Saints hand O'Connor losing start
A review of the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership as Northampton kept up their fine start to the season.
- Related Content
Full-back James Wilson crossed for Saints in the first half and fly-half Stephen Myler kicked 14 points as they made it five league wins from seven matches with a 19-14 success.
Wing Sailosi Tagicakibau grabbed the Irish try with number 10 Ian Humphreys adding his side's extras with the boot.
All eyes were on controversial Australian James O'Connor who took centre stage for his Irish debut just a few days after signing a contract until the end of the season.
The versatile 23-year-old Queenslander, who has amassed 223 points in 44 caps for the Wallabies, took his bow at full-back and impressed throughout with his running skills as he seeks to rebuild his career following a series of off-field misdemeanours.
He was on his best behaviour on Sunday, claiming an assist for the Exiles' try and looked poised and controlled throughout.
Former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson marked his first appearance of the season with an 18-point haul in a 40-3 victory over Newcastle that saw Saracens move two points clear of nearest rivals Northampton at the top.
Veteran Hodgson was back in action after an Achilles injury and scored the opening try, two conversions and three penalties as Sarries bounced back from the 17-16 Heineken Cup defeat to Toulouse and last weekend's 41-20 Premiership hammering at Northampton.
Left-wing David Strettle, hooker Jamie George and full-back Alex Goode scored second-half tries to secure a bonus-point win for the leaders before Goode converted Strettle's second try three minutes from time after Newcastle Newcastle had taken an early lead through Phil Godman's penalty.
Quins thoroughly deserved their 23-16 success after dominating the Aviva Premiership champions for much of the game and scoring two tries, through former England number eight Nick Easter and centre Matt Hopper.
Full-back Nick Evans converted both and also kicked three penalties, while Leicester scored a penalty try in the 80th minute, which was converted by fly-half Owen Williams who also kicked three penalties for the Tigers.
Harlequins' win meant they leapfrogged Leicester in the table and will lead to much soul searching at the Tigers who have now won just one of their past five matches in all competitions.
The defeat was only Leicester's second in all competitions at home since September 2012.
Wing Christian Wade scored two of Wasps' tries, while number eight Nathan Hughes and replacement Guy Thompson were also on the scoreboard, with fly-half Andy Goode booting 12 points with three conversions and two penalties.
Wasps had to contend with a spirited fightback from the Cherry and Whites, who were well down at one stage.
Their tries came from full-back Rob Cook, who touched down twice, prop Shaun Knight and number eight Sione Kalamafoni, with fly-half Freddie Burns adding two penalties and two conversions.
The Exeter fly-half did not falter under the lights at the AJ Bell Stadium as he maintained a 100 per cent record to help claim the fifth win of the campaign for the Chiefs despite a late rally from Sale.
A flurry of yellow cards in the first half dented Sale's hopes of bouncing back from their defeat by Harlequins last weekend, but Danny Cipriani's three penalties and Mark Cueto's late converted try was enough for them to claim a losing bonus point in the defeat.
The Warriors already appear doomed to relegation as they now find themselves eight points adrift at the foot of the table with their nearest rivals, Gloucester and London Irish, both having home games to come this weekend and with it a chance to extend their advantage.
In the incessant rain, Bath were more streetwise than their opponents and took their chances whereas Worcester did not.
Anthony Perenise and Horacio Agulla capitalised on Warriors errors to score the visitors' two tries with George Ford having the better of the kicking duel with 11 points to only six from Paul Warwick, who missed two penalties at vital stages in the game which would have galvanised his side.
Worcester played with spirit before a passionate crowd of over nine thousand and for much of the match were the equal of their opponents but apart from replacement wing Ravai Fatiaki, they lacked the creative nous to test the Bath defence and once again finished try less.