Gallagher Premiership results & review: Exeter to host Northampton in semi-finals

Exeter and Northampton will meet in the play-offs
Exeter and Northampton will meet in the play-offs

A review of the final day of the regular season in the Gallagher Premiership, as the play-off semi-finalists were confirmed.

Results

  • Exeter Chiefs 40-21 Northampton Saints
  • Leicester Tigers 31-32 Bath
  • Newcastle Falcons 12-19 Bristol
  • Sale 46-41 Gloucester
  • Wasps 27-25 Harlequins
  • Worcester Warriors 31-29 Saracens

Play-Off Fixtures

(league position in brackets)

Saracens (2) v Gloucester (3), Allianz Park (1.30pm May 25)

Exeter (1) v Northampton (4), Sandy Park (4.30pm May 25)

Final: Saturday June 1, Twickenham

Final day review

League leaders Exeter Chiefs will host Northampton Saints while Gloucester will visit Saracens in the Premiership play-off semi-finals following the final day of the regular season.

The Chiefs ended their table-topping campaign with a 40-21 victory over Northampton, who booked a quickfire return to Sandy Park next week despite the defeat.

Saints secured a first top-four finish since 2015, clinching the final play-off place after closest challengers Harlequins lost 27-25 to Wasps.

Northampton and Quins were tied on 56 points from 22 games, but Saints won one more match and edged through as a result.

And it means regular season table-toppers Exeter and Northampton will meet again in Devon next Saturday, chasing the prize of a Twickenham appointment with Saracens or Gloucester on June 1.

Saints, who had two players in the sin bin just before half-time, tested Chiefs for large parts of an entertaining encounter and scored tries through Piers Francis, Rory Hutchinson and Cobus Reinach, with Dan Biggar adding three conversions.

But Exeter posted a bonus-point success through touchdowns from Henry Slade, Ben Moon, Don Armand, Matt Kvesic, Dave Dennis and Luke Cowan-Dickie, plus five Joe Simmonds conversions, as they pulled away after being held 21-21 at the break.

Wasps' departing legion led by Joe Simpson ended Harlequins' semi-final dream by recording a dramatic 27-25 victory at the Ricoh Arena.

Simpson ran-in two tries in the third quarter to land damaging blows on Paul Gustard's men who launched two brave but futile fightbacks.

A 71st-minute penalty by Lima Sopoaga ultimately proved the difference but once hooker Elia Elia had crossed, Quins had one final chance to claim a top-four finish at Northampton's expense.

Replacement fly-half James Lang lined up a long-range penalty from just inside his own half but the kick fell narrowly short in a painful final act of the game.

Bath claimed a last-gasp 32-31 win at Leicester to seal a top-six finish and a place in next season's Heineken Champions Cup.

Jacques van Rooyen's 78th-minute try was converted by Rhys Priestland In a dramatic finale at Welford Road to ensure a bonus-point success for Todd Blackadder's side.

In what was centre Matt Smith's last match before retiring, Leicester led 26-15 at the break thanks to tries from Will Spencer and Brendon O'Connor and the boot of George Ford.

Anthony Watson and Joe Cokanasiga crossed the whitewash in the first half for Bath and Beno Obano got their third try to get the visitors on the comeback trail.

Clayton Blommetjies' try and Ford's display looked like giving Leicester victory, until Van Rooyen had the last laugh.

Duncan Weir fired over a match-winning penalty with the last kick of the match to give Worcester a 31-29 victory over a second string Saracens.

Young scrum-half Tom Whiteley kicked 19 points to put Saracens on the brink of a remarkable win against the odds in the Gallagher Premiership contest.

However, the visitors' scrum was penalised and up stepped Weir to succeed with an angled 30-metre kick and seal a home success at Sixways.

Sale edged out Gloucester 46-41 in a high-scoring game at the AJ Bell Stadium to finish in seventh place in the Gallagher Premiership.

With an open feel befitting this final-day clash, Sale scored first-half tries through Tom Curry, Rob Webber, Sam James and Chris Ashton, but Gloucester led at the break with Tom Seabrook, Ben Vellacott, Matt Banahan and Lewis Ludlow sealing their bonus point.

In a lung-busting second half Byron McGuigan touched down for the hosts, while Dom Coetzer and Vellacott struck back, but there was still time for AJ MacGinty and Denny Solomona to win it late on.

Relegated Newcastle's dismal season ended with another home defeat as Bristol triumphed 19-12.

There was little encouragement to take from an error-strewn Falcons performance while Bristol were marginally better and did score three well-worked tries to end their first season back in the Gallagher Premiership on a high note.

Newcastle conceded a succession of penalties to find themselves on the back foot for much of the first half and Bristol failed to make them really pay apart from with a 10th-minute try from Charles Piutau.

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