Harlequins 18 – 27 Leicester Tigers
Leicester have hit a spell of forms in the past few weeks but Twickenham Stoop is not an easy place to go and win. After last weeks loss to Bath, Quins were in need of a strong performance. They started extremely well with Aaron Morrison making a telling break. They then got quick ball and James Chisholm made even more ground. They then recycled and Matt Hopper dabbed a grubber kick through which collided with the corner flag, causing the ball to come back into the hands of Alofa Alofa who dotted down. Nick Evans converted and added a penalty to give Harlequins a healthy lead at halftime. Their defence was then torn apart by scrum-half Sam Harrison who spun out a weak tackle and dotted down. It was to get even worse for Quins when Freddie Burns’ cross-field kick was gathered by Adam Thompstone however, Aaron Morrison took him out in the air. Fortunately but also very controversially, Morris was shown a yellow. They got extremely lucky with that decision but Dean Richards did award a penalty try. Bath-bound Freddie Burns then got a try for himself as he intercepted and paced away from Marland Yarde to score under the posts. Quins did get some pride back with Dave Ward scoring from a driving maul. Ruaridh Jackson had to get the kick for a losing bonus point but he struck it poorly and the came away with nothing.
Exeter Chiefs 36 – 14 Newcastle Falcons
Niki Goneva has been influentual in an improving Newcastle squad this season and he started the scoring after a great floating pass from Chris Harris set up the space near the touchline. Newcastle then nearly scored again but for an Alex Tait knock on just 5 metres from the line. The Chiefs picked the ball up and decided to play. Phil Dollman found James Short who stepped past Joel Hodgson and gassed in from his own try line! What a try! They then clattered over for another score after Harry Williams crossed the line. They then got another from some superb scrummaging gave referee Ian Tempest no choice but to give a penalty try. Sam Skinner continued the scoring by exploiting some weak Falcons tackling and the game was mearly over. James Short did add his second before the end after Will Hooley expertly grubbered through and Short picked up to top off a fantastic win.
Saracens 29 – 18 Sale Sharks
Sale Sharks have stepped up the speed and sparked their season alight. On the other hand, Saracens have differed in fortune losing to Worcester and then Gloucester last week; they needed to salvage some pride. They started with a bang as Duncan Taylor caught hold of lovely floating pass by Marcelo Bosch and managed to score Chris Ashton then got very lucky as Richard Wigglesworth box kick bounced horribly for Mike Haley and Ashton cottoned onto it and scored. Magnus Lund then scored off of a kick. Sam James grubbered beautifully and the former England second row dived onto the loose ball just before it crossed the dead ball line. Ashton, who had already got one try, was then supplying the pass to set up. He fed Brad Barritt who in turn passed to Nathan Earle who used his gas to get over in the corner. Sale would not lie down though and did manage to snatch back a try when replacement Cameron Neald somehow bumped and bustled over the line. It was only consolation however because as Saracens pushed the bonus point, they were stopped short after a knock on. No bonus point for Sarries but they had stopped their losing streak from continuing.
Northampton Saints 24 – 14 Worcester Warriors
Both teams had disappointed last round and were determined to get back on track. Worcester started brightly with Wynand Olivier made a terrific break and found the pass to Josh Adams who just managed to reach out and place the ball on the line. The Saints replied swiftly after some clean ball off the top of a lineout resulted in Teimana Harrison storming over. It didn’t take long for their second after Ken Pisi made a nice run but was tackled just short. He then offloaded off the floor to Mikey Haywood who crashed over. The Warriors were then punished for Ryan Mills’ missed penalties when Mikey Haywood crossed again courtesy of some great mauling from his fellow forwards. Bryce Heem get some pride back by scoring his own try but it was to play no futher part in the game as the valiant Saints had overcome the ferocious Warriors.
Bristol Rugby 12 – 11 Bath Rugby
To keep their hopes of staying up alive, Bristol were in desperate need of a victory over bitter rivals Bath. The men from the Rec started with pace and looked to have scored the first try through Harry Davies. But on closer inspection, it showed Will Hurrell’s tackle had pushed the 22 year old’s foot out of play. Gavin Henson was returning after a long lay off due to injury. He started the scoring with a wonderful long range drop goal to edge Bristol ahead. Rhys Preistland did notch a penalty of his own but that was cancelled out by 2 other penalties from his Welsh counterpart Gavin Henson. He then hit his third penalty of the match and Bristol were 12 points to 3 up. Bath were then denied again when it seemed Dave Denton had managed to get over. But yet again, his foot had scraped the whitewash so it was no try. Preistland did hit another penalty but what came next was under no denial by the referee. Semesa Rockoduguni picked off a loose pass and scampered in from halfway. Preistland’s missed conversion meant that Bath were trailing by a point and that was how it stayed much to the delight of Ashton Gate.
Wasps 35 – 22 Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester came into the match with high spirits after beating Saracens last week. The Ricoh Arena is always a tough place to go though and beating Wasps was not going to be easy. Jimmy Gopperth somehow crossed the line after being pushed to within a centimeter of the touchline but late replacement James Hook crossed for Gloucester after some great handling. Wasps forwards have not had the money thrown at them like the backs however, they showed their brute strength, driving Gloucester all the way over the line. Jimmy Gopperth was the beneficiary this time. David Halaifonua did score for the Cherry and Whites after out muscling Christian Wade with ease. Former Rotherham Titain, Alex Rieder, then made a beautiful break. The ball was then recycled and Danny Cipriani grubbered delightfully to Thomas Young who then found Willie Le Roux who scored on his home debut. Tom Marshall has been on fine form recently and as he stepped Christian Wade, the space opened up for Matt Scott to score his ninth try of the season. Gopperth then crossed for his hatrick after he exploited yet another maul to finish off. Wasps were never truly away though but did finally pull away in the final play. Josh Bassett used his handling to supply Wade. Gloucester had played okay however, it was not enough to overcome the mighty Wasps.