Fixtures - Top Bar

Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 21


Dave Ewers is eyeing up an Aviva Premiership Rugby final after Exeter Chiefs put themselves in pole position to grab the second home semi-final, with a dominant 24-3 win over Wasps at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs leapfrogged Wasps into second place after a phenomenal defensive effort denied Dai Young’s side.

England Winger Jack Nowell, Olly Woodburn and Phil Dollman crossed for the hosts, but it was their defence which truly impressed.

And Ewers now believes his teammates have what it takes to go on and clinch a maiden Aviva Premiership Rugby title after what will be their first ever semi-final – with a win against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop next week enough to seal second place.

“We can look to push on now into the semis and hopefully the final too,” said 25-year-old flanker Ewers.

“It was important we turned the tide. We weren't at our best in the loss at Gloucester but we have had a good two-week break and hopefully we have turned it around now.

“It is always a tough game against Quins but hopefully with so much riding on it we can look to get a result there.

“As you could see from the crowd against Wasps, Sandy Park is an awesome place to play so if we could get a home semi it would be massive for us.”

Mark McCall paid tribute to long-serving flanker Jacques Burger after the former Namibian captain retired with a 23-14 win against Newcastle Falcons at Allianz Park, to ensure Saracens’ excellent form this season would be rewarded with a top-of-the-table finish.

A Maro Itoje score, plus two more from Jackson Wray, were enough to clinch victory as they came from 14-3 down at half-time after Marcus Watson’s first-half brace to put Dean Richards’ side to the sword.

“I sent Jacques a text during the week that said that words can’t portray the value that he has brought and they don’t really,” McCall said.

“Because you just see the Jacques Burger who is inspirational on the pitch, and everyone agrees that he is the toughest and bravest rugby player that there is.

“I think we showed our experience in the second half to be able to turn the situation around that’s the most important thing, not where we were at half time but where we were at the end of the match.”

Mathew Tait is now looking forward to a semi-final at Allianz Park against Saracens after Leicester Tigers secured a 12th consecutive top-four finish as they racked up four tries for a bonus point win against Dean Ryan’s Worcester Warriors.

Niki Goneva, Opeti Fonua, Telusa Veainu and teenage replacement Will Evans all crossed for the hosts at Welford Road, as Richard Cockerill’s side bounced back from last weekend’s Champions Cup disappointment against Racing 92.

Meanwhile Conor O’Shea is upbeat of ending his Aviva Premiership Rugby career with a top-six finish, after Kyle Sinckler’s solo score gave Harlequins a 32-25 win over London Irish and moved O’Shea’s men into the Champions Cup places.

Harlequins had raced into a 19-3 lead through a Charlie Walker double and Ross Chisholm’s score, but Irish fought back to lead 25-22 with 15 minutes remaining, before Sinckler’s score ended their resistance and ensured they would finish bottom of this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Quins must beat title-chasing Exeter at the Stoop, but O’Shea is confident the occasion will be the perfect incentive for his men.

He said: "It's now in our control and destiny and it's going to be tough but the players are always fresher when they have something to play for.

"It's far better than being involved in a dead rubber."

On Friday, Greig Laidlaw dented Sale Sharks’ Champions Cup hopes with a masterful display out of position at fly-half – his four penalties guided the Cherry and Whites to a 12-11 win at the AJ Bell Stadium that was their first away to Sale since 2001.

Two Danny Cipriani penalties and a Johnny Leota try looked to have secured victory for Steve Diamond’s side, but instead Laidlaw stepped up to clinch victory for Gloucester and commit Sale to a first home Aviva Premiership Rugby loss of the season.

Meanwhile match-winner Stephen Myler knows Northampton Saints must improve before they travel to Kingsholm to face Gloucester, after Teimana Harrison turned in another superb shift to help overturn a 14-0 half-time deficit against Bath Rugby.

Jim Mallinder admitted he almost pulled Myler from the field in the second-half as Saints struggled back from two Jeff Williams breakaway tries at Franklin’s Gardens, but the fly-half instead kicked the winning points after scores from Harrison and hooker Mike Haywood.

Saints now sit in fifth – two points ahead of Sale and one ahead of Harlequins – and must beat a resurgent Gloucester to be sure of a Champions Cup spot, something which Myler knows will not be easy.

