Aviva Premiership round-up: Exeter beat Northampton to go top of the table

Exeter star Will Chudley in action

Exeter 20-12 Northampton

Exeter produced a strong second-half rally against Northampton to win a fierce contest 20-12 at Sandy Park and maintain the pressure on Saracens at the top of the Aviva Premiership table.

A lethargic Exeter trailed 12-3 at half-time but after the interval the Chiefs dominated to be deserved winners.

Olly Woodburn scored the Exeter try with Gareth Steenson kicking five penalties to take him to 182 points in the league this season. Saints scored two tries through Lee Dickson and Ken Pisi with JJ Hanrahan converting one.

Leicester 21-13 Saracens

Leicester fly-half Freddie Burns was the star of the show at Welford Road as the Tigers kept up their top-four play-off ambitions with a workmanlike 21-13 win over high-flying Saracens.

Burns scored a try, conversion, two penalties and a drop goal as Saracens failed to reclaim top spot in the Aviva Premiership after Exeter had beaten Northampton earlier on Sunday.

His 16-point haul also ensured Leicester moved back into the play-off places on an emotional afternoon at Welford Road.

Wasps 39-12 Sale

Jimmy Gopperth stepped up Wasps’ charge for the Aviva Premiership play-offs as he scored 17 points in a five-try 39-12 victory over Sale Sharks.

Dai Young’s third-placed team have now won six consecutive home matches and eight of their last nine in the top flight and lie behind only Exeter and Saracens in the standings.

Charles Piutau, Rob Miller, Ashley Johnson and Christian Wade got their other tries, while David Seymour and Neil Briggs crossed for Sale.

London Irish 23-18 Gloucester

London Irish kept their hopes of remaining in the Aviva Premiership alive with a battling win over Gloucester to cut the gap to 11th-placed Newcastle Falcons down to five points.

Blair Cowan’s late try and the boot of Greig Tonks sealed a victory at the Madejski Stadium that could prove vital in the final reckoning for Tom Coventry’s side.

Halani Aulika got their opening try, while Gloucester stars Lewis Ludlow and Henry Trinder got on the scoresheet as Tonks’ kicking proved pivotal.

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