Wasps consigned Bristol to an immediate return to the Championship with a 36-21 win at Ashton Gate to move five points clear at the top of the Premiership, while champions Saracens produced a stunning fightback to beat Northampton Saints.
Dai Young’s side took another step towards securing a home play-off semi-final and finishing at the summit by confirming sorry Bristol’s fate, running in six tries to claim a fifth consecutive Premiership win.
Jason Woodward scooped up a loose ball to run 60 metres for an opening try which Gavin Henson converted to put Bristol 7-0 up, but ruthless Wasps scored 21 unanswered points before the break.
Converted tries from Josh Bassett, Tommy Taylor and Joe Simpson put Young’s men in command, with the lively Kurtley Beale a thorn in Bristol’s side.
Christian Wade, the leading try-scorer in the Premiership, marked his 100th top-flight appearance with yet another five-pointer before Guy Thompson dotted down and Bassett completed a double.
Jack O’Connell and Nick Fenton-Wells crossed the whitewash for the home side late on, but they are down with two games still to play.
— Wasps (@WaspsRugby) April 16, 2017
Sarries looked set for a first loss in five Premiership games at Franklin’s Gardens, but the European champions producing a stunning late rally to snatch a 27-25 victory which struck a blow to Saints’ top-six hopes.
Harry Mallinder scored the only try of the first half, while another early in the second from Dylan Hartley – impressive up against his England back-up hooker and British and Irish Lions rival Jamie George – put Saints 20-6 to the good.
Mark McCall’s side were 13 points adrift when Ken Pisi added a third try for Northampton, but Chris Ashton came off the bench to dot down and Marcelo Bosch dived over to bring the London club level two minutes from time.
Alex Lozowski held his nerve to add the extras and give Sarries, who rung the changes with a European Champions Cup semi-final with Munster to come next weekend, a win which leaves them just two points behind second-placed Exeter Chiefs.
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