Gallagher Premiership Round 18: Highlights, match reports and full game replays

We've got your domestic rugby needs covered once again as we bring you every second of the action from the English top flight.

By Callum Davis Published: 9 May 2021 - 10.55pm

Round 18 of the Gallagher Premiership delivered once again, with high-scoring matches and brilliant rugby.

Read on, or jump to a game of your choice, for highlights and match reports.

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Friday 7 May

Sale Sharks 26-10 Leicester Tigers - Watch replay

Sale Sharks survived a momentary second-half scare to leapfrog Exeter into second in the Gallagher Premiership as AJ MacGinty scored 16 points with the boot. 

The hosts went 10-0 up inside 12 minutes after MacGinty had slotted home a penalty before converting Byron McGuigan's stylish try. 

The Sharks led 16-3 at the break, but two quickfire yellow cards for Jean-Luc du Preez and Luke James put the cat amongst the pigeons as the Tigers were awarded a penalty try from the latter sin bin on 54 minutes to narrow the gap to nine points. 

However, Marland Yarde's close-range converted try calmed home nerves as Alex Sanderson's men saw out the closing stages to put themselves in a good position ahead of a tough run-in which features games against fellow top-four sides Bristol, Harlequins and Chiefs. 

Saturday 8 May

Northampton Saints 7-31 Gloucester - Watch replay

British and Irish Lion Louis Rees-Zammit marked his call-up with two tries as Gloucester beat Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Welsh winger scored in the first half before Ed Slater and Jack Singleton increased their lead after the break. Dan Biggar also failed a head injury assessment for the hosts.

Gloucester’s biggest win of the season sees them stay 10th in the Premiership while Northampton’s play-off hopes were dented.

Exeter Chiefs 41-10 Worcester Warriors - Watch replay

Sam Simmonds was in inspired form as Exeter Chiefs fought back to beat Worcester Warriors at Sandy Park.

Francois Venter’s try put the visitors ahead, but Henry Slade scored a superb solo effort to reduce the arrears at half-time.

The defending champions were rampant in the second period, with a Dave Ewers try and a brace from Simmonds securing the bonus point.

Stuart Townsend and Jacques Vermeulen confounded Worcester’s misery with late tries for the hosts to seal a 41-10 win.

Newcastle Falcons 52-27 London Irish

London Irish fell apart after leading 15-14 at half-time, succumbing 52-27 to a rampant Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.

George McGuigan and Sean Robinson both scored twice to sweep the Exiles away in a remarkable performance to break a six-match winless streak.

Irish scored four tries through Tom Parton, Ben Loader, Phil Cokanasiga and Motu Matu’u but simply couldn’t keep up with a resurgent Falcons in an extraordinary second half.

Newcastle are 11th after the win while sixth-placed Irish have work to do to make the play-offs.

Bath 20-40 Bristol Bears - Watch replay

League leaders Bristol fought back in sensational style to beat local rivals 40-20 and secure a Premiership play-off place.

England winger Anthony Watson and Rhys Priestland scored early on to give the hosts the lead, but Nathan Hughes scored a try and a penalty try either side of half-time to drag Bristol back into it.

Max Malins and Charles Piutau sealed the bonus point and Bristol’s biggest ever Premiership win at The Rec.

“To get a record score here is also a huge achievement, particularly when you consider we were down 15 points,” said Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam.

Sunday 9 May

Harlequins 48-46 Wasps - Watch replay

Marcus Smith has done it again! Having scored a last-gasp try to seal victory against London Irish last time out, the fly-half produced the same trick against Wasps.

In a breathless encounter at The Stoop, where both sides ran in six tries a piece, the 22-year-old crossed from close range to level the scores with the final act.

With the clock in the red he showed nerves of steel to kick the conversion, taking his tally to 28 for the afternoon, and hand Quins the victory.

The win boosts their top four hopes with just four rounds of the regular season remaining, but the triumph was marred by a red card for Mike Brown.

The former England full-back is leaving the Londoners in the summer and having seen red for a stamp on Tommy Taylor’s head a hefty ban could follow.

For Wasps, the galling result leaves them in ninth and four points off London Irish as they chase a top six finish.