Another weekend in the Guinness Premiership, another set of tense matches culminating in a tighter top table than at an incestuous wedding.
On Friday night Sale did wonders for their play-off aspirations by defeating Bath at home 22 – 6. A try by Oriol Ripol and 17 points from the boot of Charlie Hodgson resulted in Sale cementing fifth spot and Bath losing their grip on the number one slot.
On Saturday Wasps turned the tables on Leicester by avenging their cup loss, beating the Tigers at Welford Road 24 – 19. Wasps managed to recreate their defensive form of last season to frustrate the midlanders. A dominant forwards display coupled with excellent scores from Waters (2) and Cipriani sealed the victory which leaves Leicester in a precarious 4th and Wasps still with it all to do in 6th.
The biggest shock of the weekend was saved for Worcester who beat Gloucester for the first time in their history by 17 – 14 at Sixways. Worcester have beaten Sale, Leicester and Gloucester recently and look set to finish the season strongly, while Gloucester were lucky to return to the top of the table with their losing bonus point.
A try-less encounter at the Stoop was memorable for a ridiculous late charge by De Wet Barry on Mathew Tait that saw both men leave the field – Barry with a red card and Tait with injury. Harlequins ran out winners 14 – 9 thanks to four Jarvis penalties and a Care drop goal. Dean Richards is calling for Danny Care to tour to NZ this summer and on current form he is easily one of the top three scrum-halves in the country.
In one of the less meaningful matches of the weekend London Irish beat Bristol 28 – 8 with tries from Hewat, Mapusua and Mackie. Irish have their more important match next weekend against Perpignan in the Heineken Cup while Bristol are looking to build for next season.
Saracens thrashed Leeds 66 – 7, scoring ten tries and converting eight. There have been very few trouncings of this nature in the Premiership this season highlighting the competitive nature of the competition. Still, every now and again a bit of a multi-try demolition provides some good entertainment.
By Jon Hobbs