Saracens extend lead with win at Exeter

Rugby ball (File)
Rugby ball (File)

London - Leaders Saracens tightened their grip on the English Premiership with a come-from-behind 14-11 win at second-placed Exeter on Sunday.

Fiji-born Italy international Samu Vunisa scored a try and former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked three penalties as the reigning champions turned around an 11-0 deficit.

Exeter had looked good to run away with victory following wing James Short's 80-yard interception try, added to a pair of Gareth Steenson penalties.

Saracens head coach Mark McCall said it was a richly deserved victory.

"If we had lost that one, I would have said it was one that got away as we had much the better of possession and territory but they defended very well," he said.

"We were 11-0 down, playing against the strong wind but we didn't deserve to be and Vunisa's try just before the interval was crucial as we went into half-time only six points down.

"It doesn't get any easier as we have Wasps next week and they have fewer players away to international calls than we do, but I have confidence in this group of players for the next few weeks."

Exeter picked up a losing bonus point and are six points clear of third placed Leicester and 12 ahead of Wasps in fifth -- only the top four make the end of season play-offs.

"The result is not the be all and end all as we are still second in the Premiership and overall our performance was pretty good as we just lost a game, late in the day against a very good side," said boss Rob Baxter.

"It was a tough game and a very close one but I'm slightly frustrated with certain aspects of our game.

"Our ill-discipline just before half-time gave them a try and it was a huge moment in the match, so we have to be a little bit better."

In the day's other match, London Irish climbed off the bottom of the table with a 20-13 victory over Worcester, who are now third-from-bottom but only a point ahead of Newcastle.

On Saturday, Leicester lost 10-3 at home to Sale while fourth-placed Harlequins were turned over 27-23 by Northampton.

Wasps beat Newcastle 9-8 while Gloucester came away from Bath with a 15-11 success on Friday night.

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