Gloucester kept their winning start in this year competition when the won 35-13 against Bristol on Friday.
It was a great second half which saw Johan Ackermann troops secure a deserved victory
Gloucester 35 – 13 Bristol Bears
It was a game of two halves as Bristol were the dominant side during the opening period and led 13-3 at half-time but a different Gloucester came out of the changing room and dominated the second half.
Gloucester eventually outscored their opponents by five tries to one with Charlie Sharples leading the way with a deserved brace and their other tries were scored by Gerbrandt Grobler, Ed Slater and Matt Banahan.
Bristol made their intentions known from the outset as they ran the ball from all areas of the field but they were met by a solid defensive effort from the Cherry and Whites.
Gloucester opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Billy Twelvetrees landed a penalty after George Smith was blown up for illegal play at a ruck.
The visitors drew level two minutes later when Ian Madigan added a three-pointer of his own off the kicking tee after Ruan Ackermann infringed on defence.
Bristol were slowly gaining the upper hand and took the lead in brilliant fashion in the 17th minute. This, after Madigan delivered a perfectly-weighted kick ahead which was gathered out wide by Steven Luatua and he did well to get a pass out to Luke Morahan, who crossed for the opening try.
Madigan added the extras and 10 minutes later he slotted another penalty after Jason Woodward infringed at a breakdown.
Gloucester were under the cosh but upped the ante on attack during the final 10 minutes of the half but although they were camped inside Bristol’s half for large periods, they could not breach their opponents’ tryline.
In the 34th minute they thought they had scored their first try when Jake Polledri crossed the whitewash but his effort was disallowed by the television match official, who could not see a clear grounding of the ball.
Bristol breathed a collective sigh of relief and held onto their lead until the interval.
Gloucester came out firing in the second half, however, and one minute after the restart Grobler barged over from close quarters for his first try in his first competitive start for the Cherry and Whites.
Things went pear-shaped for the visitors in the 48th minute when Smith was sent to the sin bin for a cynical defensive foul close to his tryline and his indiscretion proved costly as Gloucester would score 12 unanswered points during the Wallaby flanker’s stint on the sidelines.
Two minutes after his departure, Gloucester’s inside backs created space for Sharples, who dotted down under the posts with Twelvetrees’ conversion giving the hosts a 17-13 lead.
And three minutes later, Callum Braley drew in a defender deep inside Bristol territory before offloading to Sharples, who cantered in for his 50th Premiership try.
Gloucester had their tails up now and in the 64th minute their captain, Slater, secured their bonus point when he dotted down from close range. Twelvetrees failed with the conversion attempt but he made up for that miss when he added his second penalty five minutes later.
Despite having the game in the bag, Gloucester continued to attack and they finished the match on a high when Banahan dotted down in the left-hand corner in injury time.
Tries: Grobler, Sharples 2, Slater, Banahan
Cons: Twelvetrees 2
Pens: Twelvetrees 2
Pens: Madigan 2
Yellow Card: Smith
Exeter Chiefs 35-18 Sale Sharks
Exeter Chiefs made it three wins from three with a routine home win against Sale, whose own travel woes appear a growing problem, despite being in touch for much of the contest.
The Chiefs, almost inevitably, scored a bonus-point at home and made it maximum points from their three outings following impressive defeats over Leicester and Wasps. Their attack was clear for all to see at the Ricoh last Saturday and they again showed what they are capable of.
Both sides received yellow cards at Sandy Park but it did little to change the end result. Alex Cuthbert came off the bench and scored the all important fourth try and his first in front of the home faithful.
Sale did find themselves 13-7 up with 20 minutes gone after Marland Yarde cancelled out Santiago Cordero’s opening try. However, Exeter proceeded to score a further 28 points to Sale’s five in the final hour.
Jonny Hill, Jack Maunder, Cuthbert and Tom Lawday all scored for the home side with Bryn Evans’ try all the visitors had to show for their efforts.
Tries: Cordero, Hill, Maunder, Cuthbert, Lawday
Cons: Simmonds 3, Steenson 2
Yellow Card: Hill
Tries: Yarde, Evans
Pens: MacGinty 2
Yellow Card: Ross
Harlequins 32-37 Bath
It was third time lucky for Bath as they finally recorded their first win of the campaign with a bonus-point victory at the Stoop.
It was a lot closer than it should’ve been with nine tries shared in Twickenham and, after looking firmly out of the contest, Quins secured a losing bonus-point.
Paul Gustard’s defensive background will not have been satisfied after watching his side lose at home for the first time this season. Bath, meanwhile, have steadily improved since their opening night defeat and were denied at the death last week. This time out they ensured the scoreline wasn’t close enough.
Joe Cokanasiga and Zach Mercer both bagged a brace in the capital. Cokanasiga’s second owing to a beautiful Burns offload with Mercer showing the pace and acceleration befitting a winger to score his second shortly after the bonus-point had been secured.
Jamie Roberts also scored against the club he left in the summer with his replacement Ben Tapuai watching on.
Burns notched 10 points, including a drop-goal, before he was replaced on the hour by Rhys Priestland, who himself scored.
Two tries in five minutes from Danny Care and Joe Marchant had briefly put Quins in front with a quarter gone before Bath’s attack took over.
Joe Marler’s late try under the posts meant with five minutes remaining the home side had an outside chance of snatching a losing bonus-point. Charlie Mulchrone’s effort with 30 seconds remaining did just that and Quins managed to salvage something from an outing where they were second best.
