Northampton Saints, without firing on all cylinders, beat London Wasps 24-6 at Franklins Gardens on Friday evening. Fit-again England squad man Courtney Lawes was watched by international boss Stuart Lancaster. It transpired that the victory was enough to take them to top place in the table before the end of the weekend.
Over at Worcester, the Warriors fired in four tries for the second successive week, defeating London Irish 35-11. Three came in the final twelve minutes, with home coach Richard Hill believing that the win could have a season-changing effect on his side.
The game started 30 minutes late after the Irish coach was stuck in motorway traffic. Sale Sharks are at Sixways on Friday, 26th October. Signs were showing yesterday that the roadworks on the M.5 will have been completed by then, but nothing can be taken for granted! Sharks travellers: start early!
Sale Sharks put on a more combative performance at Bath, but - not for the first time this season - conceded two late tries to create a 31-10 scoreline. This leaves the Sharks marooned in twelfth with a single point. Leicester Tigers are their next visitors before Heineken Cup rugby takes centre stage.
The Tigers put paid to Exeter Chiefs, 30-8 at Welford Road on Saturday. Despite the impressive margin of victory, the Tigers scored just three tries, a hat-trick by Adam Thompstone. That's successive away reverses for the Devonians, who seemed so impregnable on the opening day at Sandy Park. Exeter head coach Rob Baxter was bemused by the lack of a decision by the TMO in the build up to Thompstone's second effort, but admitted that his side had finished second best on the day.
Tigers' chief Richard Cockerill revealed that Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi could return to face Sale Sharks next Friday evening.
Sunday afternoon's games were in marked contrast to each other. At the top, Harlequins hosted Saracens at The Stoop, whilst there was a battle in Oxford for mid-table dominance, with London Welsh - seekinmg a third win on the run - playing Gloucester.
Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell kicked all of his side's points as Premiership champions Harlequins suffered their first loss this season, 18-16. The game was finely balanced throughout and Danny Care's try shortly before half time gave Quins the slight advantage after Nick Evans and Owen Farrell duelled from the tee.
The kicking battle resumed after the break as the lead swung back and forth, but Evans missed four shots from the tee that cost his side dear. The result means that Northampton are the new Premiership leaders, with Quins dropping to second, while Sarries, who move back into the top four, have now played 260 minutes without scoring a try.
Gloucester edged a hard-fought tussle with London Welsh to extend their unbeaten Premiership run to four games.
Shane Monahan and Tom Savage tries, added to Freddie Burns' eight points gave Gloucester an 18-9 half-time lead.
Welsh's Gordon Ross, who kicked three penalties in the first half, repeated the feat in the second, with Franck Montanella scoring a converted try
However, Billy Twelvetrees' penalty, Shaun Knight's try and further penalties from Burns sealed the win. Final score: Welsh 25, Gloucester 31.
Looking forward, Sale Sharks face Leicester Tigers at Salford City Stadium next Friday, kick off 8.00pm. Secure your seat through the online ticket booking system.