Fixtures - Top Bar

Aviva Premiership Rugby round-up: The Final Weekend

BenYoungsSaints15SB1005R

Richard Cockerill knows knockout rugby as well as anyone in Aviva Premiership Rugby – and the Leicester Tigers director of rugby insists the pressure is off his side as they head into a semi-final clash with Bath Rugby, secured in a dramatic final weekend of regular season action.

The Tigers sealed their spot at the Rec next Saturday by virtue of a 22-14 victory over East Midlands rivals Northampton Saints, Jordan Crane and Niall Morris scoring the crucial tries.

An alternative-looking Saints side led by a point at the break thanks to James Wilson’s boot, but they were overpowered in the scrum after the break – Tom Stephenson’s late try proving a consolation.

And with their run of consecutive semi-finals now stretched to 11, Cockerill hopes his side can continue their recent successes.

“This year has been one of our most difficult since I have been here,” he admitted.

“To finally get there, we’ve been through a lot as a team but we have stayed together, got stuck in every day in training and we are in the play-offs.

“We have some momentum now playing the best we’ve played all season, and we will go down there and play to win.

“I am not sure I enjoyed today too much. Saints made us work really hard, we probably didn’t play as well as we would have liked but it was job done.”

While Leicester move into the end-of-season lottery, Exeter Chiefs fell agonisingly short of their first ever Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final, despite recording a comprehensive win against Sale Sharks.

Winger Matt Jess notched a pair of scores, while Jack Nowell, Ian Whitten, Henry Slade, Ben White and Byron McGuigan got their names on the scoresheet as the Chiefs looked to put enough points on the board to secure a top four spot.

Josh Beaumont crossed twice for the visitors as Exeter’s efforts proved to be in vain – although Rob Baxter insists the future is bright at Sandy Park despite the immediate disappointment.

“We’ve got a fantastic season ahead of us next year, the Premiership is a fantastic competition and getting better all the time,” he said.

“We are back in the top tier of European competition and there will be 25 weeks on the bounce where we will be involved in the Premiership or Europe – and that is great.

“It’s going to be massively exciting and I’m looking forward to a break, but also to getting back in and seeing what we can do next year.”

Bad news for the Chiefs was great news for Saracens, as Mark McCall’s men clinched the final semi-final spot – and a trip to reigning Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Northampton Saints – by recording a ten-try triumph at London Welsh.

Chris Ashton bagged four of the scores and secured the fastest hat-trick in the league’s history in the process, while Billy and Mako Vunipola were among the other Sarries stars to pick up a five-pointer.

The winner of the Saracens – Northampton clash may be meeting Bath at Twickenham on May 30, with Mike Ford’s men warming up for next week’s showdown with the Tigers by enjoying a 50-30 West Country derby win over Gloucester.

On an afternoon littered with tries, they notched seven of their own, leading Mike Ford to reflect on a successful campaign that he hopes is still a way from being over.

“Last year we were one point off getting fourth place. This year we’re one point off top,” the Bath head coach said.

“I know we conceded 30 points and there was a bit of an end-of-season, nothing-at-stake feel to the game, but looking at the 22 matches, it’s been a great season.

“It’s a fantastic position for us to be in, playing Leicester at home with a fully fit squad. We can’t wait.”

Elsewhere, London Irish and Wasps were a point apiece off equalling the record high for an Aviva Premiership Rugby draw, the 40-40 thriller at the Madejski narrowly falling short of the 41-41 stalemate between Leicester Tigers and Gloucester from 2011.

The Exiles led at the break, but they were indebted to Andy Short’s last-gasp effort to secure the draw – a result that secured Wasps a sixth-placed finish and a spot in the European Rugby Champions Cup for next season.

And Newcastle Falcons ended their campaign with a first win in four months, Mike Blair and Andy Saull both touching down on their final appearance at Kingston Park in a 37-21 success against Harlequins.

It was a fitting time for the Falcons to return to winning ways after a hiatus stretching back to January 11, Marland Yarde and Nick Evans’ tries not enough for the defeated visitors. 

