First XV – Six Nations Free Weekend sees the best in the Aviva – By Andrew Todd

Without the RBS Six Nations to worry about this weekend, attention turned to the Aviva Premiership.

With six fixtures left prior to the week, it was all to play for, at the top and the bottom of the table.

The most exciting match up was at the Rec on Friday night where Bath played hosts to neighbours Gloucester in a West Country derby. Both sides are embroiled in the battle for the play off places and it was Bath who came out on top, claiming a 31-25 victory.

Friday night also saw arguably the biggest shock of the weekend where struggling Worcester managed to put play off challengers London Wasps to the sword. The Worcester men ran out narrow 29-23 winners over the Londoners to almost certainly guarantee premiership Rugby next season.

Another shock came at the Stoop, where the table toppers coming into the weekend were comprehensively beaten by a superb Exeter Chiefs side. A superb kicking display by fly half Gareth Steenson helped his team to a surprise 27-16 win.

Elsewhere there were comfortable wins for the other three teams holding the play-off spots Saracens, Leicester and Northampton, who beat the bottom three, London Welsh, Sale and London Irish respectively.

Saracens went top of the table with their victory over London Welsh, despite Gavin Henson putting in a strong performance and Welsh Battling hard, the champions showed their metal, winning 35-14.

Leicester Tigers put bottom place Sale away very convincingly, a brace from forward Ed Slater and winger Matt Smith helped the mid-landers run out 48-10 winners.

Winger Jamie Elliot scored a hat-trick, helping his side Northampton Saints extend their lead on 5th place Gloucester to four points with a 40-14 victory over London Irish.

Saracens are now four points clear of second place Harlequins, but Sale Sharks still find themselves struggling at the bottom three points from safety.


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