Leicester into play-off spot

  • Last Updated: February 23 2014, 19:20 GMT

A review of the weekend's action so far in the Aviva Premiership.

  • Disappointment for London Irish against Leicester
  • Kyle Eastmond powers in for a Bath try 
  • Sam Tuitupou of Sale Sharks is tackled 

Leicester moved into the Aviva Premiership play-off places by ending London Irish's winning run.

The Tigers had to withstand some huge pressure from Irish in the dying minutes but just held on to record a deserved 20-15 victory by scoring three tries to none.

The win raised the Tigers into fourth position in the league, moving above Harlequins as it becomes increasingly likely that those two sides will contest for the final play-off place.

Irish were aiming to record their fourth consecutive win in the Premiership but after an even first half, they fell away as Leicester became more dominant.

Two first-half tries from full-back James Wilson set league leaders Northampton on the road to victory in their clash at struggling Newcastle.

Despite being shorn of their international stars, Saints still looked a different class as they dealt with the blustery wind and heavy Kingston Park pitch and ran out 22-16 winners.

Newcastle snatched a losing bonus point with a Noah Cato try two minutes from time.

Two powerfully-driven tries from front-row forwards James Johnston and Schalk Brits enabled second-placed Saracens to overcome a stiff challenge from Exeter Chiefs.

Both were converted by former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson, who also kicked three second-half penalties in the 23-10 home win.

Bath grabbed a bonus-point 32-25 victory to cement their third place after Wasps pushed them all the way in a roller coaster of a game.

Right wing Anthony Watson grabbed two tries and others went to Nick Abendanon and Kyle Eastmond. Fly-half Tom Heathcote kicked two penalties and three conversions.

Wasps' tries were scored by wing Will Helu, number eight Nathan Hughes and full-back Elliot Daly, with fly-half Joe Carlisle kicking the rest of their points. They had to be content with a losing bonus point as they continue to scrap for a top six finish in the hope of qualifying for a revamped European competition next year.

Gloucester gained their first Aviva Premiership victory since December as they inflicted a sixth league defeat of the season on fourth-placed Harlequins after a 25-20 success at Kingsholm.

A first-half try from flanker Sione Kalamafoni, converted by Rob Cook, against a try from full-back Ollie Lindsay-Hague plus two penalties and a conversion from fly-half Ben Botica saw Quins lead 13-7 at the break.

But Gloucester were on top from then on, with flanker Matt Kvesic and replacement prop Dan Murphy adding further home tries, while Cook kicked two penalties and a conversion.

Quins' only second-half score was a converted try from replacement hooker Dave Ward.

Worcester suffered a 15th consecutive Aviva Premiership defeat and can surely now kiss goodbye to any lingering survival hopes after a 24-15 home defeat at the hands of Sale Sharks.

Worcester could not recover from giving the opposition an early 11-point start, shaped by a Mark Cueto try and two penalties from Danny Cipriani.

The Warriors battled hard for the remainder of the half before falling away to concede a second-half try to Dan Braid, which was converted by Cipriani. The outside-half also added a penalty as did replacement Nick Macleod.

Worcester captain Chris Pennell missed two kickable penalties in the first half which would have provided a much needed boost as they failed to capitalise on their dominant second quarter.

The despondency resulted in a lethargic third-quarter performance and Worcester's only rewards were two late consolation tries from Mariano Galarza.


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