Round 16 is done and dusted shortly before we dive into Round 17. A narrow win for Exeter saw them increase their already substantial lead at the top of the standings while Sale tasted victory for the first time since the resumption of rugby after the break.
Worcester, Saracens, Leicester and Bath were the other victors of the round.
Wasps vs Sale:
Sale enjoyed their first win after the hiatus as they downed Wasps 20-11 at the Ricoh Arena.
The game was a scrappy affair, played in fairly poor conditions, with both teams competitive. Wasps’ discipline left much to be desired as they gave away a series of penalties which cost them in the end.
Sale began to pull clear after a 55th minute penalty put them 15-6 ahead before scoring the first try of the game in the corner a few minutes later. Wasps were loathe to throw in the towel, however – Jack Willis diving over shortly before full-time.
Bristol Bears vs Exeter:
Exeter extended their lead on the overall standings as they managed to emerge victorious in their battle with the Bears at Ashton Gate.
The 25-22 win puts Exeter 11 points clear of the second-placed Bears on the log.
Going into half-time 15-3 down, Bears built a comeback in the second half – running in two quick tries and taking the lead for the first time in the game (17-15).
Another Bristol try and an Exeter penalty had the scoreboard at 22-18 to the hosts with just 10 minutes to play.
Exeter, however, showed both composure and quality to snatch the game from Bristol at the end with a third try.
Worcester vs Harlequins:
Worcester posted a win for the first time in eight matches as they out-classed Harlequins 29-14 at Sixways.
The writing was on the wall at half-time as Worcester managed to build up an impressive 26 point lead while not allowing Quins to form any kind of momentum.
The home side took their foot off the gas in the second stanza, ticking the scoreboard only once through a penalty while Quins ran in two tries courtesy of Chris Ashton and Elia Elia.
Saracens vs Gloucester:
Saracens pulled off a convincing 36-20 victory over their Gloucester rivals at Allianz Park. Hooker Tom Woolstencroft had an energetic evening, managing to scoop both a hat-trick and man-of-the-match award as well.
Besides penalties here and there, both sides put together a single try in the first stanza for a half-time score of 14-10.
The Saracens pack came out firing in the second half, earning two tries in ten minutes from powerful driving mauls to create a 16-point lead.
Gloucester hit back with a try as the final quarter approached but Saracens answered with a brace of their own to hammer down the result.
Leicester vs London Irish:
A low-scoring, scrappy spectacle ended with Leicester Tigers emerging victorious over a London Irish outfit which waited until the second half to deliver.
Tigers’ defence was solid in the first half and they managed to go into half-time with a 10-point lead.
Exiles came out of the shed looking rejuvenated, however, running in a try but it was to be the last as Tigers’ defence endured.
Final score: 13-7
Northampton Saints vs Bath:
With neither side giving an inch in the first half, the teams jogged off to the shed with the score tied up at 3 apiece. Saints were vibrant on attack and defence, their runners utilising their possession to keep them on the front foot and going forward while their defence negated Bath’s attack.
The tide turned in the second half, however, and Bath, after slotting several kicks at goal, managed a try to seal the game in the closing stages.
Final score: 18-3