After Exeter Chiefs’ loss to Gloucester the day before, both Wasps and Leicester Tigers took advantage to move ahead of them in the Aviva Premiership table yesterday as both recorded home victories. Wasps go fourth and Leicester sit just behind them in fifth, with Exeter a further point back now in sixth as the race for the end of season play-off places hots up.
Wasps 41 Sale 16
Wasps enjoyed a relatively comfortable afternoon in their new surroundings at the Ricoh Arena with a 41-16 win against Sale, outscoring their opponents on the try count by five to one. Their new home venue is fast becoming a good ‘omen’ for them as they also took yet another bonus point to help in their league battle in the top six, this being the third league win in a row as their season starts to gain momentum. Besides a brace of tries for Joe Simpson, James Haskell, Ashley Johnson and Nathan Hughes all got in on the try-scoring act as the points were racked up for the home side. Not to be left out, Andy Goode enjoyed another productive match with 16 points scored from his trusty boot.
For once, Danny Cipriani could not rally the Sale side, but they at least managed to score a try of their own late on from Andrei Ostrikov, which Cipriani converted.
Leicester 17 Bath 8
This was sweet revenge for the Tigers after being blitzed in the reverse fixture by Bath earlier in the season in an ignominious 45-0 defeat. Their winning margin at Welford Road was nowhere near as flattering but could prove decisive for their own hopes of success come the end of the season, besides putting a temporary hold on Bath’s challenge at the top with Northampton. A packed crowd of around 24,000 saw Leicester utilise their set piece as has traditionally been their strength down the years, with a typically ferocious catch-and-drive from a line-out allowing Tom Youngs’ to ultimately go over for a try. Home side momentum was maintained through the boot of Owen Williams, who converted four penalties to push his side into a commanding lead. Bath did score a try of their own through Ross Batty, to add to England prospect George Ford’s penalty, but when Ford missed the conversion of the try, their hopes of a losing bonus point were dashed.
Bath stay six points behind leaders Northampton Saints after the reversal, with Saracens a further four points back in third in the table. #Rugby