RUGBY ROUND-UP Exeter surge clear at summit

Defending champions Exeter Chiefs surged seven points clear of Wasps at the Premiership summit following a 24-14 top of the table win over play-off rivals Saracens at Sandy Park.

Three first half penalties from fly half Joe Simmonds and a try from full back Phil Dollman gave the hosts a slender 14-12 half time advantage as the visitors countered with tries from Schalk Brits and Ben Earl, converted by Ben Spencer.

Exeter extended their lead with a fourth successful penalty from man of the match Simmonds before the home pack generated a 75th minute penalty try.

Baxter made six changes to his winning starting XV drafting in Tomas Francis and Dave Ewers up front, Nic White and Joe Simmonds formed a new half-back pairing, Henry Slade returned in the centre for the first time since January, while Dollman was entrusted with the anchor role.

Bath were beaten 20-5 at Harlequins despite taking the lead through Matt Banahan's first half try. Quins win was their first of 2018 and ended a four-match losing run.

Runaway Championship leaders Bristol suffered their first loss of the season, beaten 38-34 by visitors Jersey Reds, who ended the home side's 16-match winning run since day one.

Sixth placed Jersey's win kept them two points ahead of Cornish Pirates, who edged to a 22-19 win over fifth placed Doncaster.

Read Mark Stevens' full Exeter Chiefs Saracens match report

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