Winning start for Tigers
A review of the weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership as defending champions Leicester make a winning start.
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Fijian winger Vereniki Goneva clinched a bonus point win for Leicester with a stunning solo try in the final minute of a disappointing start to the defence of their Aviva Premiership title at Welford Road.
Leicester's other three tries came from Adam Thompstone, David Mele and Jordan Crane but they were way below par for most of the game and had to fight off a spirited second half fightback by Worcester, eventually prevailing 32-15.
Trailing 18-3 at half-time and then 25-3, Worcester scored tries through Chris Jones and Josh Matavesi to put themselves back in the game before Goneva clinched a win which maintained the Tigers 100 per cent record at home to the Warriors.
On Saturday, Mako and Billy Vunipola were influential as Saracens launched their title challenge by thrashing London Irish 42-20 at Twickenham.
The wrecking-ball England forwards played their first game together for Saracens, Mako breaking tackles at will after arriving as a try-scoring substitute and Billy rampant throughout.
Billy arrived from Wasps to join his elder brother during the summer but Mako, who enjoyed a successful British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, was the more destructive.
England Under-20 hooker Jamie George, deputising for the suspended Schalk Brits, crossed twice in the first half to help Saracens establish a comprehensive 21-10 half-time that was beyond overwhelmed Irish.
The try-scoring bonus point appeared to have eluded the Premiership title contenders, but the outstretched arm of Chris Ashton delivered the fifth point in the final move of the game.
Owen Farrell, commanding throughout, kept the scoreboard ticking over with 22 points to ensure the outcome was never in doubt.
Northampton showed their title credentials with a sparkling first-half display that saw them rattle up a bonus-point 38-11 opening day win over Exeter.
All eyes were on big summer signing George North, but Saints' tries came from Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood, George and Ken Pisi, and Samu Manoa, with Stephen Myler landing all five conversions and a penalty.
Exeter's lineout was poor and they squandered chances, replying only with a Dean Mumm try just before the hour mark and two Gareth Steenson penalties.
Andy Goode struck an upright with a last-gasp penalty to miss out on the chance of giving Wasps a dramatic victory over Harlequins at Twickenham as they suffered an agonising 16-15 defeat.
The veteran fly-half's effort came back out after England lock Tom Palmer's late try to leave Wasps devastated and Quins celebrating a hard fought, if unimpressive, win.
Karl Dickson appeared to have jumped off the bench to be Quins' try-scoring hero just a few minutes earlier.
But, after Nick Evans had converted, Wasps roared up the other end to provide an almost grandstand finish to a match which had failed to live up to expectation and hype for so long.
Just as they did 12 months ago, the 2012 champions left it late to grab the points and break their London rivals' hearts in the second match of the Twickenham double header.
Sale Sharks capitalised on a lacklustre Gloucester display to begin their season with a bang thanks to a 22-16 victory.
Two tries for Sale from wing Mark Cueto and centre Andy Forsyth plus penalties from fly-half Nick MacLeod and full-back Tom Arscott helped seal the Sharks' victory.
Replacement Joe Ford added a drop goal towards the end and the gap, opened up during the first period, proved too much for Gloucester to close despite three penalties from outside-half Freddie Burns and a second-half try from centre Henry Trinder.
Newcastle's return to the top flight was dealt an early blow as they failed to score a point on a dismal night under the lights at Kingston Park as they went down 21-0 to Bath on Friday night.
George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion for Bath, with Anthony Perenise crossing the line from a rolling maul and a late penalty try sealing the win, as the home side failed to master the wind and rain in the season's opener.