Saracens’ lead at the head of the Aviva Premiership was cut down to five points after Jim Mallinder led his Northampton Saints to a vital victory over the London outfit at Franklin’s Gardens.
A fixture that produced a number of star performances for the hosts, it wasn’t just this titanic battle between title contenders that headlined Saturday’s matchups, however, with a number of players impressing greatly on the individual scale.
After a few weeks of European fixtures, England held a good account of itself upon its return to domestic action, with the star talent within dazzling as brightly as ever.
Ben Foden, Northampton Saints
Renowned for being one of the finest surfaces to play on in the English top flight, Franklin’s Gardens proved difficult for some to get up to speed on this weekend, but Ben Foden didn’t find much trouble in that sense.
The Saints fullback gave Stuart Lancaster several reasons as to why he might get the nod for England’s No. 15 jersey in the autumn internationals, beating fellow contender Alex Goode on this occasion.
It was in the second half that Foden thrived most, recovering from a messy start to barrage through a mass of Saracens defenders to score the first of his two tries.
Foden’s second was then a much finer example of the finesse he possesses, collecting a fine kick through to glide over and ignite the hosts’ attack further.
Can Exeter hold out for another top-six finish this season?
Ben White, Exeter Chiefs
Another Ben to grab a brace of scores this weekend was Exeter’s White, who played a full 80 minutes against Worcester Warriors and was an unrelenting force during that time.
With Dean Mumm’s attacking qualities also once again in full effect, White was another member of the Chiefs’ pack who showed an eagerness to get on the ball, although that urge was by no means helped by the lack of quality in the Warriors defence.
George Ford, Bath Rugby
More than 12,000 were in attendance at the Recreation Ground to watch on as Bath saw out an incredibly tight-knit affair against Gloucester this weekend, but the fans were rewarded with a back-and-forth encounter that didn’t disappoint.
In the end, it was George Ford’s contributions that told the story of the match, the former Leicester Tiger remaining resolute to kick all of the hosts’ points in their 15-13 victory.
Although a few attempts at goal were missed, the youngster nonetheless stood firm and at times linked up well with his half partner Peter Stringer, to little effect on this particular occasion.