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Sarries crush Tigers

Charlie Hodgson starred for Saracens as they crushed an under-strength Leicester Tigers 50-25 at Welford Road for a third consecutive win in the defence of their Aviva Premiership title.

Hodgson scored a try, three penalties and three conversions, while back-row forward Ernst Joubert claimed two tries as Saracens made light of their own problems with injuries and World Cup absences.

Saracens underlined their dominance with a three-try burst early in the first half and had too much power and experience for the hard-working Tigers in what was a one-sided re-match of last season's final.

The result leaves Leicester, who were without 16 first-team squad players, with just one win from their opening four matches, while Saracens' third consecutive win came despite having eight of their top players away on World Cup duty.

Tries from Owen Farrell - who also kicked a conversion and penalty - Jamie George and Brad Barritt completed the scoring for Sarries. Niall Morris, Julian Salvi and Ben Woods went over for the Tigers, with Billy Twelvetrees adding 10 points.

A dominant forward display saw Gloucester recover from a slow start to claim local bragging rights with 23-6 victory over west country rivals Bath in a bruising encounter at Kingsholm.

Two Sam Vesty penalties had given Bath a 6-0 lead but the Cherry and Whites soon established a supremacy at scrum time and their potent threat from driving line-outs was exemplified when Darren Dawidiuk claimed the opening try, with five points from fly-half Tim Taylor giving them a 10-6 interval advantage. Taylor added two further penalties before Charlie Sharples crossed late on.

Harlequins came back from the brink of defeat to maintain their unbeaten record with a narrow 17-15 win over Worcester at Sixways - a Sam Smith touchdown and penalty try seeing them home.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Joseph grabbed his second try of the match three minutes from time to secure a 46-29 bonus-point victory for London Irish over Newcastle. The Exiles' other tries came from Topsy Ojo and a penalty try, with 21-year-old full-back Tom Homer kicking 26 points.

Newcastle replied with late tries from replacement prop Darren Fearn and centre Jamie Helleur, with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth kicking 19 points.


From Belfast Telegraph