Warriors make history against Chiefs
The Warriors upset the apple cart by condemning the reigning champions to their first home defeat of the season, beating Exeter for the first time in the Premiership after 11 failed attempts.
Henry Trinder grabbed a superb first-half try double as Gloucester moved into the Premiership top four with an impressive victory over Leicester Tigers.
Trinder spectacularly cancelled out tries from Nick Malouf and Joe Ford to make it 14-14 at half-time before a Billy Twelvetrees penalty and Matt Scott's neat finish after the break secured a 24-17 triumph.
Meanwhile, Richard Barrington and Max Malins both crossed as Saracens stormed past Newcastle Falcons 25-3, narrowly missing out on a bonus point.
Sale Sharks survived a late fight back from London Irish to scrape away with a narrow 13-9 victory at the Madejski Stadium courtesy of a Josh Strauss try.
Exeter Chiefs 5-6 Worcester Warriors
A cagey opening saw both teams struggle to hit their stride, with the scores remaining level right through until the 21st minute when Chris Pennell put Worcester 3-0 up.
The fullback was handed the opportunity to kick for goal from well over 40 metres and held his nerve to bisect the posts.
Shortly afterwards, Pennell was at the thick of the action again as he combined with Jackson Willison but a promising Worcester break fell apart as Luke Cowan-Dickie intercepted a loose pass.
Exeter's first real offensive of note came with eight minutes of the first period to go, Sam Hill helping attempt to tee up Olly Woodburn but the hosts were unable to force their way over in the corner.
With the final action of the first period, Pennell slotted away another penalty to make it 6-0 and the visitors burst out of the blocks after the restart and earned themselves another kick at goal but Pennell was off-target this time.
The Chiefs finally awoke from their slumber and found a way through the Worcester bulwark, the maul driving its way over the line for Mitch Lees to dot down in the 57th minute, but Gareth Steenson’s missed conversion attempt would prove costly.
From there, the hosts turned the screw as they attempted to avoid an upset but the Warriors battled for every yard and ultimately did enough to pull off a memorable victory.
For Exeter Chiefs:
For Worcester Warriors:
Pens: Pennell 2
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Nic White, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Moray Low, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Toby Salmon, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ollie Devoto.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Will Spencer, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan (c), 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 Darren Barry, 21 Matt Cox, 22 Luke Baldwin, 23 Tom Howe.
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Philip Watters
TMO: David Rose
Gloucester 24-17 Leicester Tigers
Gloucester made most of the early running but their attacking endeavours only led to the opening try for Tigers as Nick Malouf read a Henry Trinder pass intended for Lewis Ludlow just outside his own 22 and raced away for a fifth Premiership try of the season.
But the hosts were level in spectacular fashion midway through the half as quick hands from a pair of flanks, first Jake Polledri then Ludlow, freed Trinder on the left touchline and the centre had enough pace to outstrip the defence and go over in the corner.
Twelvetrees nailed the tricky conversion but they weren't level for long as Brendon O'Connor and Graham Kitchener exchanged inside passes before the former was hauled down just short of the line and offloaded from the ground to the supporting Joe Ford to finish.
But Trinder ensured the sides went into the break at 14-14 as Jason Woodward made the initial break and after a number of phases down the short side, Tom Marshall got his arms free on the floor and popped a pass to the makeshift wing to dash over.
Twelvetrees stayed perfect from the tee with a penalty early in the second half and the Cherry & Whites took a decisive lead just before the hour mark as a series of powerful runs sucked in the Leicester defence before Scott took advantage of the overlap on the right to dot down.
Despite knocking on the door, the hosts were unable to secure a four-try bonus in the final 20 minutes but the Tigers left the West Country with a losing bonus point of their own as Matt Toomua's penalty with the last kick of the game narrowed the gap to seven.
Tries: Trinder 2, Scott
Cons: Twelvetrees 3
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Malouf, Ford
Cons: Ford 2
Yellow card: Logovi'i Mulipola (Leicester, 47)
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Jake Polledri, 5 Mariano Galarza; 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa; 2 James Hanson, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Matt Scott.
Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Greg Bateman.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Harry Simmons, 22 Gareth Owen, 23 Mathew Tait.
