Aviva Premiership - Round 21
Exeter close in on top six spot
April 20, 2013
Exeter celebrate Jack Nowell's score against Wasps © Getty Images
Exeter Chiefs moved into the top six of the Aviva Premiership with a commanding 37-24 win over London Wasps at Adams Park on Sunday.
If Exeter win their last match of the season then they will be assured of Heineken Cup rugby next season. Exeter stormed into an early lead with Jack Yeandle going over in the corner after good work from Gareth Steenson, who finished the match with 17 points, and they soon had their second try on the board thanks to Jack Nowell's neat line following James Scaysbrook's neat pass. But Christian Wade pinned Exeter back with a stunning solo effort which meant the away side went into the break 10 points ahead.
And after the break Exeter continued in the same manner they started the match with lock Damian Welch galloping through the Wasps defence to stretch the Chiefs' lead. Hugo Southwell cut the deficit with a score for Wasps but Haydn Thomas' sniping effort in the 56th minute secured the four-try bonus point and the win. Tom Varndell crossed late on for Wasps in what was his 13th score of the season.
Harlequins secured their spot in the play-offs as they put six tries on Worcester Warriors to come away from Sixways with a 42-26 triumph.
Danny Care and Nick Evans grabbed two tries each while Tom Williams and Mike Brown also crossed. The win keeps Harlequins in third as they go into their final match of the season with Northampton Saints in a fortnight's time. Worcester put in a resilient performance on the week where they parted company with their coach Richard Hill with Chris Pennell and Alex Grove crossing for their tries. Andy Goode, in his last game at Sixways prior to his summer move to Wasps, slotted 16 points for the home side.
Northampton Saints also stepped into the knock-out stages with a seven-try 47-7 demolition of Sale Sharks.
Winger Jamie Elliot and replacement James Wilson both scored twice in the second half as the Saints ran riot in their last appearance at Franklin's Gardens this season. The hosts had already touched down three times in the first half with Tom Wood, Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson all crossing. Stephen Myler added two conversions and two penalties while Ryan Lamb landed a conversion. Sale's only points came through a converted James Gaskell try in injury time.
Bath kept alive their Heineken Cup qualification hopes thanks to a bonus point 27-26 triumph over Leicester Tigers at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.
In a pulsating first-half which saw five tries scored, Leicester went into the break 20-19 to the good. Simon Taylor, who will be leaving Bath at the end of the season, scored the first try of the match but Tom Croft's incisive break and resulting score put Leicester back in front. Semesa Rokoduguni's intercept try tipped the match back in Bath's favour but in the 23rd minute Ben Youngs' quick thinking, where he quick tapped a penalty and ran through Bath's flailing defence from his own 22 to score, gave Leicester a strong lead.
Horacio Agulla bagged one score back for Bath prior to the break but two penalties from Toby Flood put the Tigers 26-19 up early in the second-half. However, it was Bath who had the final say with Tom Heathcote knocking over a penalty and Francois Louw's 73rd minute try giving the home side the win.
Gloucester ran in three tries en route to their 28-23 win over Saracens at Kingsholm.
Jonny May, tipped by many to be on the verge of an England call-up come the summer, bagged two tries while returning No.8 Ben Morgan scored a sensational second-half score to give Gloucester the win. Saracens have already secured a home semi-final and if they get two points against Bath next weekend then they will finish the season at the top of the Aviva Premiership tree. Centre Joel Tomkins grabbed two tries for the visitors while Owen Farrell slotted 13 points.
London Irish ran in seven tries against London Welsh to claim a 47-28 win at the Madejski Stadium.
Irish secured the four-try bonus point after 42 minutes with their tries coming from Guy Armitage (two), Halani Aulika (two), Chris Hala'ufia, Sailosi Tagicakibau and Matt Garvey. London Welsh, who are stuck to the foot of the table, scored three of their own through Seb Stegmann, Nick Scott and Greg Bateman but they will be scant consolation on a week where their relegation was all but confirmed.
Danny Care goes over against Worcester © Getty Images
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