Saturday's Premiership wrap: Wins for Northampton, Saracens, Harlequins and Exeter
Last Updated: 29/09/18 7:17pm
Bristol Bears lost to Saints in an 85-point thriller, while Harlequins edged past Gloucester at Kingsholm...
Bristol Bears 40-45 Northampton Saints
Bristol suffered their first Gallagher Premiership home defeat of the season as Northampton claimed a 45-40 bonus point victory at Ashton Gate.
The teams served up an 11-try spectacular in the west country sunshine to maintain this season's trend of high-scoring encounters.
And Saints, without an away league success since April, had enough in the tank to deny a Bristol side that had already claimed wins on home soil against Bath and Harlequins.
Northampton often made hard work of it, but they got over the line after tries from Ehren Painter, Andrew Kellaway, Lewis Ludlam, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Alex Waller and Mike Haywood, while fly-half Dan Biggar kicked five conversions and a penalty and Harry Mallinder also landed a conversion.
Bristol only led once in the game, yet they refused to go quietly, with centre Will Hurrell (two), hooker Harry Thacker and wings Luke Morahan and Alapati Leiua all claiming touchdowns and fly-half Callum Sheedy booting 15 points.
Exeter Chiefs 28-21 Worcester Warriors
Exeter continued their impressive start to the season with a fifth successive win as Worcester became their latest victims in a hard-fought 28-21 success at Sandy Park.
The Warriors were competitive in the opening quarter but conceded three tries in the second to ensure that there was to be no repeat of last season's shock 6-5 win at Sandy Park, which was the only occasion that Exeter were beaten in the league on their home ground.
Dave Ewers scored two tries for Exeter, Jack Yeandle and Harry Williams one apiece, with Gareth Steenson converting all four.
Two penalties from Chris Pennell and a try from Ted Hill were Worcester's response as they now have their eyes firmly set on next week's crucial home game with Premiership newcomers Bristol.
Gloucester 25-27 Harlequins
Harlequins won for the first time in the Premiership since the first match of the season as a thumping clash saw them overhaul home team Gloucester 27-25.
Two tries from wing Nathan Earle plus the boots of fly-half James Lang, with two penalties and a conversion, plus his replacement Marcus Smith, who landed three penalties, saw the Londoners to victory.
Fly-half Danny Cipriani scored 15 of Gloucester's points with a try, two penalties and two conversions with wing Charlie Sharples crossing the Harlequins line twice.
Saracens 50-27 Bath
Bath were punished for fielding a weakened team against Saracens as Liam Williams ran in a hat-trick of tries to help the Premiership champions claim a 50-27 victory at Allianz Park.
Director of rugby Todd Blackadder made 13 changes to the side that toppled Northampton, including Taulupe Faletau, Luke Charteris, Sam Underhill and Joe Cokanasiga among the group of front-line players rested.
Blackadder's decision was shaped by Exeter's visit to the Recreation Ground on Friday, but the price was paid in north London where Saracens had the bonus point sewn up before half-time and amassed eight tries in total.
To Bath's credit they trailed only 26-20 at the interval and were persistent throughout, but they were outclassed and would have finished further behind had Alex Goode and Williams not blundered in the final act of scoring.
Goode could be forgiven his mistake, however, as his lines of running, step and vision made him untouchable at times and the full-back, repeatedly overlooked by England head coach Eddie Jones, finished as man of the match.
Saracens have secured maximum points from their opening five matches and celebrated another record when Owen Farrell eclipsed Glen Jackson's mark of 1192 to become the club's highest points scorer.