“We’re fighting to get into the top six and we needed to win. And we need to win this week," the 31-year-old fly-half said. 

“It was very pleasing to get the win after a shoddy performance in patches.

“Kingsholm is a tough place to go and we have to go and play well – but it is in our hands.”
Sale Sharks 11 Gloucester Rugby 12
Sale Sharks
Tries: Leota
Penalties: Cipriani 2
Gloucester Rugby
Penalties: Laidlaw 4
Referee: Thomas Foley
Leicester Tigers 31 Worcester Warriors 17
Leicester Tigers
Tries: Goneva, Fonua, Veainu, Evans
Conversions: Williams 4
Penalties: Williams

Worcester Warriors
Tries: Heem, Symons
Conversions: Heathcote 2
Penalties: Mills

Referee: Greg Garner
Attendance: 21,682
Northampton Saints 15 Bath Rugby 14
Northampton Saints
Tries: Harrison, Haywood
Conversions: Myler
Penalties: Myler

Bath Rugby
Tries: Williams 2
Conversions: Priestland 2

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Attendance: 15,249
Exeter Chiefs 24 Wasps 3
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Woodburn, Dollman, Nowell
Conversions: Steenson 3
Penalties: Steenson
Penalties: Daly
Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 12,407
London Irish 25 Harlequins 32
London Irish
Tries: Narraway, Tikoirotuma, Paice
Penalties: Brophy Clews 2
Conversions: Brophy Clews 2
Tries: Walker 2, Chisholm, Sinckler
Penalties: Botica, Evans
Conversions: Botica 2, Evans
Referee: JP Doyle
Saracens 23 Newcastle Falcons 14
Tries: Wray 2, Itoje
Conversion: Hodgson
Penalties: Hodgson 2
Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Watson 2
Conversions: Willis 2
Referee: Ian Tempest
Attendance: 9,744

Watch England's finest at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on 28 May from only £30 for adults & £15 for children. Click here for tickets

Latest News

Anthony Watson targets England jersey ahead of Bath Rugby return

Anthony Watson is a man on a mission for club and country in 2017, hell-bent on regaining his England shirt ahead…


Bristol Rugby skipper David Lemi returns for Pau clash

David Lemi returns as skipper when Bristol Rugby face Pau in the European Challenge Cup on Sunday (3pm KO). Only…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Will Spencer and Connor Braid set for Worcester Warriors debuts

Worcester Warriors duo Will Spencer and Connor Braid will make their club debuts this Saturday when they take on Newport…


Exeter Chiefs side to face Bordeaux Begles

Nothing less than victory will suffice for Rob Baxter and his Exeter Chiefs side ahead of Sunday’s European Champions Cup…

Jack Nowell in last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby final

Kurtley Beale named in Wasps team to face Connacht Rugby this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena

Kurtley Beale named in Wasps team to face Connacht Rugby this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena Wallaby signing Kurtley Beale…

Kurtley Beale will make his Wasps debut in the Champions Cup

England quartet return for Saracens European clash with Sale Sharks

Saracens have named their side to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round three of the European Rugby Champions Cup clash…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Harlequins team to play Timisoara Saracens

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Timisoara Saracens in Round 3 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at the…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Leicester Tigers team news for European Champions Cup trip to Ireland

Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs return to the Leicester Tigers line-up for Saturday's European Champions Cup trip to face Munster…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Sale Sharks name side to face Saracens in European Rugby Champions Cup

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Saturday (kick off…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Ewels and Stooke back for Bath Rugby

Charlie Ewels and Elliott Stooke both return to the Bath Rugby starting line-up tomorrow when they face Cardiff Blues in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Fisher hails ‘outstanding’ Gloucester Rugby after La Rochelle win

Gloucester Rugby ran in four tries as they romped to an impressive European Rugby Challenge Cup win over La Rochelle,…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Shervington re-joins Wasps on short-term contract

Edd Shervington has signed a three-month contract with the club to provide cover at hooker, following injuries to Tom Cruse…

Edd Shervington

Dean Hammond – We’ll play a positive brand of rugby

Winger Dean Hammond insists Worcester Warriors will play a positive brand of rugby as they prepare for Saturday's European Challenge…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

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…


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

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…


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

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…


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

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