Tries: Care, Marchant, Marler, Mulchrone
Cons: Smith, Lang 2
Pens: Smith 2
Tries: Roberts, Mercer 2, Cokanasiga 2
Cons: Burns 2, Priestland
Northampton Saints 27-38 Saracens
The champions made it three from three in defence of their Premiership crown with victory at one of their favourite hunting grounds.
After putting 50 points of the Saints twice here last year there must’ve been a fear that bad things come in threes. They did, but not in the same fashion it had done last year.
Saracens initially went in front courtesy of an Alex Lewington double and Ben Spencer. However, it looked as if they were going to be dealt their first defeat of the season before a late David Strettle double turned the contest of its head.
Piers Francis scored his second try of the season but that early effort was quickly cancelled out by three unanswered tries. Dylan Hartley, in typical captain fashion, scored a try on his return before fellow forward Ben Franks put the hosts in the lead.
Dan Biggar converted all three tries and notched two penalties to put the Saints in the lead with 10 minutes remaining.
It was the former Saracen turned current Saracen Strettle who scored two tries in the space of three minutes to keep the champions at 100 per cent.
Tries: Francis, Hartley, Franks
Cons: Biggar 3
Pens: Biggar 2
Tries: Lewington 2, Spencer, Strettle 2
Cons: Spencer, Goode
Pens: Spencer, Goode 2
Yellow Cards: George, B Vunipola
Worcester Warriors 20-23 Newcastle Falcons
Worcester once again fell agonisingly short at home as Newcastle held out for the victory and ensured the Warriors remained winless after three outings.
The Falcons were battered by Leicester last time out but looked as if they were about to hand out a battering to Worcester initially, before the home side battled back into the contest, owing much to Duncan Weir’s efforts.
Scrum-half Sonatane Takalua and Sinoti Sinoti both scored tries to put themselves 14-0 up with just under a quarter of an hour gone. They looked as if they were going to run away with it but Worcester’s penalty try with the first-half clock in the red kept the hosts in the game.
Weir scored the home side’s second try and he converted to make it a contest again at Sixways. Despite the Scotsman’s impressive effort it was Toby Flood’s personal haul of 13 points which was ultimately the difference.
Chris Pennell’s penalty on 68 minutes levelled the contest but just four minutes later Flood completed his hat-trick of penalties to push Dean Richards’ side back in front.
Tries: Penalty try, Weir
Pens: Weir, Pennell
Tries: Takulua, Sinoti
Cons: Flood 2
Pens: Flood 3
Yellow Cards: McGuigan, Williams
Wasp 41 Leicester Tigers
In a topsy-turvy match, in which the lead changed hands several times, both sides deserve credit for making this the entertaining spectacle that it was, although the Tigers were forced to play with 14 men for an entire half after Will Spencer was red carded for a high tackle to Tommy Taylor’s head just before half-time.
Both sides scored four tries apiece with Juan de Jongh and Jonny May both rewarded with a brace each, but the home side got the rub of the green in the end and secured the result late in the second half via two Lima Sopoaga penalties.
Wasps dominated the early exchanges and raced into a 14-0 lead courtesy of well-taken tries from De Jongh and Josh Bassett which were both converted by Sopoaga.
De Jongh opened the scoring in the 10th minute when he crossed for the opening try from close quarters after Bassett and Dan Robson played prominent roles in the build-up.
Three minutes later, Bassett gathered an inch-perfect crossfield kick from Elliot Daly before dotting down in the corner, but Leicester struck back five minutes later when May dived onto the ball behind Wasps’ tryline after George Ford stabbed a grubber kick through.
Despite that try, the home side continued to dominate and they extended their lead in the 23rd minute when Nathan Hughes powered his way over the tryline after gathering a pass from Robson deep inside Leicester’s 22.
The Tigers replied with two penalties from Ford which meant Wasps held a 19-11 lead by the half-hour mark before Sopoaga added a penalty of his own two minutes later.
In the 38th minute, Ford made a brilliant break before offloading to Telusa Veainu, who dotted down under the posts and Ford added the extras which narrowed the gap to four points.
Shortly afterwards, Spencer received his marching orders for that hit on Taylor and Daly slotted the resulting penalty from just inside his half which meant Wasps led 25-18 at half-time.
A Ford penalty in the 45th minute cut Wasps’ lead to four points again and three minutes later the home side were also reduced to 14 men when Hughes was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements close to his tryline.
The visitors struck back shortly afterwards when Sione Kalamafoni showed great power and determination to score his side’s third try and Ford’s conversion meant the Tigers were now holding a 28-25 lead.
In the 55th minute, De Jongh left his stamp on this match when he set off on a mazy run in which he beat several defenders before crossing for his side’s bonus-point try and Sopoaga’s conversion gave Wasps a 32-28 lead.
The Tigers refused to surrender, however, and in the 58th minute May gathered a pass from Ford before crossing for his second try. Ford’s conversion extended Leicester’s lead but the home side finished stronger and responded with another Sopoaga penalty which drew his side level at 35-35 in the 66th minute.
Wasps dominated the game’s closing stages and sealed their win with further penalties from Sopoaga in the 72nd minute and just before full-time.
Tries: De Jongh 2, Bassett, Hughes
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pens: Sopoaga 4, Daly
Yellow Card: Hughes
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: May 2, Veainu, Kalamafoni
Cons: Ford 3
Pens: Ford 3
Red Card: Spencer