Gallagher Premiership review: Leicester beat Gloucester; Saracens edge past London Irish

Tom Hardwick
Tom Hardwick

A review of Saturday's action in the Gallagher Premiership, where Leicester beat Gloucester and Saracens overcame London Irish.

Saturday's results

  • Leicester Tigers 16-13 Gloucester
  • Saracens 16-13 London Irish
  • Wasps 30-22 Bath

Tigers roar to edge thriller

A last-minute Tom Hardwick penalty saw a much-changed Leicester deservedly beat Gloucester 16-13 at Welford Road, registering their opening Premiership win of the season in the process.

Tigers boss Geordan Murphy made nine changes to his squad from last week's defeat against Saracens but, despite a dominant showing in the opening 40 minutes, they could only take a 10-6 lead into the interval.

The afternoon could not have got off to a worse start for Gloucester when they lost captain Ed Slater to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge on Tigers playmaker Noel Reid and, after Hardwick and Billy Twelvetrees had traded penalties, the young fly-half scored a solo try.

But for the rearguard efforts of the irrepressible Tom Marshall, Leicester would have been out of sight.

The Gloucester full-back seemingly covered every blade of grass as he sought to stem the Leicester tide, keeping them in touch.

It was fitting, then, that Marshall was at the heart of the Gloucester response, setting up an outstanding try for Joe Simpson.

Combining with Mark Atkinson, Marshall set away the unusually quiet Ollie Thorley, who ghosted past his man - before feeding Simpson to scamper over from 15 metres and put Gloucester three ahead at 13-10.

Re-asserting their authority, Murphy's charges drew level going into the final 10 minutes courtesy of a second Hardwick penalty as the decibel levels continued to rise.

Led on by Sam Harrison, a bundle of energy from minute one, Tigers went in search of a winner and after Sione Kalamafoni was repelled, a scrum right in front of the posts presented a clear opportunity.

The shove was textbook, giving referee Ian Tempest no choice but to award the penalty kick - which Hardwick belted over to give Tigers the lead with a minute left on the clock and the victory.

Vunipola holds nerve for Saracens

Manu Vunipola's nerveless late penalty handed reigning champions Saracens a dramatic 16-13 win over valiant newly-promoted London Irish at Allianz Park.

Vunipola's cousins Billy and Mako may have suffered defeat in the World Cup final earlier in the day but the young fly-half ensured that the family would at least have something to celebrate as he put a patchy performance from the tee behind him to slot the decisive three-pointer.

That came only a couple of minutes after Ben Earl had crossed to draw Saracens level and while Vunipola missed the conversion, he soon earned redemption and broke Irish hearts.

The Exiles had built a 13-8 lead when Albert Tuisue ploughed over 10 minutes into the second half, but the visitors had to settle for just a losing bonus point.

Wasps sting Bath

Second-half tries from Brad Shields and Dan Robson saw Wasps edge out Bath 30-22 as they earned their first win of the Gallagher Premiership season.

The two sides traded blows as Will Rowlands scored moments before half-time and Zach Mercer returned the favour five minutes after the interval in a ding-dong battle at the Ricoh Arena.

But Shields and Robson, who both narrowly missed out on playing a part in England's World Cup campaign, crossed in the second half to seal the spoils.

Dai Young's side bounced back from successive defeats in the first two games of the season, while Bath missed out on a losing bonus point despite the boot of Rhys Priestland.

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