Harlequins deny Worcester at the Stoop
March 1, 2014
Maurie Fa'asavalu of Harlequins bulldozes into a tackle © Getty Images
Worcester Warriors fell agonisingly short of a first Aviva Premiership win of the season as they were beaten 21-20 by Harlequins in a tense encounter at the Twickenham Stoop.
The Warriors had just four losing bonus points to their name coming into the weekend but that looked like it may change in the first half as they roared into a 13-0 lead. A 30th-minute try capped a spell of pressure for the visiting side, with Mike Williams breaking through the line and releasing David Lemi to cross.
But Ben Botica nailed two penalties either side of half-time as the Warriors started to get nervy, and 15 minutes after the break Sam Smith crossed to narrow the gap to two points. A Harry Sloan try and two more kicks from Botia seemed to have ended Worcester's hopes, but Chris Pennell crossed three minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish.
Worcester finished with a lineout on the ten-metre line but were unable to do anything with the ball as their hunt for a Premiership win this season continues.
Mark Cueto runs into a London Wasps road block © Getty Images
Danny Cipriani was the hero for Sale Sharks as they came from behind to beat London Wasps 21-17 at Adams Park.
Once again Cipriani was in inspired form and it was his two late penalties, which put Sale in front and then extended the lead, which ultimately killed off London Wasps in the final 20 minutes. For the Sharks it was a third win in four games and proof they are genuine contenders for a top-four finish this season.
The visiting side started well and went over after just 11 minutes, as Dan Braid dotted down after a lovely move started by Mark Cueto, all while Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson was in the sin-bin. A hat-trick of penalties from Joe Carlisle kept Wasps in the contest, and eight minutes into the second half Carlisle redeemed himself with a 50-metre dash to score and put Wasps in front.
At 17-10 it seemed Wasps were in the ascendancy but they would not trouble the scoresheet again, and Johnny Leota's try on 55 minutes brought Sale within touching distance of the lead. And it would be down to the nerve of Cipriani, who put Sale ahead on the hour-mark from 40 metres out, before adding another three minutes from time to all but end Wasps' hopes of a top-four finish.
Ben White's dump tackle on Darren Allinson earned him 10 minutes in the bin © Getty Images
Exeter Chiefs made light work of London Irish, winning 18-0 at Sandy Park for their first victory in five games.
A cagey first half saw just two scoring opportunities converted, both by Exeter's Henry Slade from the kicking tee. But Exeter started the second half in style, going over within a minute from Phil Dollman - and Slade's conversion opened up a 13-0 lead. Ian Whitten then crossed on 66 minutes to put the gloss on a much-improved performance.
A blot on the day for Exeter was a yellow card for Ben White afer a dump tackle on Darren Allinson just before the hour-mark, though the London Irish scrum-half would finish the game in the sin-bin himself.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape