Round 18 favoured the away sides, strangely enough, with Gloucester being the only home team to come away with a victory.
The round kicked off with Bristol burying Worcester 36-13 in a free-flowing game with plenty of running rugby. Bristol’s attack proved too much for Worcester’s defence as the latter never seemed to be fully in the game.
Northampton Saints ran Exeter very close after Jack Yeandle’s men were looking good after building a 14-0 lead before Saints clicked into gear and mounted an impressive comeback, scoring three tries and taking the lead. Exeter, however, still had something left in the tank and dotted down to reclaim the match ten minutes from time.
Wasps managed to get one over Saracens in an energetic battle that saw England captain Owen Farrell red carded after a brutal high tackle. Saracens’ overall discipline left much to be desired, allowing Jimmy Gopperth to take full advantage with the boot. The final whistle sounded with the score at 28-18.
Bath did the business at The Stoop, leaving the ground with a 41-27, bonus-point win against ‘Quins, thus keeping their title hopes alive. ‘Quins started strongly, bossing the first quarter before Bath rumbled into a good rhythm which their opponents could not dissipate.
Sale continued on their winning rampage as they despatched Leicester Tigers 40-31 at Welford Road. Although Sale were dominant, it was a good effort by Leicester, especially towards the end of the game – who have struggled somewhat since the return to rugby after the hiatus.
Gloucester saw out London Irish in the final game of the round, 36-23. It was a competitive game before Gloucester broke away in the second half, leaving Exiles with too much to do. Gloucester now find themselves level with Northampton on points while Exiles occupy ninth spot on the log. Gloucester timed their peak well, coming hard at Exiles in the closing stages with quality, running play.