton back in front with a penalty but James Hanson’s converted try gave Gloucester a six-point lead at half-time.
John Afoa extended the lead after the restart but Nic Groom replied and Mallinder’s conversion cut the deficit to four points.
A penalty try for Northampton in the final minute gave them the victory.
Sale Sharks needed a late penalty to defeat Harlequins 30-29.
Byron McGuigan and Rohan Janse van Rensburg tries saw Sale take a 14-0 lead within the first 11 minutes but tries from Alofa Alofa, Charlie Walker, Ross Chisholm and Jamie Roberts secured Quins the bonus point.
Quins prop Joe Marler was sent off with 23 minutes remaining and an AJ MacGinty penalty followed by Van Rensburg’s second try put Sale within two points of their opponent.
Scrum-half Faf de Klerk, deputising after MacGinty went off injured, put the penalty through the posts with four minutes remaining.
Leicester Tigers poured more misery on London Irish’s season with a 19-15 victory.
Matt Toomua, Jonny May and Manu Tuilagi led Leicester to victory, with Joe Cokanasiga and Alex Lewington crossing for London Irish.
The Reading-based club have now lost 12 of their 13 league matches this season.