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Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 7: Round-Up

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Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admitted he breathed a sigh of relief after his side showed their killer instinct to dominate London Welsh in their last Aviva Premiership Rugby match at Adams Park.

Wasps were playing their 131st and final league game in High Wycombe before moving to Coventry and both Christian Wade and Ashley Johnson celebrated by bagging themselves a hat-trick apiece during the 71-7 triumph.

Nathan Hughes crossed the whitewash twice as Sailosi Tagicakibau, Joe Simpson and Tom Varndell also got in on the act with Ben Pienaar’s try proving the scantest of consolation for the visitors.

Young’s men now lie fifth while Welsh are rooted to the bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

“We were really nervous coming into this week and anyone who spoke to me in the week would have seen that,” said Young.

“In the past we haven't responded well to games we were expected to win but today from the word go the attitude was excellent and the really pleasing factor was we kept it going for 80 minutes.

“I’m really pleased with the players – I said to them in the week that they had to prove they had a killer instinct and we did that today.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, Saracens dropped to fourth after being denied a win with the last kick of the game against Leicester Tigers.

When the final whistle blew, the score read 21-21 but seven penalties from fly-half Charlie Hodgson had given Sarries a three point lead with less than a minute remaining.

But a last-gasp effort from Owen Williams – also adding his seventh of the match – helped the Tigers pick up two points, leaving director of rugby Mark McCall to bemoan his side's lack of restraint.

“I think our own discipline throughout the match wasn't good enough,” he said.

“It was a tight game and obviously we had a six point lead and let them back into it with some poor discipline on our side. 

“We should never have put ourselves in a position where we were relying on a call like that at the end. It's a game that we should have won, albeit it was a close one.”

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter praised his squad's ruthless opportunism after watching them upset the odds in their 24-18 triumph over Northampton Saints.

Chiefs inflicted a first home loss of the season on the champions, elevating themselves to second place in the table in the process, thanks to a first-half try double from Thomas Waldrom and one from Luke Cowan-Dickie.

They had to fend off a late Saints surge as Tom Stephenson and Jamie Elliott crossed the whitewash but Baxter believes his side showed they can go toe-to-toe with the best.

“These opportunities in the Premiership don't come that often but when they do, you've got to make the most of them if you're going to have a good season,” he said. 

“Northampton are by far the best starting team in the Premiership – you've only got to look at the points they score in the first 20 minutes.

“To get to 20 minutes and be one point in the lead was quite a telling factor for us. As much as Northampton came after us after half-time, we just had enough to see the game home.”

Bath Rugby climbed to third in the table after Gavin Henson inspired his side to a 23-14 win over Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Ground.

A 27th minute drop goal from the Welsh fly-half gave the home side the lead although the visitors responded when Mark Wilson forced himself across the line for the opening try.

The hosts fought back with a rare try from captain Stuart Hooper before Jonathan Joseph dotted down and Henson converted both.

Sinoti Sinoti crossed over late on to give Bath a scare but it proved to be nothing more than consolation as Henson kicked two penalties to condemn Newcastle to a fifth league defeat of the season.

Nick Easter notched the first try as Harlequins recorded a fourth Aviva Premiership win of the season by seeing off Gloucester Rugby 22-15 underneath the Friday night lights at Kingsholm.

Luke Wallace and Charlie Walker also dotted down as Quins secured a first win away at the Cherry & Whites since 1999.

And Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond singled out Danny Cipriani after the fly-half’s game-controlling performance helped them to a 36-8 victory over London Irish.

A pair of penalty tries as well as scores from David Seymour, Daniel Braid and Andy Forsyth gave Sale the bonus point at the AJ Bell Stadium as George Skivington touched down for Irish’s lone five-pointer.

It was the third win of the season for Sale – all of which have come at home – and Diamond admits he was delighted with the poise his team showed on their way to victory.

“Put Danny Cipriani behind a dominant pack and he shows you how he controls field position for you,” he said.

"We kept the pressure on and we were keen to build a score, but we had to get a grip of the forward pack and with those drives and those scrums, that's the Sale we know. 

“You're coming up against sides who don't know how to defend the maul and as long as one of them joins it you're in trouble, and that's what we managed to do.”

FRIDAY
 
Gloucester Rugby 15 Harlequins 22
 
Gloucester Rugby
Penalties: Twelvetrees 4, Thomas

Harlequins
Tries: Easter, Wallace, Walker
Conversion: Evans 2
Penalties: Evans

Referee: Andrew Small
Attendance: 14,303
 
Northampton Saints 18 Exeter Chiefs 24
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: Stephenson, Elliott
Conversions: Myler
Penalties: Myler 2

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Cowan-Dickie, Waldrom 2
Conversions: Steenson 3
Penalties: Steenson

Referee: Dean Richards
Attendance: 13, 362
 
SATURDAY
 
Sale Sharks 36 London Irish 8
 
Sale Sharks
Tries: Seymour, Braid, penalty 2, Forsyth
Conversions: Cipriani 3, Macleod
Penalties: Cipriani

London Irish
Tries: Skivington
Penalties: Noakes

Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 4,753
 
Bath Rugby 23 Newcastle Falcons 14
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Hooper, Joseph
Conversions: Henson 2
Penalties: Henson 2
Drop goal: Henson

Newcastle Falcons
Tries: M Wilson, Sinoti
Conversions: Socino, Clegg

Referee: Ian Tempest
Attendance: 12,877
 
SUNDAY
 
Leicester Tigers 21 Saracens 21

Leicester Tigers
Penalties: Williams 7

Saracens
Penalties: Hodgson 7

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Attendance: 21, 680
 
Wasps 71 London Welsh 7

Wasps
Tries: Hughes 2, Johnson 3, Tagicakibau, Wade 3, Simpson, Varndell,
Conversions: Goode 6, Lozowski 2
 
London Welsh
Tries: Pienaar
Conversions: Robinson
 
Referee: Tom Foley
Attendance: 5,842

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