Worcester heading for relegation

Blackpool Citizen: Worcester were relegated after defeat at Saracens Worcester were relegated after defeat at Saracens

Worcester's Aviva Premiership relegation was all-but confirmed as Saracens eased to a 44-20 victory at Allianz Park.

Jackson Wray claimed a hat-trick, Chris Ashton backed up his Heineken Cup semi-final brace against Clermont with two more tries, and David Strettle crossed to complete a routine win.

Chris Pennell's brace and a score for Semisi Taulava came to nought for the Warriors, who will now end the season bottom of the Premiership.

The Sixways side now face a second Championship season in five years, provided the second-tier promotion contenders pass the Premiership's entry criteria.

Bristol, Leeds and London Welsh will breeze through any scrutiny, while Rotherham are now likely to meet the minimum standards too.

Rotherham have agreed a ground-sharing deal in principle to play their rugby at Oakwell next term, and Barnsley's football stadium would pass Premiership regulations.

The RFU's Professional Game Board (PGB) will meet on Thursday in a bid to rule on Friday over the four promotion battlers' off-field set-ups.

The PGB aims to have the promotion-relegation issue resolved ahead of the Championship play-off semi-final first legs, to be played on May 10 and 11.

Two tries from substitute Toby Flood helped Leicester secure their place in the top four with a 42-22 victory at Sale.

The result ended the Sharks play-off hopes, with successive second-half scores from Michael Paterson, Henry Thomas and Johnny Leota proving to be mere consolation.

Niki Goneva, Niall Morris and David Mele also went over for the Tigers, who were also awarded a penalty try.

London Wasps overcame a dreadful start to virtually guarantee a place in the European Champions Cup play-off after beating Newcastle 44-38.

Early on, they trailed 17-0 but recovered to blitz the Falcons with 29 unanswered points before the interval.

Remarkably Newcastle rallied to regain the lead at 31-29 before Wasps regrouped to gain a deserved victory.

The home side scored six tries with Nathan Hughes (2), Ashley Johnson, Will Helu, Charlie Hayter and Joe Simpson all crossing with Andy Goode kicking four conversions and two penalties.

Newcastle scored early tries through Mike Blair and Joel Hodgson, with Hodgson converting both and kicking a penalty as an upset looked on the cards.

They were then subjected to a four-try blitz from Wasps but recovered to score three second-half tries from Noah Cato (2) and George McGuigan, all converted by Hodgson.

Wing Marland Yarde and replacement centre Shane Monahan both scored try hat-tricks at Kingsholm but Gloucester's bid to take seventh place and, with it, a Champions Cup play-off match, has gone.

And there was more bad news despite the 38-30 success - with a month to go before England take on the All Blacks in New Zealand, Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees left the pitch with apparent damage to his ankle.

Gloucester only lost the lead once during the nine-try feast of sunshine rugby as back row Sione Kalamafoni and wing Charlie Sharples scored tries before Monahan's three.

Twelvetrees converted Kalamafoni's touchdown with fly-half Freddie Burns adding three penalties and a conversion.

Yarde scored two tries before the break, one converted by fly-half Ian Humphreys, and his side's fourth try bonus-point after setting up replacement Gerard Ellis for a score.

Humphreys added another conversion and penalty with Myles Dorrian booting a penalty.

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