Chiefs put down big play-off marker
Having already sealed their position as the top-ranked team, just two weeks out from the play-offs, they put down a big marker.
* In other Saturday action Worcester Warriors secured their Premiership status for next season and signed off at Sixways in style with a bonus-point win over a struggling Harlequins.
* Tom Homer's show-stopping solo score helped inspire Bath to West Country bragging rights as they claimed the scalp of rivals Gloucester.
We bring you all the Saturday action!
Worcester Warriors 44 Harlequins 13
Worcester Warriors secured their Premiership status for next season and signed off at Sixways in style with a bonus-point win over a struggling Harlequins.
On a day that saw Warriors skipper Donncha O'Callaghan end a glittering 20-year professional career and Chris Pennell pass 200 appearances for the club – the final home game of the season started in superb fashion and got better from there.
Bryce Heem, Jackson Willison, Darren Barry and Ben Te'o all went over in the first half for the hosts as they put Quins to the sword – the bonus point enough to confirm their top-flight status for next season.
Charlie Walker's first-half score and Marcus Smith's boot meant Quins – despite a yellow card for Danny Care – were not out of the clash at half time, trailing only 25-13 after a wayward day from the tee for Kingsley Jones.
But Francois Hougaard's fine solo effort soon after the resumption put the game to bed for Warriors before Jamie Shillcock and Willison went over to seal victory and send them to Franklin's Gardens next weekend for their final game of the season full of confidence.
Heem cut in from the right for Warriors' first before Walker benefited from Danny Care's quick tap to dance clear and respond for the visitors.
But that was a false dawn as Willison forced his way over down the left, Barry barged over under the posts and Te'o danced clear down the right to secure a bonus point and put Warriors out in front.
Hougaard then shrugged off three Quins tacklers on his way to the try line after the break and Warriors were home and hosed at 30-13.
O'Callaghan was then given a rousing reception on the hour mark when replaced before Jamie Shillcock grabbed a sixth and Willison completed his double.
Quins' only away win of the league season came at Wasps all the way back in September and this was not the farewell they will have wanted to give John Kingston as they failed to make their late pressure tell in search of a consolation.
For Worcester Warriors:
Tries:Heem, Willison 2, Barry, Te'o, Hougaard, Shillcock
Cons: Jones, Shillcock 2
Pens: Smith 2
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Marco Mama, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan (captain), 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Ryan Bower.
Replacements: 16 Joe Taufete'e, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 David Denton, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Dean Hammond.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Alofa Alofa, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward (captain), 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Stan South, 20 Archie White, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 James Lang, 23 Tim Visser.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace, Paul Burton
TMO: David Grashoff
Exeter Chiefs 34 Sale Sharks 19
Reigning Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs scored two tries in either half to secure a bonus point success over Sale Sharks 34-19 at Sandy Park.
Scrum-half Nic White and Lachie Turner went over in the first 40 with Byron McGuigan and Andre Ostrikov replying for the visitors.
Jack Yeandle went over after the break with Greg Holmes securing the bonus point despite McGuigan going over for his second in between.
Joe Simmonds opened the scoring with a penalty on four minutes but Sale had the first try as AJ MacGinty put in a delicate chip in and McGuigan collected to dot down.
The Sharks' fly-half nailed the conversion from out wide but the Chiefs regained the lead on 22 minutes as White sniped from the base of a scrum and went over the whitewash.
The champions' second soon followed as they earned turnover ball on halfway with Turner bursting down the touchline to make it 17-7 after 25 minutes.
The visitors reduced the deficit before the break though as second row Ostrikov forced his way over from close range with MacGinty adding the extras.
Exeter moved into further in front with a neat lineout move which saw Sam Simmonds release Don Armand who fed Yeandle to go over for the Chiefs third.
But McGuigan's second – confirmed by the TMO – kept Sale in the hunt at 24-19 with MacGinty unable to add the extras from the touchline.
Chiefs thought they had an instant reply through Stuart Townsend only for a knock on, spotted by referee Karl Dickson, ruling out the score.
A penalty for replacement Gareth Steenson made it 27-19 with eight minutes left before Holmes wrapped up the bonus point in the final minute.
Tries:White, Turner, Yeandle, Holmes
Cons: Simmonds 3, Steenson
Pens: Simmonds, Steenson
Tries:McGuigan 2, Ostrikov
Cons: MacGinty 2
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Tom O'Flaherty.
Sale Sharks: 15 Will Addison, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Luke James, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Ben Curry, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Aexandru Tarus, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Johnny Leota, 23 Paolo Odogwu.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: JP Doyle, Paul Dix
TMO: Keith Lewis
Gloucester 20 Bath 43
Tom Homer's show-stopping solo score helped inspire Bath to West Country bragging rights as they claimed the scalp of rivals Gloucester.
Todd Blackadder's troops run in six tries to claim their fifth straight win at Kingsholm, handing a major blow to Gloucester's hopes of nicking a spot in the Premiership semi-finals along the way.
It didn't take long for the visitors to light the blue touch paper, with Anthony Perenise and Matt Banahan driving Bath forward before feeding Tom Dunn out wide.
The hooker arrived like a freight train, bulldozing his way through a barrage of red and white shirts to dot down, Rhys Priestland adding the extras.
The home side thought they had hit straight back but saw a Lewis Ludlow score chalked off, the Gloucester man penalised for a double movement as he rolled over the try line with Kane Fotuali'I holding on for dear life.
With 14 minutes on the clock, Bath struck again as Francois Louw broke with purpose and slickly offloaded to Priestland, who blazed home before converting his own try.
A Billy Twelvetrees penalty got Gloucester on the scoreboard but, with 25 minutes on the clock, the hosts suffered another setback as Charlie Ewels intercepted a loose ball and teed up Aled Brew, who turned on the afterburners and sprinted all over 60 metres to score, Priestland against converting from the tee.
Just a few minutes later, however, Gloucester grabbed their first try of the afternoon through skipper Ed Slater, who bundled over from out on the right wing, Twelvetrees adding the extras to make it 21-10.
That only served to illicit a magical bonus-point score from the visitors' Homer, who spotted a gap and set off from inside his own half, blistering through the Gloucester defence and holding off three despairing challenges as he ran in a magnificent solo effort.
Twelvetrees and Priestland exchanged penalties either side of half-time and 12 minutes into the second period, the hosts had their second try of the game as, after fine work from Ben Morgan, replacement Ben Vellacott flung the ball over to Jason Woodward to go over, Twelvetrees converting to bring his team to back to within nine points of their rivals.
But it didn't take long for Bath to grab their fifth score of the game, Priestland picking out Cooper Vuna in space, who stood up the Gloucester defence before jinking over out wide, fly-half Priestland converting against to make it 36-20.
The two teams largely cancelled each other out but there was to be one final flourish from Bath, James Wilson seizing upon a loose pass to dot down, Freddie Burns adding the extras.
Cons: Twelvetrees 2
Pens: Twelvetrees 2
Tries:Dunn, Priestland, Brew, Homer, Vuna, Wilson
Cons: Priestland 4, Burns
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Trinder, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Jake Polledri, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Ed Slater (captain), 3 John Afoa, 2 James Hanson, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Andy Symons, 23 David Halaifonua.
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Max Clark, 12 James Wilson, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Charlie Ewels (captain), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 James Phillips, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Max Green, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Cooper Vuna.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Peter Allan, Simon McConnell
TMO: Rowan Kitt