More home comforts for Wasps
A review of the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership, including Wasps' victory over Sale on Sunday.
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Wasps made it eight competitive wins from eight at Adams Park this season after claiming a 25-18 victory over Sale, who remain well adrift at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership standings despite earning a bonus point.
Heading into the clash on the back of a record Heineken Cup defeat in losing 62-0 at Toulon last weekend, Sale outscored Wasps two tries to one through efforts from Richie Vernon and Johnny Leota.
However, it was Wasps who took the spoils thanks to a try from T Rhys Thomas, 14 points from the boot of Stephen Jones and further penalties from Elliot Daly and Nicky Robinson.
Wasps number eight Billy Vunipola was the star performer, impressing with his powerful running and his ball handling skills, and it was he who set up the crucial try for Thomas with an outstanding piece of play.
On Saturday, Charlie Hodgson steered Saracens to a crushing 22-0 victory over Bath with a masterly performance in treacherous conditions at the Recreation Ground.
The former England fly-half kicked five penalties and set up a try for half-back partner Richard Wigglesworth with the one moment of magic in the game. And he added the conversion for good measure.
Bath had very little to offer and too often found themselves in the wrong areas of the pitch, unable to break the stranglehold, let alone to fashion a telling break themselves.
Harlequins got their wet game right at Franklin's Gardens to stay top of the league and knock Northampton out of the top four.
With England boss Stuart Lancaster watching in the stands, the persistent rain made it an attritional game as Nick Evans kicked all of Quins' points, with his ninth penalty being the last kick of the game to deny Northampton a losing bonus point.
Quins had the edge up front, with Northampton's lineout malfunctioning and in Mike Brown, the visitors had the safest hands on the pitch as he took every up-and-under launched at him.
Northampton's points came through two penalties from Stephen Myler and one from Ryan Lamb.
But they will be ruing a first-half Ben Foden try being ruled out for a forward pass, which replays showed was wrongly called by the touch judge.
Leicester were unconvincing but ultimately ran out comfortable 31-9 winners over struggling London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.
The Tigers built up an early 14-0 lead and seemed in control but they allowed a battling Irish side a foothold in the game through three penalties from Ian Humphreys.
A penalty from Toby Flood and two late converted tries gave Leicester a flattering final scoreline in their favour.
Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns kicked six penalties to lead his side to victory over Exeter in their clash at Kingsholm.
Visiting hooker Simon Alcott scored the only try of a cracking clash, but the highly-rated England prospect Burns punished the Chiefs as Gloucester came from behind to win by two points.
Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson converted Alcott's try and added three penalties of his own but it was not enough.
Semisi Taulava's excellent try was the sole highlight of Worcester's 13-6 win over a spirited London Welsh in a dismal game at Sixways on Friday night.
Taulava's effort, midway through the second half, was the difference between the two sides and had Gordon Ross not missed with three kickable penalties, Welsh could have easily come away with the points.
The visitors edged the forward battle and had more possession and territory but lacked the creativity to break down a stubborn home defence as they failed to capitalise on the yellow-carding of Taulava.
Ross kicked all six of Welsh's points from penalties, with Andy Goode converting Taulava's try and adding two penalties.