Referee: John-Paul Doyle
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Paul Dix
TMO: Claire Hodnett
Saracens 25-3 Newcastle Falcons
The hosts were in control for much of the contest while their superb defence kept out the Falcons at Allianz Park.
With Exeter Chiefs losing to Saracens, the European champions have now closed to within a point of the top of the table – and look on course for a semifinal spot.
The first-half was even, with the team exchanging early penalties, Spencer slotting over for Sarries in the ninth minute and Hodgson replying for the Falcons in the 11th minute.
Spencer fired over his second penalty of the game in the 19th minute before the Sarries pack started to dominate.
Sarries scored the first try in the 27th minute with a pick and go put down under the posts by prop Richard Barrington with Spencer adding the extras.
The lead was extended four minutes later when TMO Trevor Fisher adjudged that Williams had been tackled off the ball by Falcons wing Sinoti, attempting to get a hand on Alex Lozowski's chip through.
Sinoti was sent to the sin-bin but Newcastle rallied and prevented any points from being scored while down to 14.
However, it was a handling error that prevented Newcastle from scoring a try of their own when back row Nili Latu knocked-on five metres from the line after a flowing passing move from right to left.
Max Malins added a third try minute after coming off the bench, taking full advantage of the weather conditions to slide over the line.
Tries: Barrington, Penalty Try, Malins
Pens: Spencer 2
For Newcastle Falcons:
Yellow card: Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons, 30)
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Ben Earl, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Max Malins, 23 Nathan Earle.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Nili Latu, 6 Ryan Burrows, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Scott Wilson, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Evan Olmstead, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Maxime Mermoz, 23 Alex Tait.
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant referees: Simon McConnell, Roy Maybank
TMO: Trevor Fisher
London Irish 9-13 Sale Sharks
The visitors consistently and aggressively bombarded London Irish with pressure in the first half and their persistence was rewarded when Josh Strauss sprawled over the line to put the visitors 10-3 ahead at the break.
However, the tables turned in the second half as Sale showed cracks of indiscipline and Tommy Bell's boot kept the Irish on the Sharks tail.
The Exiles pushed for the line late on to try and steal a victory but last season's Championship winners remain searching for a win in the Premiership since the opening day of the season.
Their nerves on the back foot showed as they were fell behind early with Faf de Klerk clipping a penalty off the left post.
South Africa's de Klerk seemed eager to get his name next to the try scorer's list but he was perhaps a little too eager as he fumbled an attempted breakaway interception before dropping the ball on the Exiles' doorstep later in the half.
Scottish No.8 Strauss was a constant bother to the Irish line as he barraged his way through gaps in the centre of the field. It was gaps like this that led to the first score as Strauss pounced on a loose ball to give the Sharks a deserved advantage.
The hosts were determined to add to their tally before referee Craig Maxwell-Keys blew his whistle as they tried to tunnel their way through what seemed a brick wall Sale defence.
However, a weakness was spotted in Ross Harrison, who did not roll away on Maxwell-Keys' orders and therefore conceded a penalty, which was confidently converted by Bell.
Wing Josh Charnley could have extended the lead in the second half as he burst down the left-hand side to try and pounce on a kicked ball, but he was forced to knock on under a heavy challenge from Scott Steele.
Bell then cut the arrears to four points as the Irish earned a penalty through clever pressure before de Klerk responded with his boot after he was tackled high by Samoan Ofisa Treviranus.
The Exiles were given some hope of snatching a victory when Marc Jones was penalised for a professional foul and Bell kicked to cut the deficit again with five minutes left, but they were soundly held by Sale until the final whistle.
Pens: Bell 3
Con: De Klerk
Pen: De Klerk 2
Yellow Card: Marc Jones (Sale Sharks, 71)
London Irish: 15 James Marshall, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Theo Brophy Clews, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 6 Arno Botha, 5 Teofilo Paulo, 4 Franco van der Merwe (captain), 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 David Paice, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma.
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Will Addison, 12 Luke James, 11 Josh Charnley; 10 Sam James, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 George Nott, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Cameron Nield, 22 Will Cliff, 23 Mark Jennings.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Keith Lewis