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England duo Joseph and Watson shine in Bath win

England duo Joseph and Watson shine in Bath win

NatWest 6 Nations Championship Round 1, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy 4/2/2018 Italy vs England England's Anthony Watson scores their first try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

  • The penultimate round of the Premiership saw a number of Guinness Six Nations players make their mark
  • Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph starred for Bath while Grand Slam winner Dan Biggar steered Northampton Saints to victory

England duo Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson played starring roles as Bath Rugby roared from behind to beat Wasps 29-17 in the Premiership.

Absent from Eddie Jones’ 2019 Guinness Six Nations group due to injury, the pair continued their impressive comeback form, striking up a potent partnership in the backs as Bath scored a trio of tries in the final 10 minutes to claim victory.

Only three minutes were on the clock when centre Joseph, the scorer of an 18-minute Championship hat-trick away at Italy in 2016, showed his attacking prowess had not deserted him by scything through a gap in the Wasps defence to finish.

Full-back Watson was a persistent threat from full-back with his piercing runs and smart footwork, but it was another England player who made the most telling contribution in the remaining minutes of the first-half, No. 8 Nathan Hughes running onto Gaby Lovobalavu’s pass to streak clear.

With the returning Joe Launchbury playing a dogged role in the second-row, Wasps were good value for their 17-10 lead at the break.

But the balance of power swiftly shifted after the interval and winger Joe Cokanasiga – a star performer against Italy during this year’s Championship – crashed over in the corner as Bath retook the initiative for the final time.

The penultimate round of Premiership action had started in style, with former England captain Chris Robshaw producing a man of the match performance in Harlequins’ crucial 23-19 over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stoop.

Buoyed by the return of scrum-half Danny Care, who sniped over for a sixth-minute try, Robshaw’s Quins secured the victory they needed to keep their hopes of a semi-final spot alive.

Struggling Leicester were, however, valiant in defeat, with Red Rose fly-half George Ford kicking 14 points with the boot as Geordan Murphy’s men went down fighting.

Elsewhere, Saracens emerged triumphant in the battle of the top two against Exeter Chiefs, claiming a bonus point in a 38-7 win at Allianz Park – but the game was notable for much-changed line-ups from the two already-qualified semi-finalists.

And at Franklin’s Gardens, Wales Grand Slam winner Dan Biggar kicked 11 points as Northampton Saints beat Worcester Warriors to maintain their own top-four hopes.

On his final home appearance before switching codes to rugby league at the end of the season, Luther Burrell – himself a former England centre – bagged a trademark try to sign off in style.

Ben Te’o, a regular member of Jones’ Red Rose squad, also dotted down in an enthralling Midlands derby but could not prevent Warriors slipping to a 38-10 defeat.