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Aviva Premiership
Sale Sharks stun Northampton Saints
ESPN Staff
March 22, 2014
Bath do their best to contain Blair Cowan © Getty Images
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George Ford led Bath to a 44-23 win over London Irish on Saturday, scoring 24 points of his own to ensure the club's plans for a play-off place remain intact.

The St. Patrick's Day fixture was of particular significance to the Madejski Stadium hosts, but they could have used some more fortune as Bath rallied to run rampant in the second half. London Irish managed to score the first try of the game through Topsy Ojo, and James O'Connor's contributions from the tee ensured the score line remained close come half-time. Ford's kicking accuracy proved vital in the end, slotting six penalties and three conversions in total.

Tries from Kyle Eastmond and Anthony Watson either side of the break provided an essential impact for the visiting outfit, before David Wilson, returned from his Six Nations service, burst through for a score 10 minutes from time, Matt Garvey's last-minute score wrapping up the bonus point.

Gloucester have won back-to-back home games for the first time this Aviva Premiership season, beating Newcastle Falcons 40-33 to capitalise on last month's victory over Harlequins.

The Cherry and Whites defied the odds early on at Kingsholm, fighting through James Hudson's sin binning to score through Sione Kalamafoni, a try that Newcastle would swiftly cancel out thanks to a quick answer from Chris York.

Northampton Saints' Luther Burrell tries to make a break, Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints, Aviva Premiership, AJ Bell Stadium, March 22, 2014
Luther Burrell makes some yards against Sale © Getty Images
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Rob Cook added another converted try for the hosts prior to half-time, but it was after the break that both teams really found their groove, with Hudson, Mike Tindall and Jonny May each getting their names on the scoresheet for Gloucester.

The Falcons deserve praise for the attacking manner in which they refused to go away, grabbing four second-half scores of their own through substitute George McGuigan, Andy Saull, Alex Tait and Noah Cato, with Hodgson adding a vital two points at the death to ensure the visitors go home with two points in hand.

Sale Sharks shocked league-leaders Northampton Saints 19-6 at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.

All the Saints could muster was two penalties through Will Hooley despite having the likes of George North, Luther Burrell and Dylan Hartley in their side. On the flip side, Sale managed to get across the whitewash on three occasions in the first-half. Mark Cueto struck first for the Sharks as he profited from an impressive break from Dwayne Peel.

Such was Sale's confidence, they turned down two kicks at the sticks to go for the try and the gamble paid dividends when Marc Jones went over from close range. Sam Tuitupou and Dylan Hartley were sin-binned for fighting in the 33rd minute and it was Sale who coped the better of the two teams with Tom Brady going over just before the break. Despite the Saints' best efforts they could not mount a fightback in the second 40 as the pouring rain prevented either team from troubling the scoreboard.

Pos Team P W D L F A F-A TBP LBP BP Pts
1 Saracens 17 15 0 2 475 240 +235 7 0 7 67
2 Northampton Saints 17 14 1 2 435 247 +188 5 1 6 64
3 Bath Rugby 17 12 1 4 399 301 +98 3 1 4 54
4 Leicester Tigers 16 10 2 4 355 311 +44 3 2 5 49
5 Sale Sharks 17 10 0 7 311 285 +26 2 5 7 47
6 Harlequins 17 10 0 7 314 279 +35 2 3 5 45
7 London Wasps 17 7 0 10 321 332 -11 2 9 11 39
8 Exeter Chiefs 16 7 0 9 296 290 +6 1 5 6 34
9 Gloucester Rugby 17 6 0 11 314 412 -98 2 6 8 32
10 London Irish 17 5 0 12 274 367 -93 0 6 6 26
11 Newcastle Falcons 17 3 0 14 188 397 -209 1 5 6 18
12 Worcester Warriors 17 0 0 17 207 428 -221 0 6 6 6

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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