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Aviva Premiership round 19: England player watch

14 April 2014

  • Harlequins and Bath win in race for fourth spot
  • Saracens down Saints to tighten hold on top spot
Chris Robshaw

Photo: Getty Images

Chris Robshaw led Harlequins to a crucial triumph in Salford on Friday night to start the latest round of Aviva Premiership action, the 2012 champions seeing off Sale Sharks 27-15 to keep alive their hopes of a semi-final berth.

It was the hosts who drew first blood though, a neat Danny Cipriani wrap-around creating space for Tom Brady to muscle over out wide.

However, Quins then took hold and downed Steve Diamond’s men with four tries including a trademark snipe from Danny Care, who was dangerous all game.

Mike Brown continued his excellent form with 16 carries for 75 metres, while Joe Marler again showed industry in the loose.  Robshaw was the star though, and racked up 10 carries himself to go with some excellent work at the breakdown.

Leicester Tigers maintained their typical end-of-season momentum by overturning London Wasps 27-15 at Welford Road. Manu Tuilagi was in a hugely destructive mood, beating an incredible nine defenders on the way to a two-try performance.

Manu Tuilagi

Photo: Getty Images

He also held up Willie Helu over the line brilliantly as Richard Cockerill’s men clinched a bonus-point win. Former England lock Tom Palmer was extremely prominent for Wasps, mixing subtle off-loading with graft – making 12 tackles without missing one.

Worcester Warriors salvaged two bonus points of their own after falling to a 21-3 deficit after only 25 minutes against Exeter Chiefs at Sixways.

Once more full back Chris Pennell was influential for the Warriors, with veteran Samoan wing David Lemi also grabbing a brace. However, Rob Baxter’s side came through 38-33 thanks largely to a fine outing from Saxons scrum half Dave Lewis, who scored a try and grabbed an assist.

Kingsholm played host to a feisty West Country derby that featured five yellow cards and two reds, Bath Rugby eventually overcoming Gloucester Rugby 18-17 on the back of a last-gasp penalty try.

Earlier, Billy Twelvetrees and George Ford had been locked in a kicking duel before a sparking score from Henry Trinder – dummying and skating home from 30 metres – set up a tense finish.

Billy Vunipola

Photo: Getty Images

Sunday saw the tie of the weekend as Northampton Saints travelled to Allianz Park to take on Saracens in a top-two clash. Sixteen full England internationals past and present were part of proceedings and two of them combined for the first score, Owen Farrell’s grubber kick pounced upon by David Strettle to put the home team ahead.

Stephen Myler then landed a penalty before a penalty try gave Saints a 10-5 lead, though Saracens hit back hard with tries from Kelly Brown and Marcelo Bosch.

At 28-10 behind, Northampton needed inspiration, and Luther Burrell charged over to spark a comeback. While George North got the East Midlanders even closer, the league leaders held on to prevail 28-24.

To Dean Richards’ immense displeasure, Newcastle Falcons capitulated to a 40-12 loss against London Irish to finish off round 19. Six-Test Shane Geraghty was influential in attack for the Exiles, who were far too strong.