Leicester Tigers 22 Northampton Saints 14
 
Leicester Tigers
Tries: Crane, Morris
Penalties: Burns (3), Bell

Northampton Saints
Tries: Stephenson
Penalties: Wilson (3)

Attendance: 24,000
Referee: Matt Carley 

Exeter Chiefs 44 Sale Sharks 16
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Jess 2, Nowell, Whitten, Slade, White, McGuigan
Conversions: Steenson 3
Penalties: Steenson

Sale Sharks
Tries: Beaumont 2
Penalties: Cipriani 2

Attendance: 12,500
Referee: Wayne Barnes
 
London Welsh 17 Saracens 68

London Welsh
Tries: Reynolds, Elder
Conversions: Elder 2
Penalties: Elder

Saracens
Tries: B Vunipola, Strettle, M Vunipola, Ashton 4, Goode, Figallo, Hodgson
Conversions: Farrell 9

Referee: Luke Pearce

Bath Rugby 50 Gloucester Rugby 30
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Eastmond, Ford, Burgess, Devoto, Watson, Rokoduguni, Agulla
Conversions: Ford 4, Homer 2
Penalties: Ford

Gloucester Rugby
Tries: Ludlow, McColl 2, Robson
Conversions: A Thomas 2
Penalties: A Thomas 2

Attendance: 12,645
Referee: Dean Richards

London Irish 40 Wasps 40 

London Irish
Tries: Fenby, Lewington, Noakes, J Short, A Short
Conversions: Geraghty 3
Penalties: Geraghty 3

Wasps
Tries: Thompson, Tagicakibau 2, Miller, Haskell
Conversions: Goode 3
Penalties: Goode 3

Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 8,645

Newcastle Falcons 37 Harlequins 21 

Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Mayhew, Lawson, Blair, Powell, Saull
Conversions: Catterick 3
Penalties: Catterick 2 

Harlequins
Tries: Evans, Yarde
Conversions: Evans
Penalties: Evans 3

Attendance: 7,014 
Referee:Tom Foley 

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final.
 

Latest News

Fenton-Wells confident Lam will make impact at Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby flanker Nick Fenton-Wells is confident the club have acquired a top coach in Pat Lam but won’t let…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Aaron Morris desperate for Quins to sort out away form

Aaron Morris is proud of Harlequins’ record at the Stoop but the full-back has warned his teammates the season will…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Dowson and Barry educate Warriors Under 18s

Phil Dowson and Darren Barry gave some time on Monday evening to provide valuable advice to Warriors Under 18s, who…

Worcester Warriors Academy

Geoff Parling: Chiefs can draw European inspiration from last season’s heroics

Following two defeats from two, qualification for the European knock-out stages may look like mission improbable – but if there’s…

666709985_ht_1936_5ffe036790f2651d04cf02d772136916.jpg

Sam Egerton ready for fierce Lyon challenge

Scrum-half Sam Egerton believes Newcastle Falcons can push on and meet ‘fire with fire’ against Lyon in the European Rugby…

Sam Egerton making a break against Ospreys in the Challenge Cup

Premiership Rugby clubs in Europe live on TV

Aviva Premiership Rugby’s finest return to European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup action this weekend looking to build on…

tvrelease1111

Freddie Burns ecstatic to have stepped up after Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award

Freddie Burns’ impressive displays have seen him named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for November and the Leicester…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Gloucester Rugby confirm new deal for scrum-half Callum Braley

Ahead of this evening's fixture with La Rochelle, Gloucester Rugby are pleased to confirm the next re-signing for the 2017/18…

Callum Braley

Josh Beaumont backs Sale Sharks’ new boys to shine

Marquee summer signings AJ MacGinty and Josh Charnley are primed and ready to make their presence felt in the second…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Freddie Burns named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for November 2016

Leicester Tigers’ outside-half Freddie Burns has “got his strut back” and this has led to him being named Aviva Premiership…

fburns-potm-0812

Match officials for this weekend’s European fixtures

Northampton Saints will face Leinster in a rematch of the memorable 2011 final as the European Rugby Champions Cup returns…

629845781DM00026_Saracens_v

Worcester Warriors ‘unlucky’ in defeat to Wasps, says Ryan Bower

Worcester Warriors prop Ryan Bower admits it was important for his side to put in a performance against Wasps after their humbling Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat…

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

In-form Henry Purdy desperate to keep improving at Gloucester Rugby

Henry Purdy is refusing to rest on his laurels and has vowed to push on hard, despite praise from all…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Max Clark the centre of attention at Bath Rugby

Back in September – just when Bath Rugby were beginning to count on him in the centres – an ill-timed…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Seven tries success for Exeter Braves over Bath United

Exeter Braves’ Shaun Malton and Levi Davis of Bath United became the first opponents since 2005 to both score hat-tricks…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library