Leicester defeat London Welsh
A review of the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership, as Leicester beat London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.
- Related Content
Aviva Premiership newcomers London Welsh were given an insight into the harsh realities of life in the top flight as Leicester recorded an emphatic 38-13 win at the Kassam Stadium.
Championship winners Welsh had needed to go through a Rugby Football Union appeals process just to get this far, but any jubilation at reaching the top flight looked set to be crushed as two Thomas Waldrom tries helped Leicester to a 17-0 lead.
However, the hosts showed great courage, and no little skill, to fight back through tries from Tom Arscott and Hudson Tonga'uhia and they trailed by just seven at the break.
But further scores from Geoff Parling, Julian Salvi and Vereniki Goneva sealed Leicester's victory, with fly-half Toby Flood converting all five tries and a penalty for a 13-point haul.
Gordon Ross' penalty was all Welsh could muster in the second half.
On Saturday, Harlequins showed the resolve of champions as they staged a sensational fightback to open the defence of their title with a scarcely believable 42-40 victory over Wasps.
Conor O'Shea's men seemed dead and buried as the rejuvenated Wasps, who had only avoided relegation on the final day of last season, stormed into a 40-13 lead after 56 minutes.
But Harlequins' sensational comeback was later confirmed as an Aviva Premiership record.
The previous best Premiership comeback was by Newcastle against Rotherham in 2001.
The Falcons rallied from 36-13 down to win 39-36, with an 85th-minute try from prop George Graham.
Christian Wade did the early damage, scoring two blistering tries and providing another for Tom Varndell before forwards Marco Wentzel and Tim Payne touched down.
But man of the match Nick Evans, on his 100th Premiership appearance, scored 22 points to lead Harlequins on one of the great Premiership comebacks.
The reigning champions, back at the scene of their Premiership final victory over Leicester, scored four tries and 29 unanswered points in the final quarter of a compelling match.
Tom Guest came off the bench to launch the comeback, Evans set up two tries for Mike Brown and then touched down himself before wrapping up the victory with a penalty four minutes from time.
Charlie Hodgson became the first player to pass 2,000 points in the Premiership as Saracens comfortably overcame London Irish 40-3 in the second London Double Header match at Twickenham.
The former England fly-half, who went into the match on 1,992 points, achieved the milestone with his third penalty in the 27th minute.
England winger Chris Ashton marked his Saracens debut with two second-half tries - after being sin-binned in the first half - with England centre Brad Barritt and replacement Nils Mordt also touching down.
Hodgson finished with 20 points, adding four conversions to his three early penalties, with full-back Alex Goode also landing a penalty.
The only Irish reply was a penalty from full-back Tom Homer, last season's Premiership leading scorer with 278 points.
Northampton held on with just 13 men to beat hosts Gloucester 24-19 in a thrilling finale at the Kingsholm.
The Saints scored three tries to one, with centre George Pisi getting two of them and England cap Dylan Hartley the other. Fly-half Ryan Lamb landed a penalty and three conversions.
A penalty try for Gloucester along with four penalties and a conversion from Freddie Burns just was not enough for the home side.
With Gerrit-Jan van Velze and and then prop Paul Doran-Jones sin-binned, Gloucester had one final chance to grab the winning try but a knock-on from replacement centre Henry Trinder finished their hopes.
Exeter Chiefs' convincing 43-6 victory over Sale Sharks at Sandy Park means that the Devon side not only recorded their biggest ever league win but have also won their opening day match on each of their three seasons in the Premiership.
The Chiefs took a try-scoring bonus point as they crossed for six tries, two of them from Matthew Jess, as they restricted the visitors to just two penalties from Nick Macleod to remain unbeaten in five games against the Sharks.
Leading 14-3 at the break, the hosts also had tries from Ignacio Mieres, Alistair Muldowney, Tom Johnson and Chris Budgen.
Olly Barkley kicked all of Bath's points - including a last-minute penalty - to snatch a dramatic 24-23 win over Worcester at Sixways.
Bath had not led until the 65th minute but even when home lock James Percival responded by crashing over for the only try of the game soon after, it was the accuracy of Barkley that proved decisive.
By contrast Andy Goode spurned a couple of kicks late on, including failing to convert Percival's 69th-minute score, which proved crucial when his opposite number landed the winning blow with the final kick of the game.