Aviva Premiership review: Exeter and Saracens win on Sunday

Sam Simmons and Exeter celebrate
Sam Simmons and Exeter celebrate

A review of the latest round of matches in the Aviva Premiership.

Aviva Premiership results

Friday, April 13

  • Newcastle 35-30 Sale

Saturday, April 14

  • Gloucester 37-9 Harlequins
  • Leicester 21-27 Northampton
  • Wasps 30-15 Worcester

Sunday, April 15

  • London Irish 5-45 Exeter
  • Saracens 41-6 Bath

Sunday

Sam Simmonds' hat-trick sealed Exeter Chiefs a home Aviva Premiership semi-final as the league leaders thumped London Irish 45-5 to push the Exiles ever closer to relegation.

Reigning Premiership champions Exeter booked themselves home advantage in the fast-approaching play-offs, with Ben Moon, Mitch Lees and Jack Yeandle also crossing.

Exeter also took a step closer to topping the Premiership's regular-season table, maintaining their eight-point advantage over second-placed Saracens.

Irish's 17th defeat in 20 league matches leaves the bottom club set for a second Premiership relegation in three years.

New boss Declan Kidney surely cannot now save the Exiles, who trail Worcester by nine points with only a maximum 10 on offer in their final two matches.

Jonathan Joseph limped off early in Bath's 41-6 defeat against Saracens at Allianz Park to give England an injury scare ahead of their tour to South Africa.

Joseph was on crutches after suffering what appeared to be an issue with his left ankle having been been caught awkwardly at a ruck shortly before the half-hour mark.

The outside centre, a fixture in the England team since 2015, was in obvious discomfort and Eddie Jones will await news on a setback that could prevent him from adding to his 40 caps against the Springboks in June.

It was a worrying development for injury-hit Bath, whose season continued to deteriorate as they slumped to a fifth defeat in six Premiership matches.

Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland contributed fully to the collapse in north London by assisting in three of the six tries conceded through his errant handling.

Saracens had the bonus point in the bank in the 49th minute when Owen Farrell capitalised on one of Priestland's many errors and they are now guaranteed a top-four finish.

Saturday

Leicester crashed out of the Aviva Premiership top four after a shock 27-21 defeat at home to struggling Northampton in a feisty derby.

They were replaced by Wasps who beat Worcester. In completing only their second double over Leicester, the Saints ended the Tigers' five-match winning run and halted their own sorry run of five defeats.

Northampton deserved the win which came thanks to tries by Ben Foden, Cobus Reinach and Ahsee Tuala, with Stephen Myler kicking 12 points.

Leicester, who picked up a losing bonus point, scored tries through Telusa Veainu and Matt Toomua. Saints' Alex Waller was yellow-carded.

Gloucester kept up their hopes of an Aviva Premiership play-off spot with a bonus-point 37-9 victory over Harlequins in a disjointed game at Kingsholm.

The hosts dominated throughout but left it late to make sure of the victory, which moved them up to sixth in the table, three points off the fourth spot with two matches remaining.

Next up for them is a local derby at home to Bath before they finish their campaign with a tough trip to second-placed Saracens. For Quins it was a seventh defeat in the last eight games as their miserable run continued.

Callum Braley, Jason Woodward, Jake Polledri and Ruan Ackermann scored tries for Gloucester - the final three in the final 10 minutes - with Billy Twelvetrees adding three penalties and four conversions. Marcus Smith kicked three penalties for the visitors.

Wing Christian Wade and full-back Willie Le Roux stood out as Wasps grabbed a 30-15 Aviva Premiership bonus-point victory over Worcester in the race for end-of-season play-off places.

Wade scored two tries, with lock Joe Launchbury and replacement Josh Bassett getting one each as Wasps dominated their opponents.

Centre Jimmy Gopperth kicked two penalties and a conversion, with wing Elliot Daly adding another two points, against two late Worcester tries from replacement Dean Hammond and wing Josh Adams.

Fly-half Dorian Jones kicked a Worcester penalty as well, with replacement Jamie Shillcock landing a conversion.

Friday

Newcastle kept their Aviva Premiership play-off dreams alive with a dramatic 35-30 victory over Sale, whose own hopes of a top-four finish took a hit.

The Falcons had looked to be cruising to victory after building a 25-0 lead and securing a try bonus point inside the first half hour.

But Sale roared back in style with 27 unanswered points and it needed a Rob Vickers try in the final minutes to earn Newcastle victory at Kingston Park.

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