It was another busy weekend of Aviva Premiership action as Exeter Chiefs saw off Bath Rugby, Wasps got the better of local rivals Leicester Tigers and Harlequins edged out Saracens.
Last gasp Quins
England pair Danny Care and Chris Robshaw led Harlequins to a nail-biting 20-19 win over European Champions Saracens but it was Scot Tim Visser who got the match-winning try.
The England scrum-half put in a cross-field kick which eluded Alex Goode and Visser dotted down in the final minute to seal a dramatic victory.
Care had earlier put in a similar kick for Charlie Walker, who scored two tries at the Twickenham Stoop, to help Quins recover from a 10-0 deficit.
Brad Barritt had given Saracens the perfect start with a try inside two minutes with England fly-half Owen Farrell converting and kicking four penalties in a 14-point haul.
Waldrom hits milestone
Thomas ‘the Tank’ Waldrom completed a full house of Aviva Premiership tries on Saturday, with the No 8 finally crossing against Bath, the only side against whom he had not previously scored.
Rob Baxter’s charges ensured they would enter the European break top the Premiership standings with an attacking masterclass at Sandy Park as they recorded a 42-29 victory.
A milestone game for @Toottankwaldrom who's now scored against every #AvivaPrem club!— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) December 3, 2017
The @ExeterChiefs no.8️⃣ is absolute prolific
Catch full highlights at 8:15 tonight on @Channel5Sport! pic.twitter.com/JHSQA6R8Y3
The Chiefs were unstoppable before half-time, running in four tries through Luke Cowan-Dickie, James Short, Mitch Lees and Don Armand to amass a 28-3 lead.
Waldrom and Gareth Steenson – who also kicked six conversions – added further scores before returning England internationals Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson, plus Aled Brew, all scored.
Matt Banahan’s powerful run saw him breach Exeter’s line to steal a bonus point for Todd Blackadder’s side.
Wasps leave it late
Elliot Daly was voted Old Mutual Wealth player of the series for the November Tests and he carried that form back to Wasps with a try-scoring display against Leicester Tigers.
His score put them back in front heading into the final 15 minutes, while a long-range penalty underlined his kicking value.
Elliot Daly at high speed = one outcome. Fantastic try by Wasps.— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) December 2, 2017
Keep an eye on that Christan Wade decoy run... pic.twitter.com/mN3uFzC9vy
Even with Daly’s efforts, Wasps needed a last-gasp try from Kearnan Myall to eventually wrap up a 32-25 success at the Ricoh Arena over the Tigers.
Former England Under 20s winger Jonah Holmes crossed twice for Leicester.
Wasps scored four tries in all – Nizaam Carr and Dan Robson, on the occasion of his 50th cap, also crossed – and the hosts were able to leapfrog their opponents in the table.
Hartley on the mark
England captain Dylan Hartley scored a try on his return to Northampton Saints colours but it wasn’t enough to secure victory as they fell to a 24-22 defeat against Newcastle Falcons.
The Saints skipper almost had a try in the first half as well only for the TMO to deny him.
Harry Mallinder dotted down with Piers Francis kicking five points after coming off the bench but a last-minute Nili Latu try gave the Falcons victory.
“We know where we’re at, but we’ll keep working tirelessly to turn things around.”— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) December 1, 2017
Reaction from Dylan at the Gardens pic.twitter.com/sFYXpEq5tL
Sinoti Sinoti and Josh Matavesi had gone over earlier for the Falcons who saw former England fly half Toby Flood kick nine points despite his sin bin.
The win ends the Falcons run of four straight defeats while the Saints have now lost five in a row in the league.
Cherry & Whites march on
Billy Burns pulled the strings as Gloucester made it five Premiership wins in a row for the first time since 2011 and climbed into the top four.
Burns laid on a try for Lewis Ludlow and scored one himself in the first half against London Irish as the Cherry & Whites – who are unbeaten at Kingsholm this season – led 20-8 at the break.
The Exiles had Petrus du Plessis go over for a try in the first half but captain David Paice saw red.
Burns scored a fine solo second after the break, Jake Polledri darted clear for Gloucester’s fourth and a bonus point before Burns’ perfect kick to the corner gave Henry Purdy a fifth.
The Exiles – who grabbed a second of their own through Teofilo Paulo – stay rooted to the bottom of the standings, their only league win still their season opener against Harlequins at Twickenham Stadium.
Sharks end Warriors’ run
The Warriors two-game winning streak was brought to an end by Sale Sharks at Sixways with Mark Jennings getting the crucial try for the visitors.
The replacement added to Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s first-half score and the Sharks held on despite seeing Byron McGuigan sent off after 65 minutes.
Chris Pennell knocked over three penalties for the hosts, who saw Josh Adams score a try, but they were unable to secure a third-straight league win for the first time since March 2016.
The Sharks meanwhile were able to celebrate their first away Aviva Premiership win since October 2016.