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Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 3

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Leicester Tigers fly-half Owen Williams made his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start since January on Sunday and admits it was a dream come true to be back.

The Welshman suffered a serious knee injury at the start of 2015 and after a long period of rehab, returned off the bench for first two games of the season.

But when Tommy Bell went down with a late injury before this Sunday’s clash with Wasps – Williams was given the No.10 shirt and kicked 14 points in the victory for the Tigers.

They now have begun their season with three victories under the tutelage of new head coach Aaron Mauger and Williams is loving life again.

“I missed it a lot to be honest so it was nice to get out there and get back to winning ways with the boys,” he said. 

“Burnsy and Tommy Bell have been training all pre-season and playing really well and unfortunately Burnsy broke his jaw so it’s just nice to get some game time, to slot back in and it’s been good.

“Aaron Mauger has brought in a completely different style of play for us, talking about a lot of the detail around our carries. There is a new philosophy in terms of culture and it has bonded us together. It’s been great so far.

“We knew the threats they possess, they have a brilliant back row and their backs are pretty sharp so we had to grind a win out and that’s we have done- three from three and we are happy.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, Sam James and Will Addison both crossed for scores as Sale Sharks continued their impressive record at the AJ Bell Stadium with victory over Northampton Saints.

The Saints topped the regular season table last campaign but have only won once in their first three and director of rugby Jim Mallinder admits his side need to buck up their ideas.

"It was very disappointing. We've not got a brilliant record up here, we knew it was going to be difficult, Sale play to a certain style and they're very difficult to beat,” he said.

"We shot ourselves in the foot and when you concede two silly tries like we did, you're always fighting an uphill battle."

The other game on Sunday saw Exeter Chiefs run in six tries and gain revenge for their defeat at Kingston Park last season with a 41-3 victory over Newcastle Falcons.

Don Armand crossed twice in the win while there were also scores for Will Chudley, Julian Salvi, Matt Jess and Moray Low as they ran out comfortable winners.

On Saturday Saracens stayed a perfect three from three and top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with a 24-14 win over London Irish.

Alex Goode and Jackson Wray crossed the whitewash in the win at Allianz Park but director of rugby Mark McCall is confident his side are still improving.

"Of course we are pleased to be undefeated after three matches, but we do judge ourselves on our performance levels,” he said.

"There were aspects which were okay, but there were aspects we could improve on.

"We seemed to have the ball a lot of the time, I don't know what the stats will say but we seemed to be in their third and down there a lot without being good enough with it."

Elsewhere, Nick Evans kicked eight penalties while Danny Care and David Ward both crossed for tries in a 38-28 victory for Harlequins against Bath Rugby.

Bath paid for ill-discipline but gave the scoreline some respectability with late tries at the Rec – not that Mike Ford took any consolation.

"We're totally gutted about the performance, especially the discipline side of it,” he said.

"They took their opportunities. But I was disappointed that we compounded things. We conceded two tries – but eight kickable penalties. We couldn't get out of the rut.

"It's a good wake-up call, if we needed one. We obviously did. Everyone of us – coaches included – need to go away and think about our role in this defeat today and see how we can get better."

And finally Gloucester Rugby had to hold off a Worcester Warriors fightback to claim their first win at Kingsholm of the new season.

Cooper Vuna's try double, and one from Niall Annett, put Worcester in a position to win the game, but they were ultimately beaten 24-22 in a thrilling encounter.
 

 
SUNDAY
 
Leicester Tigers 24 Wasps 16
 
Leicester
Tries: Goneva, Veainu
Conversions: Williams
Penalties: Williams 4
 
Wasps
Tries: Cittadini
Conversion: Jackson
Penalties: Gopperth 2, Daly
 
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Attendance: 19,746
 
Sale Sharks 20 Northampton Saints 13
 
Sale
Tries: James, Addison
Cons: Cipriani 2
Pens: Cipriani 2
 
Northampton
Tries: Myler
Cons: Myler
Pens: Myler 2
 
Referee: Andrew Small
Attendance: 5,072
 
Newcastle Falcons 3 Exeter Chiefs 41

 
Newcastle Falcons
Penalty: Delany
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Chudley, Salvi, Armand 2, Jess, Low
Conversions: Steenson 4
Penalty: Steenson
 
Referee: Ian Tempest
Attendance: 5,000
 
SATURDAY
 
Gloucester Rugby 24 Worcester Warriors 22
 
Gloucester Rugby
Tries: Hibbard, Kalamafoni, Halaifonua
Penalties: Twelvetrees 3
 
Worcester Warriors
Tries: Vuna 2, Annett
Conversions: Heathcote 2
Penalties: Mills
 
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Attendance: 12,913
 
Bath Rugby 28 Harlequins 38
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Eastmond, Auterac, Rokoduguni
Conversions: Ford 2
Penalties: Ford 3
 
Harlequins
Tries: Care, Ward
Conversions: Evans 2
Penalties: Evans 8
 
Referee: Matt Carley
Attendance: 13,065
 
Saracens 24 London Irish 14
 
Saracens
Tries: Wray, Goode
Conversions: Farrell
Penalties: Farrell 4
 
London Irish
Tries: Tikoirotuma, Halavatau
Conversions: Noakes, Geraghty
 
Referee: Greg Garner
Attendance: 7,932

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem
 

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