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Aviva Premiership round 14: England player watch

17 February 2014

  • Eighteen members of Stuart Lancaster's senior squad on club duty
  • George Ford stars in Bath Rugby win
Alex Goode

Photo: Getty Images

The AJ Bell Stadium in Salford on Friday night was the scene for the start of this weekend’s 14th round of Aviva Premiership action, and Saracens kicked things off with a hard-fought 15-10 defeat of Sale Sharks.

Five penalties from Charlie Hodgson was enough to seal victory against his old club, the game’s sole try coming from the home side’s hooker Marc Jones.

Chris Ashton and Alex Goode were back on club duty after being released by Stuart Lancaster. Despite most of the match descending into a close-quarter arm-wrestle, Goode was able to rack up 110 metres with ball in hand – beating four defenders in the process.

Mako Vunipola and Brad Barritt also started, each adding immense industry to the Saracens effort. From loosehead, Vunipola made 14 carries, while Barritt added 12 to nine tackles.

Saturday saw Northampton Saints retain top spot with a routine 30-14 triumph over Worcester Warriors at Franklin’s Gardens. No.8 GJ Van Velze’s brace complemented a penalty try to seal a dominant performance by the hosts forwards, marshalled well by Lee Dickson. England Saxons stand-off Stephen Myler landed 15 points from the tee, too.

Elliot Daly

Photo: Getty Images

Over at the Twickenham Stoop, a score from former England Sevens flyer Ollie Lindsay-Hague set Harlequins on the way to an 18-14 success against Newcastle Falcons. Former England Saxon Andy Saull was prominent in a dogged performance from the visitors, making 15 tackles.

Brian Smith’s London Irish rescued an unlikely win from High Wycombe, defeating London Wasps 23-20 despite losing scrum half Tomas O’Leary to a red card shortly after half-time.

Eight-cap England hooker David Paice went over for the try that sent the Exiles into a 17-3 lead before the hosts clawed their way back. However, Shane Geraghty – who has made six appearances for England following his debut in 2007 – slotted a drop-goal in the final 10 minutes to clinch it.

Full back Elliot Daly beat seven defenders for Wasps, while his back-row teammates James Haskell and Sam Jones registered a phenomenal 36 tackles between them.

Elsewhere, George Ford booted Bath Rugby to an impressive win on a stodgy surface at Sandy Park. The young fly half landed 12 points included three conversions and two penalties, one of which was a last-minute effort that clinched the 27-23 result.

George Ford

Photo: Getty Images

Earlier, three excellent tries from former England Under 20 Ollie Devoto, EPS inside centre Kyle Eastmond and two-cap international Nick Abendanon had punctuated Bath’s afternoon. Lock Dave Attwood topped his team's tackle-count with 11 as well.

The final encounter of the weekend took place on Sunday at Welford Road, where Leicester Tigers squeezed past Gloucester Rugby despite a lacklustre showing, squeezing home 11-8.

Mathew Tait’s late try and a pair of Toby Flood penalties were enough to oust the Cherry and Whites, who had led for a long spell in the second half thanks to a slick five-pointer finished off by Charlie Sharples.

Back in Tigers colours, Tom Youngs made seven tackles without missing one and chalked up 26 metres from six carries. Matt Kvesic and Ben Morgan combined well in the Gloucester back row, making 13 tackles each and combining for 22 carries.