Saracens were awarded three penalty tries as they beat Leicester 26-6 at Allianz Park, while Northampton, Gloucester, Newcastle, Sale and Harlequins also won in the English Premiership.
Leicester took an early lead through the boot of Freddie Burns, before a dominant forward effort saw Sarries awarded their first of three penalty tries in the 11th minute. The hosts’ forwards set up a strong driving maul from a lineout, before the backline joined in, leaving referee Greg Garner no choice but to punish Leicester for collapsing the maul.
A second penalty from Burns put the visitors within one point at the break. Sarries extended their lead early in the second half as Jamie George went over from the back of another strong lineout maul to take the score to 12-6.
The Tigers hardly threatened the hosts’ tryline in the second half, playing much of it inside their own territory. Their defensive efforts were unable to cope with the pressure applied by a confident Saracens attack and a powerful forward display. The pressure told as Sarries were awarded two penalty tries from the scrum to complete a four-try bonus-point victory.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Gloucester beat London Irish 27-14 to deny the visitors a second successive win. The Exiles led 14-6 at half-time, but were unable to capitalise as James Hook kicked Gloucester ahead and two second-half tries secured the victory for the hosts.
The Newcastle Falcons held on for a 19-14 win against Bath at Kingston Park. Bath scored first through a Matt Garvey try, but a fightback from Falcons saw the hosts take a 13-8 lead into the break. Rhys Priestland kicked the visitors into the lead in the second half, but two late penalties from Craig Willis gave Falcons the win.
The Sale Sharks secured their first win in five weeks, beating Wasps 15-9. It was a battle of the kickers as Danny Cipriani scored all his side’s points, four penalties and a drop goal, to help the hosts to their third Premiership win this season; and their third win at home.
On Sunday, Harlequins weathered a spirited comeback by Worcester Warriors to win 24-20 away from home. Quins winger Charlie Walker scored twice as the visitors raced to a 24-3 lead after 45 minutes. Warriors scored three tries in the second half, including one penalty try, but two missed conversion attempts and a missed penalty in the first half proved the difference as Quins held on for their fifth win this season.
On Friday, the Northampton Saints held out for an 8-3 win against the Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens. The hosts scored early in the first half through a try by hooker Mike Haywood with a JJ Hanrahan penalty giving them an 8-0 lead at the break. A 73rd-minute penalty kick by Gareth Steenson was the only points scored in the second half as neither side were able to capitalise on their opportunities.
Round 8 results:
Northampton Saints 8 Exeter Chiefs 3
Gloucester 27 London Irish 14
Newcastle Falcons 19 Bath 14
Saracens 26 Leicester Tigers 6
Sale Sharks 15 Wasps 9
Worcester Warriors 20 Harlequins 24
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images