Saracens lose initiative

Saracens ran out of steam to lose 20-16 to Northampton in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and miss out on a home semi-final.

Sitting atop the Premiership table and through to the play-off stages of the European Cup, their second-string team secured their place in the Anglo-Welsh knockout phase with a 41-8 win over Newcastle last week, a day after their 'A' team had beaten Jake White's Sharks. But Northampton scored three tries to one, with their American lock, Samo Manua, notching two; the second of which rubbed out Saracens' 16-15 lead in the 69th minute. But they will have to do it all again when they meet in the semi-finals in March.

Exeter overran lowly Worcester 42-3, with five tries, to head Pool B and line up a meeting with Bath in the semi-final. They were helped in no small measure by the Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers surprisingly losing on Friday to the Ospreys and Bath respectively.

Weekend's results:

Cardiff Blues 35 Harlequins 5
Ospreys 37 Sale 36
Leicester 17 Bath 35
Newcastle 22 Newport Gwent Dragons 0
Worcester 3 Exeter 42
Northampton 20 Saracens 16
Gloucester 36 Wasps 5
London Irish 29 Scarlets 10

Semi-finals (8/9 March):

Bath vs Exeter
Northampton vs Saracens

Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty Images