Premiership - Bath extend winning run to six

Bath made it six wins from as many games in all competitions with a bonus-point 40-16 victory over London Irish, while there were wins for Saracens and Northampton in the Aviva Premiership.

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Premiership - Bath extend winning run to six
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Gary Gold, Bath Rugby head coach (PA Photos)

Bath Rugby 40-16 London Irish

Bath made it six wins from as many games in all competitions with a bonus-point 40-16 victory over London Irish

Looking a far more fluent outfit than the side that stuttered through the first half of the season, they saw off the Exiles' challenge with two tries in the last five minutes, the last coming in the final play of the game from prop Anthony Perenise.

Replacement fly-half Tom Heathcote converted all four tries and also kicked two penalties.

The other Bath scores were a Donald penalty, a penalty try and touchdowns by Nick Abendanon and Nathan Catt.

It was quite a comedown for the Exiles after their victory over Saracens last weekend but they were undermined by a penalty count of 18-5 - and three yellow cards.

The only bright moment was a thrilling breakaway try by replacement scrum-half Jack Moates but the defeat leaves them back in the relegation dogfight.

Saracens 31-11 Exeter Chiefs

Saracens celebrated their Aviva Premiership debut at Allianz Park by demolishing Exeter 31-11 with a rare four-try victory.

Before this match the 2011 champions had run in only 14 tries in as many games - the lowest number in the league - but Mako Vunipola crossed twice and Charlie Hodgson and Matt Stevens also touched down in a bonus-point win.

It was a ringing endorsement for the artificial pitch at Saracens' new £24million ground in Barnet, which was staging its second match but the first in front of a capacity 10,000 crowd.

The only potential cloud hanging over the £500,000 surface designed specifically for rugby union was the terrible place kicking displays produced by fly-halves Hodgson and Gareth Steenson.

Between them they missed six shots at goal and 18 points before the interval, although normal service resumed for Hodgson in the second half when his sights had been readjusted.

Rampaging England prop Vunipola finished man of the match after spearheading an impressive win that underlines Saracens' title credentials and drives another nail into the coffin of Exeter's play-off aspirations.

Richard Baxter scored the Chiefs' only try of the game, Steenson adding two penalties.

Worcester Warriors 18-27 Northampton

Northampton revived their push for the Aviva Premiership play-offs despite seeing England forwards Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes both sin-binned in the 27-18 win over Worcester at Sixways.

Flanker Samu Manoa's 70th-minute try - he was driven over the line by his fellow forwards just seconds after Worcester's former Northampton flanker Neil Best received a yellow card - made the difference before referee Greg Garner awarded Saints a late penalty try.

It was only Saints' second win in their last five league games, but it took them into fifth spot, one point above Gloucester, who tackle Wasps on Sunday.

Hooker Hartley and lock Lawes were punished for killing the ball and a late challenge, respectively, yet Northampton had enough in the tank to prevail.

Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler kicked five penalties and a conversion for a 17-point haul, while his opposite Andy Goode landed six penalties out of seven, but it was not enough to stave off Warriors' fourth successive Premiership defeat.

Worcester have not won a league game since four days before Christmas, and they remain hovering above the relegation zone, although London Welsh, London Irish and Sale Sharks are all below them.

Harlequins 25-21 Leicester Tigers

England scrum-half Danny Care produced a moment of magic as Harlequins regained top spot in the Aviva Premiership after edging a thrilling contest 25-21 against Leicester at The Stoop.

Trailing at the break, Care ran half the length of the field from a tap penalty to reignite Quins, with the mercurial Ben Botica adding 20 points from the boot in an impressive kicking performance as Leicester crumbled.

Toby Flood scored 16 points for the Tigers on his return to Premiership action while Adam Thompstone touched down, but it was not enough.

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