Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Bath maintained their winning start to the new Gallagher Premiership season with a 25-16 triumph over defending champions Saracens; Sale Sharks made it back-to-back wins by defeating Leicester Tigers 24-17; Bristol Bears roared back from 11 points down to beat Northampton 33-27

Last Updated: 21/10/23 6:54pm

Tom de Glanville scores a try in Bath’s Gallagher Premiership win over Saracens

Bath maintained their winning start to the new Gallagher Premiership season with a 25-16 triumph over defending champions Saracens at a stormy StoneX Stadium.

Andy Christie’s try gave Sarries an early lead, but the visitors struck back with Tom de Glanville, Miles Reid and Ruaridh McConnochie going over during an impressive first-half display.

Alex Lozowski’s penalty reduced the deficit to four points after the break, but Thomas du Toit’s bonus-point score secured the victory despite Chris Cloete’s late yellow card.

The hosts showed immense heart to stay in the game in difficult conditions and had the opportunity to launch an attack from a lineout in Bath territory with 10 minutes left to play.

But the conditions got the better of replacement hooker Samson Adejimi, and his throw was judged not straight as the match started to slip away from Sarries.

Bath controlled the closing stages, dominating possession and limiting Saracens to scraps as they capped an excellent afternoon with a statement victory.

The result leaves Saracens rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table, while Bath go top after back-to-back bonus-point wins.

Sale defeat Leicester to open with back-to-back wins

Captain Rob du Preez’s individual try allowed Sale Sharks to make it back-to-back wins as they defeated Leicester Tigers 24-17 at Welford Road.

Rob du Preez celebrates with his Sale Sharks team-mates after his try against Leicester Tigers

The Sharks controlled the majority of proceedings, only to be pegged back by Ollie Hassell-Collins’ excellent finish in what was an entertaining encounter between two of last season’s top-four teams.

Ultimately, however, Alex Sanderson’s side ensured a repeat of the outcome of their semi-final against the Tigers back in May, and made it two straight defeats for their hosts at the start of the new campaign.

Sale were forced into a late change at full-back, with Tom O’Flaherty coming in for Joe Carpenter and the visitors were further rocked by conceding the game’s opening try after eight minutes.

From a ruck, Tom Whiteley fed Jamie Shillcock, whose quick pass allowed Mike Brown, denied by an excellent Du Preez tackle not long before, to finish from a few metres out.

Shillcock failed to convert and the Sharks responded immediately when Gus Warr’s off-load found a galloping Ernst van Rhyn and the back rower timed his pass to send Tom Roebuck under the posts, making Du Preez’s conversion a formality.

The visitors were able to make the most of a sustained spell of pressure when Van Rhyn was adjudged to have touched down after a TMO check, Du Preez adding the extras.

It was then the Tigers’ turn to hit back quickly when captain Hanro Liebenberg barged his way over from close range, with Shillcock’s conversion reducing the gap to 14-12 at half-time.

Leicester levelled the match when Hassell-Collins was able to score just after the hour mark, shrugging off O’Flaherty’s tackle after he had been put into space by Joe Powell, Shillcock pushing his conversion wide.

But there was no denying Du Preez in the 69th minute as he took Raffi Quirke’s pass before dummying and going clear to score a try he converted himself under the posts.

Bristol stun Northampton with comeback win

Bristol Bears roared back from 11 points down to beat Northampton 33-27 and bag a second successive win to start the season.

The Bears had fallen 19-8 down at Cinch Stadium but 10 points in the final two minutes of the first half set them up for a big second period.

Tommy Freeman did extend the Northampton lead briefly with a bonus-point try just after the break, but Max Lahiff and Harry Thacker went over to secure a fine Bristol victory.

The Saints had been hit by an injury blow before the game as full-back George Hendy was forced to withdraw in the warm-up, bringing Tom Litchfield in at centre.

But the home side made a flying start to the match, scoring inside three minutes as a well-worked move ended with Tom Seabrook scoring in the corner.

Bristol were hit by a yellow card as Gabriel Ibitoye was punished for a deliberate knock-on later in the first half.

Northampton wasted little time in making the most of their man advantage as a fine flat pass from Tom James set Tom Pearson free and the flanker glided in for the score.

Bristol were having to hold on but they saw out the rest of the sin-bin period well before suffering an injury issue as Virimi Vakatawa was forced off five minutes before the break.

The Bears then launched their fightback as Callum Sheedy slotted a penalty and then added the conversion to Magnus Bradbury’s second score of the game.

Northampton hit back at the start of the second half, with a chargedown and kick ahead leading to an opening for Freeman, who showed his speed and composure to bag the Saints’ bonus-point try.

But the Bears bit back, kicking a penalty to the corner before prop Lahiff showed his power to score. Sheedy’s conversion put Bristol ahead for the first time, and the fly-half extended the lead with a penalty soon after.

Northampton were really struggling and, after Sam Graham was sin-binned for killing the ball, Thacker rumbled over from a lineout drive to bag the Bears’ bonus-point try.

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