Saracens extend unbeaten run against Wasps
October 6, 2013
Will Fraser's try helped Saracens to their win © PA Photos
Saracens maintained their 100% start to the Aviva Premiership season thanks to a 19-12 win over Wasps at Allianz Park - their fifth straight victory this term. But Wasps, who ended their run of 11 successive defeats with a win over bottom-of-the-table Worcester last weekend, made them battle all the way.
England full-back Alex Goode had edged the leaders ahead with a first-half penalty, but they took a grip on the game in the second half, with flanker Will Fraser scoring their only try. Second-half replacement Owen Farrell converted before landing three late penalties to make the result safe. Wasps captain Chris Bell replied with two second-half tries, with replacement fly-half Andy Goode landing the last-kick conversion which secured the visitors a deserved losing bonus point.
Leicester Tigers played out a hard fought 19-19 draw against East Midlands rivals Northampton Saints in what was a pulsating affair at Welford Road.
The draw brings to an end Leicester's eight-match winning run over the Saints but it will be Northampton who feel aggrieved at not having collected the valuable four points. The away side led for much of the match with Stephen Myler knocking over 14 points and British & Irish Lions prop Alex Corbisiero grabbing their sole try.
Heading into the final 10 minutes of the match the Saints, who had seen potential England centre Luther Burrell walk off with what looked to be a shoulder injury, held a 10-point lead but with both teams down to 14-men - Louis Deacon and Courtney Lawes were both dispatched to the bin - the Tigers started chipping away at the deficit. First Flood knocked over his 12th point of the game and Ed Slater grabbed a 75th try to end a passage of play which saw Leicester relentlessly hammer away at Northampton's line.
With Flood's conversion the game was locked at 19 apiece and despite having an attacking scrum in the last play of the game, the Tigers failed to convert territory into points and the game ended locked in draw.
Worcester Warriors are still without a win in the 2013-14 season after Newcastle Falcons came away from Sixways with a 16-11 triumph. Former Scotland captain and scrum-half Mike Blair sent Newcastle on their way with an early try as Falcons claimed a first victory at Worcester since a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired triumph in 2004. Blair's half-back partner Rory Clegg added a conversion and two penalties, while Phil Godman kicked a late penalty to thwart a Worcester side that managed an Igancio Mieres penalty double and wing David Lemi's late touchdown.
Worcester are left propping up the table with just a couple of losing bonus points from five starts this term heading into a fortnight's break for European action. Crucially, the Warriors have now already lost at home this term to Newcastle and London Irish - two perceived rivals in the Premiership's lower region - which suggests a long road ahead for Dean Ryan's men. The Falcons, though, added Worcester to Sale's scalp on the road this season after grinding out a victory that owed so much to high levels of character and resilience.
Harlequins' Maurie Fa'asavalu attempts to make some yards against London Irish © Getty Images
London Irish, who were widely tipped to be battling relegation come the season's end, beat Harlequins 18-13 at the Madejski Stadium.
For the first 60 minutes, Quins were marginally the better side but a huge tackling effort from Irish prevented them from developing their customary free flowing game as the visitors too often gave the ball away. In addition there were three penalty misses from the Quins which cost them dear. The game turned on its head as Irish scored two tries in quick succession through Blair Cowan and Alex Lewington and despite a solo effort from Danny Care, the Irish were able to hang on for a morale-boosting victory.
In the only Sunday game, Gloucester were overpowered by a dominant Exeter pack as the Chiefs claimed an emphatic 29-12 win at Kingsholm. The visitors could even afford for fly-half Gareth Steenson to miss three of his first four shots - he ended with a 19-point haul from five penalties and conversions of tries in each half by flanker Ben White and skipper Dean Mumm, leaving Gloucester in disarray as they prepare for next week's Heineken Cup opener against Perpignan.
Danny Cipriani inspired Sale Sharks to a 19-13 win over Bath Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night. Bath had won three out of their first four games going into this encounter, but it was Sale who took a 16-10 lead into half-time. They had traded tries through Andy Forsyth and Semesa Rokoduguni but it was the kicking of Cipriani which separated them in the opening period, converting three opportunities to George Ford's one. The second period proved less eventful, with the stand-offs adding a three-pointer each as the Sharks held on for the win.
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