Saracens ended the Exeter Chiefs’ seven-match unbeaten run with a 40-17 victory, while there were also wins for Bath, the Worcester Warriors, Leicester Tigers and Wasps on Sunday.
The highlight of Sunday’s Premiership action saw last season’s champions Saracens up against this season’s would-be champions and log leaders Exeter in a repeat of last season’s final.
Both sides named much-changed lineups with a view to next weekend’s European Champions Cup quarter-finals, with Don Armand captaining the Chiefs while his opposite number Janco Venter made his first start for Saracens.
The first-half of the match was deadlocked at 5-5, with Saracens opening the scoring through young wing Rotimi Segun before Exeter levelled the scores. Saracens were able to land a double-blow just before the break, though, as centre Dom Morris scored in between a penalty and conversion from flyhalf Manu Vunipola, seeing them take a 15-5 lead into half-time.
Saracens took this momentum into the second half as Vunipola slotted his second penalty, before Exeter briefly threatened to come back into the contest as lock Will Witty scored an unconverted try, leaving the scores at 18-10.
However, from that stage on it was all Saracens as left wing Elliott Obatoyinbo dotted down, before Venter was able to get a memorable try when he got a touch on the ball after their scrum obliterated the Chiefs pack. Another impressive Saracens scrum saw replacement lock Cameron Boon get a debut try to end the rout.
In earlier action, an impressive effort from Sale Sharks’ South Africans was not enough to prevent them from slumping to a 37-22 loss to Bath. As a result, the Sharks surrendered second place on the table and dropped to fourth, while Bath rose to third place. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jean-Luc du Preez and Daniel du Preez all scored a try each for the Sharks.
Meanwhile, Wasps were able to climb into second place by demolishing the Bristol Bears 59-35, scoring eight tries to their opponent’s four. Wasps have now won six of their seven games since the restart.
In other results, the Leicester Tigers ended a three-match losing streak with a 28-24 win over the Northampton Saints, who are now five games without a win. In another battle of the Premiership strugglers, Francois Hougaard scored a brace of tries to help the Worcester Warriors end their own three-match losing run by beating the London Irish 40-25.
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