Gloucester edge dour clash
A review of the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership as Gloucester beat Worcester on Sunday.
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Four penalties from England international Billy Twelvetrees helped Gloucester leap to ninth place in the Aviva Premiership as bottom side Worcester remain without a league win after a 12-6 defeat.
Twelvetrees' strikes, against two from Worcester fly-half Ignacio Mieres, were all the sides could muster in a match delayed for 30 minutes in bizarre circumstances.
As part of the pre-match entertainment, fans were invited onto the pitch to try to get one of two giant inflatable balls between the posts. They brought one side of the crossbar down at the Kingsholm Road end minutes before kick-off, with groundstaff frantically trying to repair the damage and get the game on while the teams waited in the dressing rooms.
The pre-match incident was the only light amusement for the packed 15,629 crowd, with what followed being of painfully poor quality.
Saracens demolished title rivals Leicester at Allianz Park on Saturday but their 49-10 bonus-point victory was marred by a worrying injury to England fly-half Owen Farrell.
Farrell was carried off on a stretcher in the 67th minute with his neck in a brace after his head accidentally connected with the hip of Vereniki Goneva while making a tackle.
The 22-year-old was unconscious before hitting the ground and 10 minutes elapsed before he was carried from the pitch having kicked three penalties and two conversions in a fine performance.
It was the only blot on an otherwise famous afternoon for Saracens, who defied wind and rain to score six tries in inflicting Leicester's heaviest loss in the Premiership.
Bath triumphed 14-3 in the battle of third and fourth, winning the physical battle and then killing off Harlequins' challenge with a stunning try by Jonathan Joseph.
While the back row of Francois Louw, Matt Garvey and Carl Fearns got through a ton of work to frustrate the visitors' attacking ambitions, Bath themselves had done little to threaten in the first half.
Instead they relied on three penalties from the boot of fly-half George Ford for a 9-3 half-time lead.
The try from Joseph, who has already trained with the England Elite squad, came out of the blue on 46 minutes when Harlequins were man down after Charlie Walker's sin-binning.
Exeter returned to winning ways at Sandy Park to stay in the hunt for a top-six finish against a Newcastle side who again failed to score a try.
The Chiefs looked to be taking a 9-0 lead into the break after fly-half Gareth Steenson, with the wind at his back, landed three penalties - but on the stroke of half-time his opposite Phil Godman pulled back three points.
Hayden Thomas crossed for the first time of the game 11 minutes into the second period with Steenson, who saw a penalty attempt drop short, added the simple conversion for the only points of the second half to wrap up a 16-3 win for the hosts.
A last minute penalty from Stephen Myler gave Northampton a fortunate 17-15 win over Wasps at Adams Park.
With 40 seconds remaining, Wasps were penalised at a scrum for Myler to hold his nerve and fire over a 40 metre goal from wide out.
It was rough justice on Wasps, who dominated the second half, but three penalties misses from Elliot Daly proved crucial as Wasps' regular kicker, Andy Goode was an injury casualty.
On Friday, Danny Cipriani played a central role as Sale Sharks won for the fifth time in the league this season.
Out of favour with England, Cipriani created the opening try in Sale's 15-3 triumph over London Irish that condemned the Exiles to their eighth defeat of the campaign, and in difficult kicking conditions booted a conversion and a penalty.