Chasing pack keep pressure on Saracens
Exeter, Leicester and Wasps all won Sunday to remain in the slipstream of English Premiership leaders Saracens.
Second-placed Exeter defeated Bath 26-17, Wasps enjoyed a 42-10 romp past Harlequins while Leicester defeated rock-bottom London Irish 47-20.
Exeter recorded just their second win in 12 meetings against Bath.
The Chiefs were 16-0 up and firmly in control but two tries from Bath number eight Amanaki Mafi, both converted by Tom Homer, who also added a penalty, saw the visitors rally.
But a try three minutes from the end by replacement Kai Horstmann saw Exeter home.
Ian Whitten had earlier scored an excellent try for the hosts with Gareth Steenson converting both tries and kicking four penalties as the Chiefs narrowed the gap at the top of the table to three points.
“It’s nice to finally redress some of those losses as we’ve been on the end of some narrow defeats previously,” said Exeter coach Rob Baxter.
Wasps are still 10 points behind Saracens after a sixth successive win in the Premiership.
Director of rugby Dai Young felt his son Thomas’ try in the second half was crucial.
Quins had got the score back to 21-10 with 20 minutes to go but a fine score from Thomas Young, after some good interplay with Christian Wade, set them on course for the win.
“We lost a bit of momentum in the first period of the second half but we give Quins a bit of credit for that, but I was pleased we held out and I thought that fourth try was really important for us,” said Young.
Meanwhile, Manu Tuilagi will link up with the England squad on Monday before returning to play for Leicester next weekend, according to the club’s director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
Tuilagi, 24, proved his fitness with a fine performance in Leicester’s seven-try demolition of London Irish.
He will play for Leicester in their crucial home game against second-placed Exeter next Sunday after two days with England but Cockerill refused to say whether he was ready to play for England against Wales at Twickenham on March 12.
“We will have to see,” he said. “They have all the power so there is no point in having an argument.”