Things you may have missed in round 12 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby
Round 12 delivered a three-day weekend of rugby to kick-start the new year and whole heap of drama for Gallagher Premiership rugby fans.
Saracens could not gain momentum from beating their title rivals before Christmas as they were beaten by Sale Sharks.
Meanwhile we had almost a century of minutes on the clock in the game between Worcester Warriors and Bath Rugby and a nail-biting finale.
Here’s a look at what you may have missed:
Worcester Warriors 21-19 Bath Rugby
Nearly 100 minutes were required but in the end Bryce Heem proved the matchwinner as Worcester Warriors stunned Bath Rugby 21-19 in a remarkable game at Sixways.
The visitors were reduced to 11 men by the end after a red card for Ross Batty and then sin-bins for Max Lahiff, Lucas Noguera and Aled Brew.
That eventually told as Heem went in for his second try after 98 minutes, with Duncan Weir holding his nerve to convert and cap a fantastic turnaround.
Bath had led 19-3 at the break thanks to a try from Zach Mercer and 14 points from the boot of Freddie Burns.
But Worcester slowly closed the gap with Heem’s first and the boot of Weir before the dramatic finale.
📺 18 minutes well spent!
— Worcester Warriors ⚔️ (@WorcsWarriors) 6 January 2019
Newcastle Falcons 17-38 Harlequins
Harlequins paid fitting tribute to Mike Brown on Saturday with a dominant bonus point win at Newcastle Falcons.
Quins were on top in almost every area against the Falcons from the off and climb to third as a result of the victory on the day their full-back broke the all-time club appearance record.
Another clever lineout move involving the in-form Alex Dombrandt put them in front early on as Max Crumpton went over.
Paul Gustard’s men then showed their speed out wide as both Nathan Earle and Gabriel Ibitoye burst clear for scores.
A shell-shocked Falcons, who stay bottom of the table, had no response and Jack Clifford claimed the bonus point score before the break.
Dombrandt then got his try in the second half as Quins secured just a second win on the road this season and a first in five trips to Newcastle.
Vereniki Goneva and Callum Chick’s late tries were scant consolation for Dean Richards’ side who need to turn things around and fast.
🗣 “We’ve got the momentum now; we keep it rolling”
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) 6 January 2019
Leicester Tigers 34-16 Gloucester Rugby
Jonny May took his tally of Gallagher Premiership Rugby tries to nine this season with a pair in Leicester Tigers’ 34-16 win against Gloucester Rugby.
The wing, who moved to Welford Road from the Charry & Whites, was at his brilliant best and ended the match with 131 metres made and five defenders beaten as the Tigers ran Gloucester ragged.
May scored either side of the break, while there were further scores for Jonah Holmes and George Ford – the fly-half also nailing four conversions and two penalties.
Billy Twelvetrees kicked 11 points for Gloucester, who fall to fourth in the table – two places above the Tigers.
It wasn’t always pretty but Exeter Chiefs did what they needed to do to beat West Country rivals Bristol Bears and return to the summit of Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
Chiefs flanker Sean Lonsdale grabbed his first try in the competition on 66 minutes and it proved to be the winning score as the hosts held on for a 14-9 triumph at Sandy Park.
After an early Ian Madigan penalty, Exeter had finally taken the lead just before the break when Henry Slade’s looped miss pass sent Santiago Cordero over in the corner, although two further Madigan kicks after the break gave the Bears a 9-7 advantage.
But with 15 minutes left, the impressive Jonny Hill secured an attacking lineout, a driving maul put the Chiefs in good position and a few phases later Lonsdale burrowed over to send his side back to the top.
Congratulations George Ford, who reached the double milestone of 100 penalty goals for Tigers in the Premiership and 100 conversions for the club in all competitions during yesterday’s win over Gloucester at Welford Road! pic.twitter.com/duh7VlXTzU
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) 6 January 2019
Sale Sharks 24-18 Saracens
Sale Sharks moved up into the top four after dealing Saracens’ a hammer blow in their bid to keep pace with Exeter Chiefs.
Fresh from their win over top of the table rivals, Saracen would have expected to overcome the challenge from Sale Sharks and took an early lead through the retuning Billy Vunipola.
Tries from Sam James and Denny Solomona in response allowed Sale to overturn the early deficit while Reliable kicking from Robert Du Preez took the game away from Saracens despite Nick Tompkins’ late score.
Ill-discipline from Saracens saw Owen Farrell and Christopher Tolufua receive time in the bin in a game they will likely want to forget about quickly.
How about this one-two with @DennySolomona? 🔥
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) 5 January 2019
Wasps 27-16 Northampton Saints
Joe Launchbury returned from injury and guided Wasps to a 27-16 victory against Northampton Saints at the Ricoh Arena.
It was the skipper’s first game since September and his return couldn’t have been more timely, as he lead the line and helped the hosts grind out their first Gallagher Premiership Rugby win since Round 8 against Bristol.
Josh Bassett was the first to touch down, before Juan De Jongh added another spectacular solo score.
Fraser Dingwall got his second try in as many matches to respond for Saints, but risky play by the visitors on their own line meant Willie le Roux capitalised on a misplaced offload to intercept and fall over the whitewash.
🎥“Today was about getting the result and hopefully we can build on it.”
Dai Young reflects on the 27-16 win against Northampton Saints and what it could mean for this campaign… pic.twitter.com/hFJdbNZr0H
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) 6 January 2019