There were two Aviva Premiership ties played yesterdaywith a comfortable win for Saracens and a single point victory for Gloucesteraway at Exeter.

Saracens 22 London Irish 6

Sarries were always in control at home to London Irish, despitethe challenging wet and windy conditions experienced at Allianz Park, buildingup an 11-0 advantage by half-time and running out convincing winners at the end.A solid defensive display limited the Exiles to just two penalties over theeighty minutes from the boot of Tom Homer, who briefly gave them hope at thestart of the second-half.

Saracens crossed their opponents’ line twice thanksto a brace of tries from former England winger, David Strettle. His second try andthe four penalties converted by fly-half Owen Farrell, ensuring they alwaysremained just too far ahead of the away side and took a solid if notbreathtaking victory.

Back-rower Billy Vunipola staked his claims for anEngland recall after being dropped for the autumn internationals against Samoaand Australia, both of which England won, with a strong display of impressive ball carrying and dynamism. He causedproblems for the Irish throughout and drew strong praise from their director ofRugby, Brian Smith, afterwards.

‘Concussion’ devices (called the ‘xPatch’) that have been produced by a company inAmerica were worn behind the ears of the Saracens’ players during the game, tolaunch a new initiative designed to aid in research into concussion, somethingthat has been a concern in the game over recent times.

The device is designedto provide data on the size and angle of head hits.

Exeter 25 Gloucester 26

Atopsy-turvy contest between the Chiefs and Gloucester saw the lead exchangehands many times at Sandy Park, but it was the ‘Cherry and Whites’ whoultimately took a narrow victory. They held a 6-0 lead going into half-time throughScottish international, Greig Laidlaw’s two successful penalties and then wentfurther in front as England centre Billy Twelvetrees showed his versatilitywith a drop-goal.

JackNowell and Matt Jess then scored tries for Exeter to give them the lead, butthey were behind again after Tom Savage and Ben Morgan replied in kind withtries for Gloucester. Exeter thought that they would sneak the win at the endafter the ever reliable Thomas Waldrom scored yet another try this season, butGareth Steenson missed the conversion to deny them their first win in three attempts.