Ashton puts Sarries into semis

Wing Chris Ashton scored four tries as Saracens trounced London Welsh 68-17 on Saturday to clinch the last English Premiership play-off spot.

Sarries went into the contest against their London neighbours in fifth position behind the Exeter Chiefs on the table, but turned in a splendid performance in the final league phase round to overtake the Chiefs and book their place in the semi-finals.

Together with Ashton’s four tries, the Vunipola brothers, Mako and Billy, Alex Goode, David Strettle, Juan Figallo and Charlie Hodgson all chipped in with touchdowns. Flyhalf Owen Farrell added nine out of the 10 conversions to compound Welsh’s misery, as they ended the season winless.

Meanwhile, the Leicester Tigers ousted the Northampton Saints 22-14 thanks to three penalties from Freddie Burns. While the result had no impact on the Saints’ position at the summit of the table, it helped the Tigers secure third spot ahead of Saracens. The Saints will host Sarries in the first semi-final next week, while the Tigers will meet Bath at the Rec.

In other results, Bath hammered Gloucester 50-30, a late try saw London Irish snatch a 40-40 draw with Wasps, Exeter defeated the Sale Sharks 44-16 but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the top four, and the Newcastle Falcons stunned Harlequins with a 37-21 victory at Kingston Park.

Round 22 results:

Saracens 68 London Welsh 17
Leicester 22 Northampton 14
Bath 50 Gloucester 30
London Irish 40 Wasps 40
Exeter Chiefs 44 Sale Sharks 16
Newcastle 37 Harlequins 21

Photo: David Jones/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams