Wasps stun champions at the Stoop
February 10, 2013
Sale boost their survival hopes
Try scorers in England's top division from start of leagues in 1987 (at February 8, 2013):
London Wasps climbed back into the Aviva Premiership play-off picture with a narrow 17-16 victory over Harlequins at The Stoop on Saturday night.
Wasps' deadly wing duo Tom Varndell and Christian Wade both struck to sink the leaders with Nick Evans missed the chance to pinch victory for the champions at the death. Varndell and Wade both scored first half tries and while Quins romped back, Evans missed a 78th-minute penalty which would have almost certainly won it for his side and extended their winning run to 11 matches.
Evans downed Wasps at the death in a 42-40 thriller at Twickenham on the first day on the season but he missed out this time. Instead, Wasps bounced back into the top four with a first win at the Stoop in six years, and their second away win of the campaign.
Elsewhere on Saturday, two Jonny May tries saw Gloucester move above Northampton in the Aviva Premiership as they inflicted on the hosts their fifth home defeat of the season thanks to a 27-11 triumph.
For so long a fortress, it was Northampton's third defeat at Franklin's Gardens in the league, and it was down to some magnificent Gloucester defence as Saints were twice stopped on the line and held up over it once, with the back-row duo of Sione Kalamafoni and Akapusi Qera superb.
May conjured a piece of magic in the first half and then pounced on a dropped ball for a 70 metre try for his second. After that it was dogged defence from Gloucester who took revenge for losing at home to Northampton at the start of the season.
Leicester continued their relentless charge towards an Aviva Premiership play-off place against London Welsh thanks to a 28-12 victory.
Publicly criticised for his decision to depart Welford Road this summer, George Ford produced a near-faultless display in the absence of England international Toby Flood with 13 points to keep Welsh at arm's length. Adam Thompstone scored a first-half try, with Niall Morris and Dan Bowden touching down for the Tigers after the break, while Gordon Ross scored 12 points for the Exiles.
Bath were also in action and a fluent attacking performance earned them a welcome bonus-point 32-9 victory over Worcester. It was Bath's fifth win in succession in all competitions, suggesting they are building momentum for an assault on several fronts in the last two months of the season.
First-half tries from Peter Stringer and hooker Rob Webber gave Bath a slightly shaky 13-9 lead but they ran Worcester off their feet in the second half with further tries by wings Tom Biggs and Horacio Agulla (two). Worcester's only points were three first-half penalties from Danny Gray.
At the other end of the table, on Friday night, Mark Cueto broke former team-mate Steve Hanley's Aviva Premiership try-scoring record as Sale Sharks staged a superb comeback to defeat Exeter Chiefs 21-16 at the Salford City Stadium.
Sale are scrapping for their Premiership survival and were outplayed in the opening period as Exeter dominated. A try from Watisoni Votu and eight points from the boot of Gareth Steenson eased them into a 13-5 half-time lead.
Dan Braid gave the Sharks hope when he went over, but Steenson extended the advantage early in the second half. However, the home team fought back after that and Cueto touched down for his 76th domestic score before Rob Miller kicked a penalty. And the Manchester outfit gained a vital victory through Danny Cipriani's three-pointer and Nick Macleod's drop-goal.
The win put the pressure on eleventh-placed side London Irish to perform when they came up against Saracens on Saturday and they did just do that. They responded magnificently to Sale's win as they out-battled second-placed Saracens at the Madejski Stadium to take a 29-16 victory.
It was 9-9 at the break but a crucial interception try from late call-up Shane Geraghty put the Irish on the road to victory. David Strettle pulled one back for Saracens but Ofisa Treviranus crossed for the winning score in the 68th minute.
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