Saracens, Saints tighten grip

Saracens and the Northampton Saints continued to dominate the English Premiership.

While Northampton consolidated their position with a five-try win over Gloucester on Saturday, Saracens did what was necessary with a 23-10 scoreline over Bath on Friday night.

But in the fight for the remaining two knock-out positions was thrown open when Quins had to fight all the way for a one-point win over relegation-bound Worcester. The basement team, who have not won in 16 matches, led 13-3 at half-time but were beaten down by two tries in the second half. Quins' failure to grab a four-try bonus could proved costly, as Leicester turned up the heat in the second half against Newcastle on Sunday, scoring four tries for 41-18 win and leaping into fourth place on the log, level with Bath on 49 points.

Saracens showed the gulf in class between the top two and the rest by their effort over third-placed Bath at the Rec.

Francois Louw's Bath team were always on the back foot until Namibian flanker Jacques Burger was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle in the 65th minute. Saracens then chose not to bolster their scrum, which led to a penalty try as Bath drove in constantly, forcing one penalty too many.

It was too little too late. Saracens had established a sufficient cushion with tries by Chris Wyles and David Strettle and 13 points from the boot of Alex Goode, and the Bok-style defence held out. Bath and Leicester remain 13 points behind Saracens, who trail Northampton by two.

Saracens 23 Bath 10
Exeter 18 London Irish 0
Harlequins 21 Worcester 20
London Wasps 17 Sale 21
Northampton 34 Gloucester 13
Newcastle 18 Leicester 41

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images