Harlequins remain top

  • Last Updated: January 6 2013, 18:39 GMT

A review of the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership, with Harlequins staying top after a narrow win over London Welsh.

Harlequins were just too strong for London Welsh
Harlequins were just too strong for London Welsh

Harlequins remain top of the Aviva Premiership thanks to a bonus-point 31-26 win over battling London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday.

Following a totally one-sided first half Harlequins led 21-6. It should have been far more and a huge defeat for the Welsh seemed likely.

However, in a complete turnaround, Welsh played with great spirit in the second half to reduce the arrears to 24-19 and a remarkable comeback was on the cards before the visitors steadied the ship to run out narrow winners.

Christian Wade offered England head coach Stuart Lancaster a timely reminder of his talents with a superb solo try in Wasps' 29-15 victory over Bath.

The 21-year-old wing danced his way past three Bath defenders on the stroke of half-time to turn the game in the Adams Park outfit's favour - taking them into the Aviva Premiership play-off places in the process.

Wade's sixth Premiership try of the season will have been noted by Lancaster, who announces his Six Nations squad on Wednesday, but it will have also delighted his domestic boss Dai Young who was celebrating Wasps' sixth win in eight games.

Owen Farrell kicked 22 points as Saracens eased to a 32-12 victory against bottom club Sale.

In the last-ever Aviva Premiership match to be played at Vicarage Road, Farrell hammered over eight kicks from eight attempts while

David Strettle and Charlie Hodgson collected second-half tries to help Saracens to a comfortable win.

The defeat leaves Sale five points behind London Irish at the foot of the table and they only had four Danny Cipriani penalties to show for their efforts.

Relegation candidates London Irish ripped up the form book by stunning title play-off contenders Gloucester 18-12 at Kingsholm.

Irish had already lost three times to their hosts in domestic and European competitions this season, but two first-half tries from lock George Skivington helped the Exiles exact revenge.

Centre Steven Shingler added a penalty and conversion, while England international Freddie Burns booted four Gloucester penalties, yet Irish deserved a first Premiership away victory this season at the seventh attempt, which was sealed by full-back Tom Homer's late penalty.

It took them five points above bottom club Sale Sharks, who tackle Saracens on Sunday, and sent them into a five-week league break with renewed optimism of avoiding the drop.

In contrast, a losing bonus point was scant consolation for Gloucester after a four-month unbeaten home record disappeared.

Northampton became the first side to beat Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in the league this season.

Tries from Ken Pisi, Soane Tonga'uiha and Gerrit-Jan van Velze steered the visitors to a 30-19 victory, with Stephen Myler kicking three conversions and three penalties.

Exeter's reply was a try from Sireli Naqelevuki, converted by Ignacio Mieres, plus four penalties from Gareth Steenson.

Leicester defeated Worcester 19-14 in an absorbing battle at Sixways on Friday night.

Warriors' first victory over the Tigers since March 2006 looked likely for large parts of a gripping encounter.

But Leicester prevailed, courtesy of two second-half penalty tries, the second one being awarded in the final minute by referee JP Doyle.

Worcester wing David Lemi scored an early try and three Andy Goode penalties against his former club ensured Warriors occupied the driving seat.

Leicester, though, mounted a fightback either side of Goode being sin-binned, with wing Scott Hamilton touching down before Tigers claimed an opening penalty try that England international Toby Flood converted.

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