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Aviva Premiership Rugby round-up: Round 8

Under the watchful gaze of new England forwards coach Steve Borthwick, Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw produced a man of the match performance as his side clung on to down Worcester Warriors on Sunday.

Charlie Walker’s try double and a score from Luke Wallace had opened up a 24-3 lead for Quins at Sixways – a ground they have not lost at in 11 years.

But back came the Warriors – Marco Mama, a penalty try and Phil Dowson all crossing to trim the lead to only four points with ten minutes remaining.

Robshaw and his Quins troops rallied however to hold on and the 24-20 victory lifts them to third in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

And the flanker, who captained England during last year’s World Cup, admits his side had to work very hard to hold off the Warriors comeback.

“We always knew it was going to be tough coming up here,” he said.

“We started extremely well, got out the blocks. Having watched the games this weekend we knew that probably not a lot of rugby was going to be played – there would be a lot of focus on territory.

“And especially after last week where we were sloppy, to come here and get four points is tremendous.

“We came under a lot of pressure in that second half but credit to the guys who just about hung in there.

“Credit to them (Worcester), this is always a tough place to come, they are a tough team with a tough crowd who always give you a bit of stick.

“But we came here, did a good job and now all our focus goes to playing Sarries next week, we always enjoy playing them even if we haven’t got the greatest record.”

Quins’ next opponents Saracens are not only top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table but also unbeaten in all competitions this season.

On Saturday they produced a dominant forward display to down Leicester Tigers 26-6 – three penalty tries plus a score from Jamie George securing a bonus point win.

But it was lock George Kruis who really stood out for director of rugby Mark McCall.  

“Going away with England and becoming an international has helped his (Kruis’) confidence grow so much,” he said. 

“He's a real student of the line-out, but he's also magnificent around the park. I think he's a dead cert for a starting position for England.

“If you talk to George, he will tell you that Steve Borthwick and Paul Gustard have had a lot of influence on him.

“He's been very lucky with the people he's been associated with over the last five or six seasons.”

Elsewhere on Saturday Newcastle Falcons claimed their first win of the season with a 19-14 win over Bath Rugby at Kingston Park.

Bath had not lost there since 2003 but two late Craig Willis penalties – after Rob Vickers’ first-half try secured the win.

Bath – runners up last season – have now lost five of their eight league games this season and Mike Ford admits concern is starting to creep in.

"Credit to Newcastle – they defended really well but our players really need to have a look at themselves and question whether they were really ready to play," he said.

"It was wet and windy, but then it often is here. We have to look forward but we also have to be truthful and it's all about responsibility and you cannot just expect to turn up and win.

"The players are back in on Tuesday and I expect them to hold up their hands, talk about it and then move on."

Also on Saturday, James Hook masterminded a fine comeback from Gloucester Rugby – kicking 17 points as the Cherry & Whites saw off London Irish 27-14.

Meanwhile, Danny Cipriani kicked all 15 points – including a late drop goal – as Sale Sharks claimed a 15-9 win over Wasps.

And on Friday Northampton Saints halted their recent slide with an 8-3 win over Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens – much to Jim Mallinder’s relief.

"It was a good win for us," he said. "They're a good side who are scoring lots of tries and clearly after last week's defeat at London Irish we needed a bit of a pick-up,” he said.

"Once again our defence was outstanding, our discipline was good, we stopped them getting many penalties and putting us under pressure from their driving maul.”
Worcester Warriors 20 Harlequins 24

Tries: Mama, penalty, Dowson
Conversion: Mills
Penalties: Mills
Tries: Walker 2, Wallace
Conversions: Evans 3
Penalties: Evans
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Attendance: 9,035
Gloucester Rugby 27 London Irish 14

Gloucester Rugby
Tries: Kvesic, Burns
Conversions: Hook
Penalties: Hook 5

London Irish
Tries: Hearn, Lewington
Conversions: Noakes

Referee: Tom Foley
Attendance: 16,115
Newcastle Falcons 19 Bath Rugby 14
Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Vickers
Conversion: Willis
Penalties: Willis 4

Bath Rugby
Tries: Mercer
Penalties: Priestland 3

Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 7,075
Saracens 26 Leicester Tigers 6

Tries: Penalty 3, George 
Conversions: Hodgson 2, Farrell

Leicester Tigers
Penalties: Burns 2

Referee: Greg Garner
Attendance: 10,000
Sale Sharks 15 Wasps 9
Cipriani 4
Drop goal: Cipriani

Penalties: Gopperth 2
Drop Goal: Daly

Referee: Luke Pearce
Attendance: 7,619


Northampton Saints 8 Exeter Chiefs 3

Northampton Saints
Tries: Haywood
Penalty: Hanrahan

Exeter Chiefs
Penalty: Steenson

Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 15,430

Boxing Day Sale! Click here to grab a bargain with 20% off tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May at Twickenham.


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