5 things we learnt from round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership

Harry Thacker haunts Leicester

The Welford Road academy star haunted his former club as he kept Bristol’s top six hopes alive as his late try saw the Bears do the double over Tigers for their first time in history. Geordan Murphy’s side needed the win to secure their survival in the premiership as they now await Newcastle heading to Gloucester this weekend and their result against their away fixture against Harlequins. Although the win was by a slim margin it reiterates Bristol’s strong start to their first season back in the premiership. 

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Warriors claim another season in the premiership 

By the grit of their teeth Worcester have survived the relegation drop and live to see another day in the premiership. Their seven-point win over third place Gloucester at the weekend proved that they can produce some fantastic rugby when it matters, so begs the question – where has it been all season and why haven’t they pushed harder to climb up the results table. Scottish fly-half, Duncan Weir out shone England hopeful and Gloucester play maker Danny Cipriani in the ten shirts, scoring 17 points for his side. Worcester will have to work extremely hard next season and put in the performances they have been in the last few rounds if they are going to be taken as serious competitors in the competition. 

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Tom Collin’s hat trick makes Newcastle’s survival hopes slim

Collin’s first half hat trick helped Saints with a crucial win at Falcons. The winger scored early and went on to score two more before the half was up. Northampton are working hard in recent rounds to push for a top four spot as they sit ten points behind third place Gloucester who are guaranteed a play-off space. Northampton have won three of their last four and have found better form than they have all season over the past month. With the Premiership Rugby Cup title behind them they are hoping to find some more sliver wear before the season is up. Newcastle on the other hand are hoping a win next week will see them fight another day in top flight English rugby. 

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Exeter are taking their foot off the pedal but still getting wins

Sandy Park has certainly seen more exciting affairs but their 17-15 victory still hinders the visitors hopes of making the playoffs. The table toppers need one more win to ensure they finish the season in top place were forced to dig deep to grind out their small victory and avoid back-to-back home defeats. Exeter need to be cautious not to drop in form too much before their semi-final to avoid being caught off guard in the big games. They have been the stand out team all season with hardly any teams being able to catch them with their work rate and defensive dominance, that said they need another firework to ensure they don’t potentially lose out on another premiership title. 

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Ben Spencer might have booked his place to Japan

With three of Eddie Jones’ scrum halves currently injured Spencer has an opportunity of a lifetime to impress the England boss to gain his place in England’s World Cup squad and his performance against Wasps might have seen him take his ticket. The 26-year-old helped orchestrate a 31-14 win in Coventry. Spencer showed insistent leadership to his forward pack throughout scrum time and at the breakdown, he also scored a beautiful fourth-minute interception proving to Jones how crucial to a side he can be. Spencer has usually been England’s fourth choice scrum-half but with the current injury list he is set to defiantly get into the match day squad, if not the starting XV.

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