Sale sink Wasps
A review of the weekend's action so far in the LV= Cup as London Irish slipped up in Cardiff.
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Danny Cipriani came back to haunt his old club, scoring one of Sale Sharks' five tries as they booked a place in the LV= Cup semi-finals with a 33-30 victory at Wasps.
Cipriani missed the Aviva Premiership fixture at Adams Park in December after being dropped but produced a strong second-half showing in a match that turned on Will Taylor's sin-binning.
In his absence, the Sharks ran in three tries and managed to hold off a late onslaught to ensure Leicester can no longer catch them, regardless of their result at the Scarlets on Sunday.
An under-strength Saracens qualified for the semi-finals with a hard-fought 22-12 victory over Worcester at Sixways.
Saracens pipped London Irish to top Pool Three and probably face an away semi-final when the competition resumes in the middle of March.
They scored an excellent early try through the outstanding Ernst Joubert, but had to rely on the goal-kicking skills of scrum-half Ben Spencer for the remainder of their points.
An outstanding second half saw Bath secure their first win over West Country rivals Gloucester at Kingsholm since 2006 and only their second victory in 11 attempts against the Cherry and Whites after a 32-5 success.
Four tries, from full-back Nick Abendanon, replacements Matt Gilbert and Semesa Rokoduguni plus New Zealander Stephen Donald added to a first half touchdown from Olly Woodburn against a solitary try for Gloucester from hooker Huia Edmonds.
Exeter ended a run of six games without a win in all competitions as they went top of Pool One and denied Northampton progress to the knockout stages of the competition.
The Chiefs will have to wait for the result of Sunday's game at the Brewery Field to see if they are pipped to a semi-final place by Harlequins, who only need a point from their game against Ospreys.
Exeter dominated the scoring in the first half and led 22-5 at the break after tries from Ben White, Jack Nowell and a first touchdown from Watisoni Votu, with Ignacio Mieres adding two conversions and a penalty to an Alex Waller try.
Northampton looked a refreshed side at the start of the second half and they reduced the arrears with two tries from Lee Dickson, both converted by Stephen Myler, with Mieres replying with two penalties.
London Irish must rely on Worcester beating Saracens on Saturday if they are to reach the semi-finals after the Cardiff Blues upset their momentum 10-6 at a damp Arms Park on Friday.
And it was largely down to their own mistakes that the visitors lost.
Irish never looked like a team that had won all five games in January, even if a muddy pitch and gusting wind contributed to an error-strewn performance.
The visitors arrived in Wales with qualification in their own hands, leading their pool by a point from Saracens, while the Blues, although theoretically capable of reaching the last four, were realistically playing for pride only.