Gallagher Premiership: Wasps demolish Bristol; Leicester take derby spoils; Bath into top four
Last Updated: 13/09/20 6:52pm
We round up all of the action from a big day of Gallagher Premiership action, which included another huge win for Wasps, Leicester Tigers claiming derby honours and Bath moving into the top four...
Wasps 59-35 Bristol Bears
Red-hot Wasps racked up more than a half-century of points for the second game running as they overwhelmed fellow play-off contenders Bristol Bears at the Ricoh Arena.
The hosts ran in nine tries, plus notched 12 points from the boot of Jimmy Gopperth, and had the try-scoring bonus point wrapped up after just 18 minutes - the second-quickest time in Premiership history.
Bristol boss Pat Lam made 12 changes from the team which beat Northampton Saints five days ago, seemingly with one eye on next Friday's European Challenge Cup quarter-final against the Dragons.
Flanker Jack Willis, winger Josh Bassett, hooker Tom Cruse and lock Will Rowlands all crossed as Wasps made a flying start and they finished the Bears off with further scores from Zach Kibirige, Dan Robson, Tom Willis and Gabriel Oghre plus a penalty try.
Fly-half Max Malins, meanwhile, dominated Bristol's scoring, posting two tries and kicking four conversions for an 18-point haul, while centre Piers O'Conor also touched down and there was a late penalty try and Peter McCabe score as they claimed a bonus point of their own.
The result means Wasps will hold a top-three place going into the final two rounds of regular season action, but Bristol - who were two points ahead of their opponents before kick-off - will be fourth at best.
Leicester Tigers 28-24 Northampton Saints
The East Midlands bragging rights went to Leicester as they secured only their second win since the Premiership season resumed with a derby triumph over Northampton at Welford Road.
Zack Henry, standing in for the injured George Ford at fly-half, kicked five penalties and converted Ben Youngs' early try - coming on the England international's 250th appearance for Leicester - to set the Tigers on course for victory.
He also added a drop goal to ensure his side avenged a 36-13 defeat at Franklin's Gardens back in November. Freddie Steward scored Leicester's other points with a penalty.
Northampton outscored their opponents three tries to one, with Paul Hill and Henry Taylor crossing in the second half to go with a first-half penalty try, while Dan Biggar kicked a penalty and two conversions.
However, they still crashed to a sixth defeat in seven matches since the resumption after failing to take advantage of Tigers' three yellow cards.
Replacement scrum-half Taylor's try in the dying seconds did mean the Saints at least came away with a losing bonus point.
London Irish 25-40 Worcester Warriors
Ollie Lawrence came off the bench to score two tries as Worcester Warriors powered their way to a 40-25 victory against London Irish in what was a clash of two out-of-form teams at The Stoop.
The Warriors had only won once in the Gallagher Premiership since the turn of the year, but they were the dominant force at the Exiles' temporary home, where they ran in six tries.
Two of those went to South Africa scrum-half Francois Hougaard, who was the class act in helping Worcester come back from a one-point half-time deficit and inflict upon Irish their ninth straight defeat.
Replacement Lawrence, Melani Nanai and Tom Howe all crossed as well, along with Duncan Weir kicking five conversions for the Warriors.
London Irish held a narrow lead at half time thanks to Tom Loader's unconverted try and a penalty from Paddy Jackson.
Albert Tuisue, Ben Mehan and Tom Homer all crossed for the Exiles after the break to earn them a try-scoring bonus point, but it was Worcester who were celebrating at full time.
Sale Sharks 22-37 Bath
Bath moved into the play-off places at the expense of Bristol Bears after an impressive triumph over Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Sale went into the weekend in second but this result, combined with Wasps' triumph over Bristol, means that the Sharks slip down to fourth with the Bears a place further adrift.
Steve Diamond's men opened the game well and went in front thanks to Rohan Janse Van Rensburg's score, but the West Country outfit responded brilliantly.
Ruaridh McConnochie levelled matters before Rhys Priestland kicked a penalty and Ben Spencer crossed the whitewash to give Stuart Hooper's outfit a 10-point buffer.
That would be reduced early in the second period as Jean-Luc Du Preez touched down before AJ MacGinty added a penalty, but Bath were clinical and effectively sealed the win via successive Priestland penalties and Spencer's second try.
Dan Du Preez did briefly give the Sharks hope of a losing bonus point but Jonathan Joseph went over late on to seal the full five for the visitors.
Saracens 40-17 Exeter
Saracens avoided falling to their worst run in the Premiership for three years by dispatching Exeter in a mismatch lacking the fireworks of recent collisions.
Any meaning to one of the Premiership's fiercest rivalries vanished when two under-strength teams were announced for a fixture that in other circumstances would have produced high drama and a host of intriguing sub-plots.
But with both clubs in Champions Cup quarter-final action next weekend, Exeter 12 points clear at the league's summit and Saracens long-since relegated for repeated salary cap breaches, it was robbed of its box office appeal.
Instead they battled for squad bragging rights that came out emphatically in the double winners' favour as Rotimi Segun, Dom Morris, Elliott Obatoyinbo, Janco Venter and Cameron Boon crossed for tries.
It prevented Saracens from slipping to a third consecutive top-flight defeat - a sequence they last experienced in 2017 - and crashing twice to the Chiefs this season after going down 14-7 in a stormy showdown at Sandy Park in December.
Exeter's fringe players have been outstanding since lockdown but with two rounds of the regular Premiership campaign to play, they were well beaten to bring their own seven-game winning streak to a halt.