Aviva Premiership Weekend Review
January 06, 2012
Saracens lost ground on Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins after being held to a 15-15 draw by Gloucester in shocking weather at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
It was a clash that was never settled until the last goal was kicked by Gloucester's Freddie Burns, who shared the scoring honours with fly-half rival Owen Farrell.
The home player had moved up off the bench to replace Charlie Hodgson at the 11th hour, who became a father for the third time during the early hours with the birth of son Jack.
Farrell nudged Saracens 9-6 ahead in the first half, Burns missing a drop-goal attempt just before the interval, and then stretched his side's advantage to six points early in the second.
But Burns levelled matters - and repeated the dose three minutes from time after Sarries had again edged ahead in the 67th minute.
Bath claimed their first league victory for two months after they battered title play-off contenders London Irish into submission courtesy of a 30-3 success.
Bath had not won in the league since they edged past Irish 13-12 on October 29, and a fifth successive reversal would have signalled their worst Premiership results sequence for 10 years.
But an early try by prop Anthony Perenise set the tone and fly-half Stephen Donald added a conversion and two penalties to put daylight between the teams.
Scrum-half Michael Claassens then sealed victory when he rounded off a brilliant 80-metre counter-attack sparked by full-back Nick Abendanon and wing Tom Biggs, before Bath were awarded a penalty try four minutes from time.
Donald finished with 15 points courtesy of three penalties and three conversions, while the Exiles managed a solitary Tom Homer penalty in reply as they slipped out of the Premiership's top four.
Leicester secured their fourth league victory in a row by seeing off Sale 28-23 at Welford Road - but it was far from convincing.
The Sharks were in danger of being over-run when they fell 17-0 behind after only 20 minutes, but they showed spirit to fight back and had Leicester nerves jangling towards the end before a late Toby Flood penalty secured a home win.
The Tigers were awarded a penalty try after just six minutes for a collapsed scrum which Flood converted and he then created Leicester's second try.
He made an excellent midfield break to send Billy Twelvetrees away, and his pass gave Geordan Murphy a simple try, which Flood converted.
A Flood penalty had the hosts in control but Sale hit back with a converted Fraser McKenzie try.
Leicester lost Martin Castrogiovanni, who limped off with a leg injury, but Sale's woes continued when the unlucky Thomas was helped off with a leg injury and in unfavourable circumstances it was a creditable performance by the visitors to restrict the Tigers to a 17-10 advantage at the interval.