Sale Sharks, who played the first match of the Aviva Premiership Round 10, stand six points behind eleventh-placed London Irish, who captured a losing bonus point while going down to London Welsh with fourteen men.
The weekend finished with Saracens holding off a late Gloucester siege to seal a 28-23 victory at Vicarage Road . Charlie Hodgson's 23 points and Richard Wigglesworth's second half-try had given Sarries a five-point lead to defend but in-form Gloucester piled on the late pressure. They were awarded three scrums just a few metres from the Sarries try-line at the death but the hosts bull-dozed the visitors in the third. Sarries leapfrogged Saints, Tigers and Chiefs into second spot, a point behind leaders Quins.
Bath director of rugby Gary Gold insisted his team were the architects of their own downfall in their 17-12 defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Saturday. The visitors were 12-6 up in the second half courtesy of tries from Stephen Donald and Tom Biggs with two George Ford penalties keeping Leicester in it. Referee Tim Wigglesworth then showed the red card to Bath's Francois Louw and Matt Banahan as well as Tigers' Brett Deacon.
Mr.Wigglesworth also sin-binned Bath's Simon Taylor and Donald, and Leicester capitalised with Adam Thompstone going over and Ford adding the extras, but Gold refused to blame the defeat solely on the officials.
"I would have to go and have a look at the video before I talk about the red cards but the most important thing and my initial feeling about what happened out there was that we were the masters of our own destiny," Gold said. "Certainly I will never condone or coach foul play and I know the professionals involved but more worrying for me is the penalty count. We are going to work hard to rectify it. We thought we had made headway on it last week but again some of it is a mystery and we need to look at ourselves first."
Northampton Saints came away with a 27-16 win at Sale Sharks in Friday's Salford fog after first-half tries from Jamie Elliott, Soane Tonga'uiha and Tom May. The Sharks were much improved after the break adding 13 unanswered points, including tries for Rob Miller and Tommy Taylor - his first for the club - but it was not enough for a losing bonus point.
London Wasps remain without a win on the road this season after Exeter Chiefs battled to a 30-23 victory. Chris Whitehead, Haydn Thomas and Phil Dollman all went over as the Chiefs recorded their fifth Aviva Premiership win from as many games at Sandy Park. The visitors had drawn themselves level at 20-20 with tries from Elliot Daly and Tom Varndell, but Wasps failed to score after the break and went home with a bonus point.
London Welsh player-coach Gordon Ross kicked five-from-five as his side overcame relegation rivals London Irish, who had Chris Hala'ufia dismissed early on. The final score was 15-9, taking the Welsh thirteen points clear of twelfth-placed Sale Sharks.
In Friday's other game, Nick Evans kicked a drop goal with seven minutes remaining to lead reigning champions Harlequins to a 22-19 victory over Worcester Warriors. Evans ended up 17 points after Worcester's leading try-scorer David Lemi crossed for the fourth time this season early on.
Attention switches to Europe for the next two weekends, with Sale Sharks entertaining RC Toulon, five points clear the top of the French Top 14, at Salford City Stadium on Saturday, kick off 3.40pm.
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