Saracens get maximum haul against Wasps
March 29, 2014
Mako Vunipola feels the force of the Wasps defence © Getty Images
Saracens secured their position at the top of the Aviva Premiership tree with a bonus point 32-20 win over local rivals Wasps at Adams Park.
Wasps, without Joe Launchbury and Matt Mullan in their pack, were second best to a strong Saracens line-up with the visitors scoring four tries through Jamie George (two), Jackson Wray and Alex Goode. Charlie Hodgson kicked a penalty and two conversions with replacement, Owen Farrell, kicking a further penalty and conversion.
Wasps, inspired by scrum half Joe Simpson, managed three tries from Tom Howe, Jonah Holmes and Carlo Festuccia. Andy Goode did kick one penalty but missed four other kicks which prevented his side from remaining in contention.
Harlequins revived their Aviva Premiership play-off hopes by dispatching London Irish 23-9 with the vision of Danny Care inspiring the decisive act of a hard-fought clash at Twickenham Stoop.
England trio Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown and Care returned after being rested for last Saturday's rout by Saracens, but Quins still struggled to dispatch the Exiles. It was only when Care floated a superb scoring pass to wing Sam Smith in the 70th minute, establishing an 18-9 lead, that Irish were beaten.
Harlequins' Ollie Lindsay Hague does his best to make some yards © Getty Images
Brown, the recently-crowned player of the Six Nations, crossed late on to give the scoreline an emphatic appearance that failed to tell the full story of the Exiles' effort. The boot of full-back James O'Connor, who kicked three penalties, kept them in the hunt until Care spied his chance to deliver the killer blow. Harlequins had Nick Evans to thank for building their initial lead with the former New Zealand fly-half scoring a solo try and landing two conversions and a penalty.
Gloucester leap-frogged over Exeter to move up to eighth in the Aviva Premiership standings as they claimed a 14-13 win at Sandy Park but the Chiefs left with a valuable losing bonus point.
The opening 40 minutes was had few memorable moments as Exeter went in at half time 8-6 ahead after a try from wing Matt Jess and a Henry Slade penalty with Gloucester's reply being two Rob Cook penalties.
Gloucester took an early grip to the second half with Cook's third penalty before he gave the final pass for Charlie Sharples to cross out wide but Exeter -who were playing against 13 men after Gloucester had Sione Kalamafoni and Sila Puafisi sin-binned - came back in the final minutes through a Don Armand try but could not convert it to claim victory.
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