Premiership: Exeter Chiefs extend lead at top while Bristol edge Saracens
Chiefs claim bonus-point victory over Leicester Tigers; Bristol snatch late win over Saracens; Bath beat London Irish; Gloucester crush 14-man Worcester
Last Updated: 15/08/20 7:00pm
Exeter Chiefs extended their lead at the top of the Gallagher Premiership with a 26-13 bonus-point victory over Leicester, Bristol edged past Saracens while there were big wins for Bath and Gloucester against London Irish and Worcester respectively.
England head coach Eddie Jones was in attendance at Sandy Park where Leicester started the sharper, George Ford kicking a drop-goal and a 45-metre penalty to make it 6-0 after 17 minutes.
But the Tigers' tryline came under increasing pressure as the half wore on and Exeter were rewarded when flanker Dave Ewers sneaked over in the corner, before Stuart Hogg finished off a slick backline move to make it 12-6 at the interval.
Luke Cowan-Dickie scored within two minutes of the restart while further forward power brought a penalty try, a bonus point and a 26-6 lead, with Leicester losing No 8 Jordan Taufua to the sin bin.
Exeter lock Jonny Hill was yellow-carded as a Leicester penalty try cut the gap, but the visitors lacked the necessary composure to again breach a resilient Chiefs defence.
Bristol moved second after a dramatic 16-12 victory over Saracens at Ashton Gate.
A 77th-minute penalty try, awarded when Saracens captain and England hooker Jamie George illegally entered a ruck on Saracens' line, meant Bristol triumphed.
George was also yellow-carded, and Bristol held on to clinch the win following a largely forgettable contest that saw more than 30 penalties awarded.
Bristol's major summer signings Semi Radradra and Kyle Sinckler had quiet debuts, and it looked as if Alex Goode, deputising at fly-half for Owen Farrell, had kicked Saracens home with four penalties.
Bristol also had to survive a late Saracens onslaught following their replacement prop Max Lahiff's sin-binning.
But they prevailed courtesy of three Callum Sheedy penalties and the seven-point penalty try, denying Saracens a 10th Premiership win before their relegation to the Championship next term.
Ben Spencer marked his debut with an early try as Bath secured a 34-17 victory over London Irish at the Recreation Ground.
The England scrum-half, signed from Saracens in June, crossed the line after just five minutes, with Bath adding four more tries for a bonus-point win which reinforced their place in the Gallagher Premiership's top six.
Bath hooker Tom Dunn scored two tries in six minutes off driving lineouts, with Rona replying for Irish to make it 17-7 at the break.
Jonathan Joseph secured the bonus-point try with a spectacular finish in the corner, with replacement Jack Walker grabbing a fifth before Matt Cornish scoring a late consolation for Irish.
Worcester full-back Melani Nanai was red carded only 18 minutes into Warriors' Gallagher Premiership return as Gloucester ran in six tries on their way to a 44-15 win.
Nanai crashed into Jonny May with a head-high shoulder charge 10 minutes out from the Worcester line, the Gloucester wing also seeing his game ended as he failed a subsequent head injury assessment.
An early try from Ted Hill put the hosts in front, but Nanai's red card proved a turning point as Gloucester ran riot.
Ollie Thorley scored two tries and Jack Singleton, Louis Rees-Zammit, Jason Woodward and Stephen Varney one apiece, with Billy Twelvetrees adding two penalties and four conversions.
Scott Van Breda scored a late consolation try for Worcester which Duncan Weir converted.