Three matches took place in the Premiership on Saturday and there were wins for Gloucester, Leicester and Worcester Warriors.
Gloucester 39-30 Sale
Tom Marshall’s early try was quickly levelled out by Sam James in an even first 20. Mike Phillips turned it around with Sale’s second, but Richard Hibbard levelled before the break as Gloucester went in 15-12 in front. Kieran Longbottom snatched back the lead for Sale after the restart, and Byron McGuigan grabbed the bonus point moments later. But Henry Trinder, Marshall and Billy Twelvetrees all went over in what was enough for the hosts to pick up the 39-30 win.
One win away from home in the league this season put Sale as firm underdogs, especially when taking into consideration Gloucester’s purple patch of one defeat in their last six at Kingsholm. And Gloucester thought they’d gone ahead within five minutes as Trinder crashed over after Sale had lost possession. But the try was ruled out for a knock-on, as Sale lived to fight another day.
Gloucester did get first blood though and went through courtesy of Marshall, who skipped past a couple of challenges and allowed the conversion to follow from Billy Burns. It lasted no longer than a couple of minutes though, as Sale struck back immediately. Having misinterpreted the kick-off, James took advantage of the defensive lapse to go through, AJ MacGinty converting. And Sale turned it around quickly, with Phillips putting them ahead with a second try in five minutes. He was fed by Ben Curry who chased down a kick, with the conversion missed by MacGinty. And he was emulated by Burns, who missed a straight forward penalty moments later.
The hosts threw real pressure at Sharks though and levelled in the form a driving maul. After a second five metre line-out, Hibbard forced himself over the line, but Burns missed the kick to keep it all locked at 12-12. He did put three through right on half-time though, for a three point gap.
Sale burst out of the blocks in the second 40 and snatched back the lead with a third try. MacGinty’s initial break did all the hard work and Longbottom went through, which Sale’s 10 converted. And the dream start to the 40 continued as the lead was increased with a fourth try. A line-out threatened to cause trouble and after Josh Beaumont did well in the build up, McGuigan touched down for the bonus point try.
Gloucester were still alive though and kept in touching distance as Trinder went in underneath the posts having previously seen one ruled out. Burns converted to narrow the gap down to just a couple, but MacGinty calmed the nerves with a penalty to restore that gap to five. But a yellow to Ross Harrison for a challenge on Ben Vellacott threatened to undo all the good work that had previously occurred, with just 13 left on the clock.
And that was exactly what happened as Marshall got his second of the afternoon barely two minutes after, finding space on the wing to cross the line. And Burns conversion put Gloucester 29-27 to the good. And that two point gap was stretched further with five minutes left thanks to Twelvetrees. Marshall’s quick break saw Vellacott take up possession, with Twelvetrees doing the final work. And the conversion made a nine point gap uncatchable. A penalty apiece before the end saw Gloucester win a high-scoring encounter 39-30.
Tries: Marshall 2, Hibbard, Trinder, Twelvetrees
Cons: Burns 4
Pens: Burns 2
Tries: James, Phillips, Longbottom, McGuigan
Cons: MacGinty 2
Pens: MacGinty 2
Yellow Card: Harrison
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Jonny May, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Freddie Clarke, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Jeremy Thrush (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 David Halaifonua
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 Ben Curry, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Tom Curry, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 George Nott, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Josh Charnley
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal, Peter Allan
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Leicester 30-3 Newcastle
Leicester went into the break 11-3 up thanks to Ellis Genge’s try right on 40 minutes. Telusa Veainu extended the lead the other side of half-time, with a second from Genge sealing the win midway inside the second half. Ben Youngs went through late on to put the icing on the cake as Leicester eased to a 30-3 win and took a big step towards the top four.
It’s fair to say Falcons don’t typically enjoy their visits to Welford Road, with an eight year gap between their last victory against Tigers. In fact, you have to go back to the last Millennium for their last victory in Leicester. And they started this one slowly, with an early Freddie Burns penalty putting Tigers three points in front inside the opening 10.
