Premiership results follow log positions with play-off spots still up for grabs

Premiership results follow log positions with play-off spots still up for grabs

The results in the 18th round of the Premiership matches largely reflected the teams’ positions on the log with the better-placed team winning in four of the five matches.

Only the Leicester loss to Bath, who leapfrogged the Tigers, went against the log-positions.

But the race for play-off spots is still interestingly in, with second-placed Exeter on 54, Sales third on 50 points, Harlequins also on 50 log points, followed by Northampton Saints 46, London Irish 41, Leicester Tigers (37)  and Bath 36

With six rounds remaining, the race is far from over!

▲Unbeaten after their eighth match on the trot, log leaders Bristol had to fight back from a 10-0 deficit after an early goal and a penalty by Newcastle Falcons to win by 34-17.

But the Falcons defence had no answer to the hard running on especially the right-hand side as Bristol opened up the defence with three tries inside ten minutes by Jack Heenan, Max Malins and Luke Morahan.

The nine-point lead at halftime was never threatened as the Bears piled on the pressure, scoring another two tries after halftime through Ben Earl and Malins, his second try coming in the 72th minute.

A consolation try by Kyle Cooper, with Toby Flood adding a second conversion to go with his penalty, gave the game, but outplayed, losers their 17 points.

▲Second-placed Exeter had little trouble beating winning 43-13 with another top side proving too good for the ninth-placed Wasps who led 13-10 at the break.

But then the defending champions had it all their own way in the second half, running in five tries.

The result was a turn-around for Exeter, who with a significantly weakened team, had lost their first encounter against Wasps 34-5.

▲Sale Sharks, third on the log, needed a late penalty to beat log-languishing Gloucester 25-22. A red card to Sale’s Rob du Preez after 26 minutes gave Gloucester a chance that they took to trail by only four points at the break.

Gloucester then pulled back a 14-point led by Sale in the second half with two goals to even matters up but had a late try disallowed right at the end, with AJ Macginty’s penalty ten minutes before full-time the clincher for Sale.

▲ Harlequins, after the weekend's 50-26 win over last-placed Worcester Warriors, moved up with their bonus-point win to be tied with Sale on 50 league points.

The Warriors played tit-for-tat in the early part of the game, but by halftime Quins had stretched their lead to 17 points. They did, however, let through two tries, one converted, in the last three minutes.

Was it fitness? Just relaxing with the big lead? Such a lapse could prove costly as the teams move towards the play-offs.

▲ Northampton’s 44-26 win over London Irish, with Alex Mitchell and Ollie Sleightholme scoring a brace each and Piers Francis and Fraser Dingwall each adding one to go with Dan Biggar’s 20 points, saw them move up to fourth place for one day before Quins’ bonus point win against Worcester.

▲In a match that was evenly contested, Will Muir’s two tries helped Bath to leapfrog Leicester with his second try coming three minutes before the final whistle and the conversion by Ben Spencer sealed it 21-20.

The last 15 minutes proved conclusive as Bath turned up the pressure after a lapse following a good start.

Leicester last beat Bath at home in March 2011.