Gallagher Premiership Roundup – 19th May 2019


Going into the final day of the Gallagher Premiership season, three teams had already guaranteed a play-off position, Exeter, Saracens and Gloucester. The fourth spot was still up for grabs, with either Northampton or Harlequins the only teams in contention. Quins had a trip to the Ricoh Arena to face Wasps whilst Saints also were on the road, with a trip to Sandy Park to face Chiefs. Before the start of play just one point separated Harlequins and Northampton, but Quins knew they had to win and hope that Northampton would slip up.

Harlequins got off to the perfect start when fly half Marcus Smith slotted over a penalty to give them an early lead, but the home side hit back when a brace from Joe Simpson after Josh Bassett’s first half finish had given Wasps a 24-8 lead at half time, with Joe Marchant replying for Quins.

Danny Care scored a try from close range in the second half alongside another penalty from Smith to give Paul Gustard’s side some hope. There was still time for replacement prop Elia Elia’s converted score to bring Quins to within two points. Wasps were then penalised late in the game with James Lang’s effort dropping agonisingly just short of the posts, and with it any hope of a semi-final place as Wasps closed out a narrow 27-25 victory.

Down at Sandy Park it was Northampton who got on the board first with Piers Francis going over. Chiefs responded when Rory Hutchinson crossed before both sides traded tries to make the score 14-14. Don Armond restored Chiefs lead to nudge the hosts ahead by five points. With Saints reeling, Courtney Laws was yellow carded by Referee Karl Dickson. He was quickly joined in the bin by Captain Alex Waller. Exeter looked to increase their lead with the two man advantage, but to everybody’s surprise it was Saints who scored next through Cobus Reinach’s try to bring the score to 21-21 at half time.

Exeter showed why they will be the side to beat in the play-offs by crossing three times in the second half, thanks to Matt Kvesic, Dave Dennis and Luke Cowan-Dickie going over to seal an emphatic 40-21 win for Exeter.

In the other games played on the final day of the Gallagher Premiership season, Bath defeated Leicester at Welford Road by the narrowest of margins 32-31.

Rhys Priestland’s 79th minute conversion capped a comeback and rescued Champions Cup qualification for Bath in Todd Blackadder’s last match in charge. Bath trailed 26-15 at the break before the Tigers led 31-22 with half an hour left, before Priestland kicked Bath within six points. Jaques Van Rooyen then crossed and with Priestland holding his nerve it was enough for Bath to sneak ahead of Wasps and Sale to claim sixth spot and a place in the Champions Cup next season.

At the AJ Bell Stadium Sale defeated Gloucester 46-41. In a game that saw no less than 13 tries scored – seven to six in favour of the home side. The visitors looked to have edged the contest when leading 41-31 with twenty minutes to go, however, Sale grabbed two tries in close succession from AJ MacGinty and Denny Solomona to give the hosts the advantage. With MacGintly sealing the win with a late penalty goal.

Duncan Weir claimed the scalp of European Champions Saracens with the last kick of the game to clinch a dramatic 31-29 triumph at Sixways.

With tries from Nick Tompkins and Marcelo Bosch and 19 points from the boot of Tom Whitely it looked sufficient enough for a Sarries victory, but Warriors stayed in touch thanks to Michael Fatialofa, Chris Pennell, Ted Hill and Josh Adams touching down before Weir’s late kick.

Newcastle Falcons said farewell to the Premiership with a whimper as they went down to Bristol Bears 19-12 at Kingston Park. Despite Bristol racing into a 19-0 at one stage, the home side fought back with tries from Gary Graham and Johnny Williams, but it wasn’t enough as Newcastle ended their disappointing season with their 16th loss of the season.

The play-off dates have been announced, with Saracens facing Gloucester at Allianz Park on Saturday May 25th with a 2.30 kick off, with Exeter entertaining Northampton at Sandy Park on the same day with a 5.30 kick off.



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