Tigers were far the better early on but Newcastle were resolute in defence for the most part, and had chances of their own at the other end – although Tigers didn’t have too much to do defensively. Joel Hodgson was on hand though to level with his first effort at the posts, the sides level at three apiece with 15 of the first half to play. Falcons continued to improve as the half wore on and they looked the more likely to grab the first try, but Burns kicked Leicester back ahead before the opening try came right on half-time.
Genge’s effort was given the all clear by the TMO after pushing for the line, though the conversion didn’t follow as the half-time whistle followed.
David Wilson was issued with a yellow 10 minutes into the restart after collapsing the scrum, and Veainu took advantage of the extra man to extend Tigers’ lead. Ben Youngs spread the ball to the right and found the 15, and Burns converted for an 18-3 lead.
Genge grabbed his second and Leicester’s third after the Youngs duo combined well, with Dan Cole eventually feeding Genge for his second. That extended the gap and late on, Ben Youngs’ superb solo effort had the hosts home and dry. A tap and go was never caught, and he sprinted past the Falcons defence to finish the afternoon on a high and extend Falcons miserable record at Welford Road.
Tries: Genge 2, Veainu, B Youngs
Cons: Burns 2
Pens: Burns 2
Yellow Card: D Wilson
Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Brendon O’Connor, 7 Harry Thacker, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Mike Fitzgerald, 20 Harry Wells, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Mathew Tait
Newcastle: 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Calum Green, 3 David Wilson, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Will Witty, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sam Egerton, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Zach Kibirige
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Tim Wigglesworth
TMO: David Sainsbury
Worcester 25-19 Bath
Matt Banahan grabbed the only try of the first half as Bath went in with a 10-6 advantage. Josh Adams and Wynand Olivier went over for Worcester after half-time though, with a late try from Will Spencer securing a 25-19 victory.
Victory at Twickenham against Leicester was a welcome relief for Bath after three defeats on the spin, but their form on the road has been a constant issue all season with no wins away since October. And it was the hosts who started on the front foot, with Perry Humphreys almost going over inside a couple of minutes. The game settled down though and aside from Humphreys going close, neither side looked overly dangerous inside the first quarter of the match.
It was Bath who went ahead though, as a George Ford penalty sailed through the sticks to put Bath 3-0 ahead. Warriors almost struck back immediately as Sam Lewis went through on the inside, but metres from the line he went down and fell short, much to the dismay of the Sixways faithful. Ryan Mills did level five minutes before half-time though, his kick from distance well executed to make it 3-3.
They weren’t on terms for long though as Banahan got the first try of the game two minutes before the break. A kick up to 10 metres from Ford set the alarms off in the Worcester back line, and Banahan broke a challenge to put Bath back ahead. The conversion followed, before a huge kick from Mills cut the lead back down to 6-10 at half-time.
Ford put the gap back to seven with a third successful kick, but a first Worcester try of the afternoon was coming. Having previously been denied on their ventures up to 10 metres, Adams grabbed the try Ben Te’o and Jackson Willison put in the hard work in the build up. Mills missed the conversion and followed that with a missed penalty from 40 metres as Bath hung on to a 11-13 lead.
It didn’t last however, with Olivier sent through by Mills to put Warriors three ahead. Mills added the two for an 18-13 advantage, with Bath offering little since the restart. Ford did kick his side back into it though to cut the arrears down to two with 10 minutes remaining. But Worcester always looked the more likely to pick up the win and after Te’o’s try was ruled out, Spencer secured the win. It took long enough after countless pushes, but Spencer eventually edged through with the conversion from Mills followed by a Ford penalty as Worcester picked up the 25-19 win.
Tries: Adams, Olivier, Spencer
Cons: Mills 2
Pens: Mills 2
Pens: Ford 4
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Marco Mama, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Will Spencer, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan (c), 3 Biyi Alo, 2 Joe Taufete’e, 1 Ryan Bower
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Dewald Potgieter, 20 Alafoti Faosiliva, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Wynand Olivier
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford (cc), 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Francois Louw (cc), 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 David Denton, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace, Ross Campbell,
TMO: Geoff Warren