Things You May Have Missed: Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 20
Round 20 of Aviva Premiership Rugby saw some superb tries, a couple of dominant victories and an intense derby, as Northampton Saints enjoyed a first league double over Leicester Tigers since the 2003/04 season.
The Saints held off a late Tigers surge to bounce back from their humbling defeat to Saracens last weekend, in a fantastic win at Welford Road.
With six games played across the weekend, here are a few things you may have missed.
Falcons hold their nerve to win after Sale comeback
Newcastle Falcons moved back into the top four in the race for an Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final place, but they had to do it the hard way after conceding 27 unanswered points to Sale Sharks.
A flurry of tries in the opening half hour from Callum Green, Gary Graham, Simon Hammersley and Scott Lawson seemed to have given Newcastle enough for victory, only for a Ben Curry try and two from Marland Yarde to send the visitors 27-25 ahead.
That left Rob Vickers to cross three minutes from time and secure a late win, sending the Kingston Park crowd into raptures.
Locks don’t always get their name up in lights, but…
After a decade of Premiership rugby, Callum Green has scored his first Premiership try 🙌 pic.twitter.com/0Ik2YCCPXu
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 13, 2018
Simmonds hat-trick books home semi-final
Exeter Chiefs ran out comfortable winners over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium, thanks in part to a hat-trick of tries from Sam Simmonds.
Ben Moon, Mitch Lees and Jack Yeandle were also on the scoresheet as the defending champions ensured they will have play their semi-final at Sandy Park.
Joe Cokanasiga posted a try on the board for Irish, but they struggled to cope with the Chiefs’ firepower all afternoon.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) April 15, 2018
Saints topple Tigers to claim league double
It was a glorious afternoon for Northampton Saints, who responded to their 63-13 home defeat to Saracens last weekend with a spirited performance to hold off their East Midlands rivals.
In an even first half, tries from Ben Foden and Cobus Reinach for Saints cancelled out efforts from Telusa Veainu Matt Toomua.
But after half-time Ahsee Tuala went over for the decisive score, although there was still time for Jonah Holmes to cross for Tigers, only for the TMO to rule out the try for obstruction.
Leicester fly-half George Ford reached a personal milestone of 1000 Aviva Premiership Rugby points, kicking 11 points, but ended up on the losing side.
“The level of our performance has not been questioned by anyone more than ourselves.”
Stephen Myler expressed his pride in the Saints’ responce after last week, as Jamie Gibson scoops the man of the match award 👏 pic.twitter.com/TCcaffueoY
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 14, 2018
Sarries claim semi-final spot with win over Bath
Saracens matched the league leaders, Exeter, by scoring six tries of their own, and booking their place in the semi-finals in the process.
Schalk Brits and Liam Williams crossed the whitewash before half-time and after the break, the home side let loose against Bath.
Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer all got in on the act, securing a comfortable 41-6 win in a game where Chris Wyles made his 250th appearance for the club.
“That in the slips from a South African was brilliant!”
“Can we not draw up a fund to get Schalk Brits to play on for another 20 years?”
Why is this guy retiring again?!
Unreal hands 👏 pic.twitter.com/Ou1ZLkcLeQ
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 15, 2018
Gloucester late show secures crucial bonus point
Gloucester Rugby left it late to score their fourth try, with Ruan Ackermann going over on 80 minutes for the all-important bonus point against Harlequins.
Leading 13-9 at half-time, in part thanks to a Callum Braley try, the Cherry & Whites were forced to wait until the final 10 minutes for Jason Woodward, Jake Polledri and Ackermann to seal it.
Harlequins full-back Mike Brown made his 200th Aviva Premiership Rugby appearance in a landmark game for the England man, but the afternoon belonged to Gloucester as they moved up into sixth place.
That’s some fast feet from @JakePolledri right there! 👟🔥🔥
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) April 15, 2018
Wasps ease past battling Warriors
A Christian Wade double, and tries from Joe Launchbury and Josh Bassett, gave Wasps a comfortable 30-15 win over Worcester.
Two tries in the final two minutes from Dean Hammond and Josh Adams gave the scoreboard more respectability from Worcester’s perspective, and kept Adams at the top of the try-scoring charts, but Wasps were the better side for the majority of the afternoon.
The Warriors’ quest to avoid relegation continues, while Wasps moved into third spot.
Here’s today’s pic-of-the-day from the win over Worcester featuring 150 man @SimonMcIntyre3 and two-try @ChristianWade3. Ten-of-the-best from Richard Lane to follow on FB on Monday at 1pm. pic.twitter.com/c5HyTKBDXS
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) April 14, 2018