Premiership round-up: Wins for Worcester, Saracens and Gloucester
Last Updated: 23/03/19 8:25pm
Worcester hold out Bristol while Saracens see off Harlequins and Gloucester are too strong for Wasps.
Saracens 27-20 Harlequins
Will Skelton took centre stage at the London Stadium by rescuing Saracens with two unstoppable short-range tries in a 27-20 Gallagher Premiership victory over Harlequins.
The champions fought back from a 17-6 interval deficit through touchdowns by Schalk Burger and Skelton to breath life into a capital derby that had served up a dismal first half in front of a 42,717 crowd.
Quins were able to capitalise on the repeated mistakes made by Saracens to seize control when half-backs Marcus Smith and Danny Care crossed.
But the match was turned on its head from the moment the second half began and the fightback was done the hard way after Billy Vunipola and David Strettle had tries disallowed.
On both occasions JP Doyle's decision-making was disputed by Saracens, who claimed that the referee should have allowed the scores to stand. The second ended with Care and Liam Williams being sent to the sin-bin for a lengthy scuffle.
But the home pack had woken up and it was another muscular short-range drive by Skelton, the outstanding Australia lock who was also named man of the match, that ultimately subdued Harlequins.
Bristol Bears 25-27 Worcester
Worcester completed the double with a nail-biting 27-25 win over Bristol to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.
Warriors won 52-7 at Sixways back in October but they had to work much harder for this success and by overcoming a number of setbacks and two yellow cards to pick up a crucial win.
Ted Hill, Josh Adams and Ben Te'o scored their tries with Duncan Weir converting all three and adding two penalties.
Luke Morahan and Callum Sheedy scored tries for Bristol. There was also a penalty try award with Sheedy kicking two penalties and a conversion.
Gloucester 27-14 Wasps
Gloucester maintained their push for a Gallagher Premiership play-off place after beating Wasps 27-14 at Kingsholm.
First-half tries by captain Willi Heinz and flanker Ruan Ackermann put Wasps on the back foot, while centre Billy Twelvetrees kicked two conversions and a penalty.
Wasps have won just two of their last 14 games in all competitions, and their play-off hopes effectively evaporated despite a promising start that saw them lead through wing Marcus Watson's try and two Rob Miller penalties.
Miller booted a third penalty 17 minutes from time, and Wasps' England back Elliot Daly sent a long-range kick well wide as Gloucester had to dig deep.
But a late Twelvetrees penalty and Jake Polledri touchdown that Twelvetrees converted ensured victory.
And they remain firmly on course for a first play-off appearance since 2011, holding a top-four spot with just five league games remaining.
Newcastle 22-17 Sale Sharks
Newcastle's Premiership relegation battle is set to go right down to the wire after a 22-17 win over Sale.
The Falcons went into the match at St James' Park - billed The Big One - seven points adrift after Worcester won 27-25 at Bristol.
The Falcons clawed that back to three with a rousing second-half show in front of a crowd of 27,284 in which they came back from 10-6 down at half-time to win 22-17, with scrum-half Sonatane Takulua kicking five penalties and converting a Toby Flood try.