Premiership round 20: six stories from the weekend

  • More on England's comeback bronze in Australia - here
  • How Team England's women secured bronze - here
  • Premiership Heroes: Ben Morgan - more

Saracens cemented their place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals thanks to a convincing victory against Bath Rugby to round off an enthralling weekend of action.

Northampton Saints claimed derby-day spoils at Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons snatched victory in a cracker with Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs saw off London Irish as the season continues to heat up.

There are just two weeks to go and although we now know two of the semi-finalists, there is still plenty to play for.

Farrell finds his touch

Owen Farrell scored 14 points as Saracens secured safe passage into the last four with a comfortable 41-6 win against Bath.

The England centre scored the all-important fourth try for the hosts while he also landed three conversions and a penalty at Allianz Park.

It was a day of celebration for the home fans, with wing Chris Wyles notching his 250th Saracens appearance just weeks before he retires and he was given a rapturous reception before kick off.

And on the pitch there was plenty of cheering too, with tries for Schalk Brits, Liam Williams, Richard Wigglesworth, Farrell, Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer seeing off Bath.

Sublime Simmonds

Sam Simmonds scored a superb hat-trick as Exeter Chiefs cruised to a comfortable 45-5 victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

Ben Moon scored after just two minutes before England international Simmonds, playing at No 8, raced over from just under 30 metres out for his first try.

Simmonds’ second try came as a result of a strong driving maul from the Exeter pack and he slid in shortly after half-time for his third.

Joe Cokanasiga responded for Irish with a score in the corner, but Mitch Lees and Jack Yeandle got in the act late on for the visitors - securing a big victory for the defending champions.

Saints do the double

England fly half George Ford kicked 11 points for Leicester Tigers but it wasn’t enough to prevent them slipping to a 27-21 defeat to rivals Northampton Saints

Former international Ben Foden opened the scoring before Telusa Veainu and Matt Toomua replied for the Tigers.

South African Cobus Reinach then dotted down on the half hour to give Saints a 17-12 lead at the break.

Ahsee Tuala got the crucial try after the interval as Stephen Myler ended with 12 points to give Saints their first East Midlands derby double over the Tigers since 2003/04.

Wade inspires Wasps

Second row Joe Launchbury scored a try as Wasps were 30-15 winners at Worcester Warriors to enhance his side’s chances of a top-four finish.

Flying winger Christian Wade went over twice in the opening half as the home side led 23-3 at the break in Coventry.

Josh Bassett got the bonus point score, converted by Elliot Daly, with the ever-reliable Jimmy Gopperth kicking nine points.

Dean Hammond and Josh Adams replied with late consolation scores for the Warriors but it was too late to make any real impact.

Billy back to his best

Billy Twelvetrees continued to impress for Gloucester Rugby as the Cherry and Whites ran in four tries to down Harlequins 37-9.

The fly half first set up Callum Braley with a neat offload before kicking four penalties to help the home side maintain their fine form at the Kingsholm.

Marcus Smith kicked three penalties for Quins but that’s as good as it got for the visitors as Gloucester notched up three late tries.

First Jason Woodward crossed before Jake Polledri continued his fine season with a try.

Ruan Ackermann’s last-gasp dot down then gave Gloucester a crucial bonus-point and move the Cherry and Whites into sixth place.

Falcons win northern dual

Gary Graham marked his return from injury with a try as Newcastle Falcons won a thrilling contest with Sale Sharks 35-30 on Friday night.

The flanker, part of the England squad in the lead up to the Six Nations, was one of four Falcons try scorers in the opening half hour with Callum Green, Simon Hammersley and Scott Lawson.

That put the hosts 25-0 up but a remarkable turnaround, with tries from Ben Curry and Marland Yarde (2), saw the Sharks turn the tables.

The visitors led 27-25 on the hour mark only for Rob Vickers to score in the final moments to restore Falcons advantage and give them the victory.