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Aviva Premiership round 22: England player watch

12 May 2014

  • Harlequins into semi-final with win over Bath
  • Northampton Saints thrash London Wasps
Chris Rosbhaw

Photo: Getty Images

All six matches of the Aviva Premiership’s final round kicked off simultaneously on Saturday, and once more produced an afternoon full of dramatic, high-scoring encounters.

Harlequins prevailed 19-16 over Bath Rugby in what was effectively a quarter final at the Twickenham Stoop, George Ford missing a long-range drop-goal on the final play.

Ford had enjoyed a fine attacking display up to that point, and his exceptional first-half try cancelled out Mike Brown’s effort for the hosts, set up by Danny Care’s superb looping pass.

From there Ford and Nick Evans were locked in a kicking duel, but there was some impressive attacking intent some both sides. Hooker Dave Ward was in the thick of the action once more to continue his excellent season, while Chris Robshaw was relentless, making 20 tackles and 12 carries.

Inspired by Manu Tuilagi, who capped a powerful all-round display with a second-half try, Leicester Tigers overturned Saracens 31-27 at Welford Road. There was also an eye-catching Premiership debut for young Saracens Maro Itoje, who will be a major part of England Under 20’s Junior World Championship campaign in New Zealand.

Despite that success, Tigers could not secure a home semi-final and will travel to Franklin’s Gardens on Friday. Leicester may have enjoyed some fantastic wins there in recent looks like a daunting task in light of Saturday’s result, Northampton Saints pummelling London Wasps 74-13.

Marland Yarde

Photo: Getty Images

Wasps actually went in front 13-0 after Tom Varndell dotted down on 14 minutes, but from there it was something of a procession as the hosts racked up an incredible 13 scores.

Fly half Stephen Myler got over on the way to a 14-point haul, while there were also tries for Ben Foden, Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson, who grabbed a brace.

Elsewhere, Marland Yarde signed off his London Irish career with another potent attacking display, making two clean breaks. He crossed the line for his eighth try of an injury hit season as Sale Sharks were ousted 22-20.

Although they were condemned to relegation last weekend, Worcester Warriors prepared for life in the Greene King IPA Championship by recording a 28-27 victory over Gloucester Rugby at Sixways, just their second triumph of the domestic season.

Some superb footwork from Josh Drauniniu allowed the wing to score the decisive try on 52 minutes, but before that Dean Ryan’s men had to battle back from 17-3 down thanks to tries from Jonny May and Ben Morgan, the former a scintillating break from 80 metres out.

Freddie Burns, who started at inside centre alongside Junior World Championship-bound brother Billy, also kicked seven points on his final Gloucester appearance, while Matt Kvesic made 14 tackles.

Finally, Exeter Chiefs ended a rather difficult campaign well, securing a 23-13 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.

Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie was the star of the show, making 10 tackles and 11 carries for 21 metres, also demonstrating solidity at the set-piece as Exeter lost just two of 14 lineouts.

The Aviva Premiership season continues with this weekend's semi-finals, Leicester Tigers travelling to Franklin's Gardens to face Northampton Saints on Friday before Harlequins and Saracens battle it out on Saturday at Allianz Park.

 

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