Things you might have missed from Gallagher Premiership Rugby Round 13
With the Premiership Rugby Cup Final now in the diary, Gallagher Premiership Rugby made an emphatic return at the weekend – with plenty of points and exciting rugby on show.
Saracens were the big winners as they climbed back to the top of the table thanks to a win against Leicester Tigers, while Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins and Northampton Saints all made a statement.
Here’s what you might have missed.
Saracens 33-10 Leicester Tigers
Matt Gallagher stole the show with a man-of-the-match display as Saracens moved back to the top of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table with a bonus-point win against Leicester Tigers.
The full-back was superb throughout as Mark McCall’s men hit back from a half-time deficit to take their tenth win of the season.
Richard Wigglesworth got the hosts off to a flyer with a 12th-minute try but the boot of Matt Toomua and a Jonah Holmes strike on the brink of half-time nudged the Tigers ahead.
— Brad Barritt (@bradbarritt) February 17, 2019
However, Saracens dominated territory and possession in the second half, running in scores from Tom Woolstencroft, Ben Spencer and David Strettle.
Bath Rugby 30-13 Newcastle Falcons
Bath Rugby’s England internationals helped them climb to sixth in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table after an impressive 30-13 defeat of Newcastle Falcons at the Rec.
Bath are now just two points outside the top four, after a run of just one defeat from the past five Gallagher Premiership Rugby games, and also avenged a 16-8 defeat at Kingston Park back in Round 8.
Winger Semesa Rokoduguni got the first try after taking advantage of an overlap before a pair of England’s players returning from injury combined for try number two – centre Jonathan Joseph stabbed a grubber kick towards the left touchline and Joe Cokanasiga acrobatically dotted down.
Will Chudley also crossed before half-time and although Nemani Nagusa’s first Newcastle try early in the second half brought the Falcons within a score, Francois Louw burrowed over to seal victory and a bonus point.
The Falcons stay rooted to the bottom of the table, five points behind Worcester Warriors, who they face in three weeks’ time.
Gloucester Rugby 24-17 Exeter Chiefs
In the end, Gloucester Rugby were well worth their statement victory over high-flying Exeter Chiefs.
Johann Ackermann’s troops bolstered their top-four ambitions with a seventh win of the season that was as much to do with their ability to match the Chiefs in an unrelenting scrap as it was Ben Morgan’s late winning try.
— HenryTrinder (@HenryTrinder) February 16, 2019
Nic White’s decisive opener got the ball rolling but Gloucester responded with a slice of undiluted quality of their own, Ollie Thorley impressing to tee up Jason Woodward.
Willi Heinz’s second-half score was cancelled out by Tom O’Flaherty as the pendulum swung this way and that but Morgan finished off a sweeping cross-field move with four minutes to go to seal Gloucester’s success.
The hosts still had to withstand an almighty last-gasp Exeter assault but put body after body on the line to get the job done.
Bristol Bears 22-29 Wasps
Dai Young’s men made a triumphant return to Gallagher Premiership Rugby action as they held off Bristol Bears to emerge from Ashton Gate with a bonus-point win.
Thomas Young opened the scoring 11 minutes into the contest, crossing in the corner before Tom Cruse added a second for the visitors.
Wasps held a commanding 19-3 lead at the break, but Harry Randall wrenched the Bears back into contention when he burst through an opening down the left.
Will Rowlands gave Wasps further breathing room before Piers O’Connor and Charles Piutau crossed in quick succession to make the visitors sweat.
Lima Sopoaga’s penalty did just enough to see them over the line, however, and handed Wasps a first Gallagher Premiership Rugby win on the road since September.
Harlequins 47-33 Worcester Warriors
Harlequins and Worcester Warriors scored 80 points between them in a thrilling Gallagher Premiership Rugby encounter at the Stoop as the hosts came out on top.
└📁 Gallagher Premiership
└📁 Gabs gassing defenders
└📽 GabsvWorcs.mp4 pic.twitter.com/cuT9wyb0H0
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) February 17, 2019
Paul Gustard’s men were in seventh heaven after running riot against the visitors to triumph 47-33 as they made it three consecutive wins in the league to return to the top four.
A scintillating start saw them score three tries in the opening 20 minutes, with Joe Marchant, Gabriel Ibitoye and Mike Brown all getting on the board, Marcus Smith adding the extras.
Jack Singleton responded for the Warriors but Jack Clifford wrapped up the bonus point before half-time for Quins, who scored further second-half tries through Danny Care, Ben Tapuai and James Lang.
Worcester refused to go down without a fight though, with Bryce Heem, Josh Adams, Michael Heaney and Tom Howe touching down to ensure they returned home with a four-try bonus point.
Northampton Saints 67-17 Sale Sharks
Just once before Round 13 had Northampton Saints enjoyed a 50-point winning margin in Gallagher Premiership Rugby – against Sale Sharks, they pulled off a second triumph with a cushion of more than half a century.
With nine tries at Franklin’s Gardens, Chris Boyd’s side came ever-so-close to matching their 74-13 win over Wasps in 2014, their biggest-ever in the competition.
Cobus Reinach went over twice early on to begin the onslaught while his teammate Tom Collins later clinched two tries.
Tom Wood, Ashee Tuala, Taqele Naiyaravoro, George Furbank and Rory Hutchinson all also got in on the act as the Saints produced arguably their best rugby of the season so far.
Denny Solomona’s second-half effort and a penalty try helped make up the Sharks’ total as their five-match unbeaten Gallagher Premiership Rugby run came to a shuddering halt.