Premiership Wrap and Team of the Week

Premiership Wrap and Team of the Week
Premiership Rugby returned this weekend following a fortnight of European rugby. 
 
 
Round 16 of the Premiership saw the likes of Northampton, Sale, Exeter, Harlequins and Bath pick up home victories while Bristol were the only team to win away.
 
Premiership Results
 
 
The results see Bristol, Exeter, Sale and Harlequins occupy the top four spots while Gloucester and Worcester prop up the table.
 
 
 
We recap the weekend's action and select our team of the week below. 
 
 
 
Alex Mitchell and Ollie Sleightolme both scored braces as Northampton Saints ran in six tries to claim a convincing victory over the Exiles. 
 
Saints scored three tries in each half saw them to victory. London Irish opened the scoring with a try ten minutes in, but Saints hit back immediately with a Fraser Dingwall to level matters at 7 apiece. Saints edged ahead with a penalty, but a second London Irish try, this time to the inform Ollie Hassell-Collins around the midpoint of the first half saw them up 14-10.
 
Alex Mitchell responded with two tries just a couple of minutes apart, with the Exiles picking up a yellow card in between. Dan Biggar would add a penalty with the final play of the first half to take a 25-14 advantage into the break. 
 
Five minutes into the second half London Irish were right back in the match, through Albert Tuisue, with a try reducing the deficit to six points at 25-19. Saints retook control of the match, with a further two tries, one to Sleightholme and to Francis, before the hour mark to head into the final quarter with a comfortable 37-19 lead. Try number six followed for the Saints with ten minutes remaining, with London Irish scoring a bonus point try shortly after to come away with something from the match.
 
 
 
 
A dominant second-half performance saw the Exeter Chiefs to a 43-13 home win over Wasps. An almost length of the field try saw Exeter strike first just 5 minutes into the match with man of the match Ollie Devoto finishing off the effort. Wasps got on the board shortly after with a penalty to trail 5-3. A second Chiefs try, for Jonny Hill, followed to put the hosts up 10-3. Wasps added a second penalty around the half hour mark and scored their first try from a charge down by Josh Bassett at the back a few minutes later, which saw them take a 13-10 lead into the break.
 
 It was all Exeter in the second half as they scored 33 unanswered points with two quick tries putting them up 22-13 with a little under thirty minutes remaining. Hogg and Cordero both scoring for hosts in that time. Exeter continued to boss the final quarter, with their class showing as they ran in three tries in the final 11 minutes to round off an impressive second half display. Tomas Francis scored his first-ever try for Exeter Chiefs in the 69th minute before Joe Simmonds and Stuart Hogg rounded out the emphatic victory.
 
Sale Sharks were forced to battle through to another victory with a man down as they held out for a 25-22 victory over Gloucester despite a sending off Rob du Preez. The flyhalf assisted Faf de Klerk for a wonderful try and added the extras to give Sale a 7-0 lead. Ruan Ackermann set Jonny May up for a try with a kick from the halfway line. Arron Reed scored in the 20th minute to put Sale even further in front before du Preez was sent off for a dangerous tackle. George Martin converted a penalty which meant Gloucester trailed 12-8 at half time. 
 
Marland Yarde and Santiago Carreras both scored in the first quarter of the second half before Willi Heinz's try and Twelvetrees' conversion levelled the scores. With 10 minutes to go AJ MacGinty slotted a penalty which secured the victory for Sale as the scores remained unchanged.
 
 
Harlequins toppled Worcester Warriors in a try fest at the Stoop with a dozen tries scored in total. Danny Care kicked off the try feast before Worcester responded with Billy Searle edging the visitors ahead 5-7 after seven minutes. 
 
Marcus Smith and Joe Batley both scored as the try tally reached four in the opening 12 minutes. Harlequins dominated the final quarter of the first half with Andre Esterhuizen, Wilco Louw and Will Evans scoring in a 20 minute period to lead 31-14 at the break. Evans scored his second 12 minutes into the second with Tyrone Green adding another five pointer before the hour mark. Luke Northmore brought up half a century in the 70th minute before Worcester scored two tries in the final minute of the game to come away with a bonus point. 
 
 
 
The Bristol Bears shook off a slow opening quarter en route to a 34-17 away win over the Newcastle Falcons in round 16 of the Premiership. Newcastle picked up a yellow card just eleven minutes in, but despite their numerical disadvantage opened the scoring a try through Micky Young to lead 7-0. The Falcons added a penalty after 24 minutes to open up a ten-point gap. 
 
Pat Lam's men found their rhythm and ran in two tries in quick succession around the half hour mark to hit the front 14-10. Jake Heenan stormed in for the first try for the Bears and Max Malins scored the second. Bristol then went over for try number three with the final play of the first half to take a 19-10 lead into the break - Luke Morahan stepping his way over.
 
 Bristol rode their momentum throughout the second half, adding a penalty after 52 minutes before scoring the bonus point fourth try shortly after to head into the final quarter with a healthy 27-10 lead. The game was put to bed with a fifth try with around ten minutes to play, with Newcastle running in a late consolation score.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bath edged Leicester Tigers 21-20 in the final game of the round with Zach Mercer once again at the heart of the Bath's victory at the Rec.
 

Leicester started the brightest of the two sides with George Ford converting two early penalties before Will Muir dotted down for the first of his two tries in the 20th minute. Another penalty from Ford gave Leicester a 7-9 advantage at the break.
 
 
Matias Moroni scored four minutes into the second half. The two sides traded attacks but neither was able to change the scoreline until Ford converted yet another shot at goal before the hour mark.
 
 
Miles Reid got Bath back into the game in the final four minutes of the encounter with Ben Spencer's conversion making it a three point game in the final 13 minutes. 
 
Ford slotted another penalty to extend Leicester's lead to six points but a second score for Will Muir set Ben Spencer up with the chance to steal the win. The scrumhalf stepped up and slotted the kick to hand Bath the one point victory.
 
 
 
Team of the week
 
 
1. Ross Harrison - Sale Sharks
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie - Exeter Chiefs
3. Will Stuart - Bath Rugby
4. Sam Skinner - Exeter Chiefs
5. Chris Vui - Bristol Bears 
6. Nick Isiekwe - Northampton Saints
7. Tom Curry - Sale Sharks
8. Zach Mercer - Bath Rugby
9. Alex Mitchell - Northampton
10. Dan Biggar - Northampton
11. Will Muir - Bath Rugby 
12. Ollie Devoto - Exeter Chiefs
13. Joe Marchant - Harlequins 
14. Luke Morahan - Bristol Bears
15. Max Malins - Bristol Bears

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