Over the new year weekend we saw round 12 of the Aviva Premiership completed. Newcastle Falcons opened the round on Friday, taking on table-topping Wasps at Kingston Park. Newcastle took an early 12-0 lead, and hung on to go in at half time 22-21 thanks to tries from Takulua, Watson and Vickers. Wasps 1st half points came from Cipriani, Wade and Young and with Gopperth scoring their only second half try, Wasps took the bonus points despite Watson scoring for the Falcons in the last minute of the game.
On Saturday, Exeter travelled to Bath looking for their first ever win at the Rec. With a Rokoduguni try and two Ford penalties giving Bath an 11-0 lead at half time, it looked like the Chiefs would have to wait until 2017 at least to break their hoodoo. Then late in the 2nd half, up stood Chief’s winger James short, who crossed twice to add to Steenson’s two conversions and a penalty, to take them to third in the table with a 11-17 win.
On New Year’s Day, The Saints travelled to Gloucester with a fit George North restored to the starting line-up. Gloucester were restricted to just four Burn’s penalties, with Myler replying with two of his own for Saint’s, it was 12-6 with minutes to spare. That was until, after Gloucester winger Halaifonua was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on close to his own line, Myler converted the penalty try to take the 12-13 win.
After losing to bottom of the table Bristol on Boxing Day, Worcester entertained a Harlequins team looking to move up the table. However, Worcester didn’t read the script and, with tries to Hammond and Te’o, alongside Mills’ conversion and four penalties, they won 24 – 17 and claimed their 2nd win of the season. Matthews and Alofa both claimed 2nd half tries for the visitors. Over at the AJ Bell Stadium, Tom Varndell equalled Mark Cueto’s premiership all-time top try scorer record of 90 tries, on the way to helping Bristol to their 2nd win over the festive season. Sale registered a penalty try alongside Solomona and Leota, while Mitchell landed a conversion and two penalties. However, this wasn’t enough, and thanks to further tries from Williams and Crumpton with Woodward adding the conversions and a penalty, Bristol took the points with a 23-24 victory.