Saracens make it four from four
September 29, 2013
Harlequins' Maurie Fa'asavalu gets to grips with Jacques Burger © Getty Images
Saracens made it four from four in the Aviva Premiership thanks to a hugely impressive 22-12 win over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
Owen Farrell slotted 17 points for the home side with Chris Ashton scoring their sole try thanks to a 50th minute effort. The win was Saracens' fourth in as many games this season and they sit at the top of the Aviva Premiership with 19 points to their name. Harlequins were twice reduced to 14 men with both Maurie Fa'asavalu and Joe Marler sin-binned but they only mustered 12 points from the boot of Nick Evans as Saracens, who had Jacques Burger in inspired form and also lost Alex Goode for 10 minutes, consigned the home side to their second defeat at the Stoop this season.
On Friday, George North opened his try-scoring account as Northampton returned to winning ways with a 33-14 victory over Sale at Franklin's Gardens. The British & Irish Lions winger was one of five try-scorers for the Saints as they powered past the Sharks despite suffering the only yellow card of the game. Luther Burrell, George Pisi, Lee Dickson and Phil Dowson also touched down and Stephen Myler kicked four conversions for the hosts. Mark Cueto and Marc Jones scored tries for Sale.
Leicester Tigers climbed back into the top three with a dominant 21-9 victory over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Sunday. The home side found themselves with a mountain to climb after tries from scrum-half Ben Youngs and centre Niki Goneva plus a penalty and conversion from fly-half Toby Flood put Leicester 15-0 up at the break. Home fly-half Gareth Steenson landed three penalties after the break to reduce the arrears to just six points but Flood left the Chiefs without even a losing bonus point for their efforts as he booted two more penalties to seal a 21-9 victory.
London Wasps collected their first win of the season as they downed Worcester Warriors 32-16 at Adams Park. Dean Ryan is yet to taste victory at the Warriors and they have now gone four games without a win in the 2013-14 campaign. Wasps led 11-9 at the break with Matt Mullan going over in the 29th minute against his former side but two tries in four minutes at the start of the second 40 from Christian Wade and Jake Cooper-Woolley was enough to see off the Warriors. The away side saw Josh Drauniniu crash over after 64 minutes to give them some hope of a comeback but the bonus-point clinching try from Guy Thompson extinguished those shoots of optimism.
And Bath also collected the bonus point thanks to five first-half tries as they beat London Irish 33-18 at the Recreation Ground. Jonathan Joseph got the scoreboard ticking over after just four minutes and the rest of Bath's tries came from Guy Mercer (two), a sensational solo effort from George Ford and one from Rob Webber. London Irish managed to get a try in either half with both coming from Shane Geraghty but the match was effectively over after 40 minutes with the home side holding a 33-10 lead. Bath will be waiting on injury news though with both Dave Attwood and Anthony Watson forced off with a rib and hamstring injury respectively.
In the final game of the weekend, Gloucester ended their six-year wait for a victory at Kingston Park with a 22-16 victory over Newcastle. Rob Cook and Jonny May both scored for the travelling Cherry and Whites while fly-half Freddie Burns kicked four penalties as Gloucester came from 10-0 down to seal their second win of the campaign and their first in the north east since 2007. The Falcons sped to an early lead thanks to Tom Catterick's first-minute try and masterful kicking by Rory Clegg but Gloucester hit back in the second half as Burns found his range to claim victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham