The Aviva Premiership Rugby weekend belonged to Andy Goode as records tumbled at the Ricoh Arena where the Wasps fly-half produced a Christmas cracker to remember.
In front of a record Aviva Premiership home crowd of 28,254, Goode collected a competition record 33 points as Wasps beat London Irish 48-16 to mark their arrival in Coventry on Sunday.
Joe Simpson, Goode, Elliot Daly and Andrea Masi dotted down to secure maximum points at the Ricoh, while the man-of-the-match also kicked eight penalties and a pair of conversions.
“Christmas has come early,” said Goode. “I’ll have a big Christmas dinner as well but it’s amazing.
“The boys put in some hard work up front – Ed Shervington, James Haskell – to get me some penalties to kick and then we’ve got the bonus point at the end, which makes it even more special.
“What a spectacle. To have 28,500 people, the people of Coventry have come out to support us and we’re delighted with it.
“This is my second year at the club but there are guys who have been here years and years – backroom staff, kit men and all the fans as well – and we have seen some tough times over the last few years.
“We were 20 minutes away from going bust and to see the effort that everyone off the field has put in to get to today, it just makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”
On Saturday, Saracens re-discovered their clinical edge as a Richard Wigglesworth hat-trick led them to a 78-7 thrashing of bottom club London Welsh.
Sarries ran in 11 tries in total – all but one converted by Owen Farrell – and Exiles boss Justin Burnell admitted they have no option but to produce a meaningful response next weekend.
“We've got to pick up three wins out of the next 12 games and obviously you want to hope that teams around you don't pick theirs up,” he said.
“We've got to get something out of the (London Irish) game and pick some others up. It's a huge game, and it's a game that we'll be going into to get a result and they're no different to us.”
Bath Rugby pulled one over their local rivals Gloucester as Matt Garvey crossed over twice to help inflict a 39-16 victory over the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm.
Northampton Saints battled their way to a derby victory against Leicester Tigers, despite captain Dylan Hartley’s first-half red card – Jamie Elliott flying over late on to win it 23-19 in dramatic fashion.
Fly-half Tim Swiel kicked five penalties as Harlequins saw off a plucky Newcastle Falcons side 15-7 at the Stoop, impressing director of rugby Conor O’Shea as he went.
“I thought that Matt Hopper and George Lowe in the midfield were just brilliant,” said O’Shea. “They just worked their socks off. I'm very lucky that we have got Tim Swiel down here.
“He can kick. He's a fella who I hope will have a great experience for four months and I wouldn't mind seeing a lot more of him after Super Rugby, he can play a multitude of positions and is a very talented English-qualified player.”
And the only Friday night fixture saw Sale Sharks send high-flying Exeter Chiefs back to the South West with only a losing bonus point, after Danny Cipriani and Mark Cueto each crossed the whitewash.
Wasps 48 London Irish 16
Tries: Simpson, Goode, Daly, Masi
Conversions: Goode 2
Penalties: Goode 8
Penalties: Homer 3
Referee: Tom Foley
Gloucester Rugby 16 Bath Rugby 39
Penalties: Laidlaw 3
Tries: Penalty, Garvey 2
Conversions: Ford 3
Penalties: Ford 6
Referee: Greg Garner
Northampton Saints 23 Leicester Tigers 19
Tries: Waller, Foden, Elliott
Penalties: Myler 2
Tries: Penalty, Goneva 2
Conversions: Williams, Burns
Referee: JP Doyle
Saracens 78 London Welsh 7
Tries: Vunipola 2, Sharman, Kruis, Ashton, Wray, Wigglesworth 3, Barrington, Ransom,
Conversions: Farrell 10
Referee: Ian Tempest
Harlequins 15 Newcastle Falcons 7
Penalties: Swiel 5
Tries: Al Tuilagi
Referee: Matthew Carley
Sale Sharks 18 Exeter Chiefs 11
Tries: Cueto, Cipriani
Penalties: Cipriani 2
Penalties: Steenson 2
Referee: Wayne Barnes
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