Premiership rugby round-up as Leicester beat Saracens to remain top of the table

A selection of British and Irish Lions returned to action for their first tastes of Premiership rugby this season on Saturday as Owen Farrell kicked all of Saracens' points en route to a last-second 13-12 defeat at Leicester.

England coach Eddie Jones looked on at Welford Road as Farrell outshone Leicester counterpart George Ford for large sections of Saturday's clash, where a last-gasp penalty try saw the Tigers keep up their winning start.

Dan Biggar started ahead of his Sarries equivalent for the Lions and impressed in his comeback outing for Northampton, whose 23-21 win over London Irish temporarily moved Saints to the summit.

Gloucester also got off the mark with a 31-23 result at Worcester, while Newcastle Falcons secured successive wins for the first time this season after edging Wasps in the closing seconds.

Leicester Tigers 13-12 Saracens

Farrell may have been in the points, but it was George Ford left grinning after his Leicester side kept up their remarkably resurgence by handing Saracens their first loss since returning to the Premiership.

The boots of both England fly-halves were crucial for great stretches of what was always likely to be a close encounter, summed up well by the 9-3 half-time scoreline in Sarries' favour.

Tigers have been regimented in the first few weeks of the new season, and that discipline paid dividends in a second half that ended with referee Christophe Ridley blowing for a penalty try to give them the lead for the first and last time.

Leicester captain Hanro Liebenberg—who was named man of the match—credited the Welford Road faithful in his post-match comments: "The supporters carried us through those last five minutes, it's amazing to have them all back.

"They lift us up, they give us some energy."

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Northampton Saints 23-21 London Irish

Biggar bookended a masterful performance in Northampton's 23-21 win over London Irish, scoring the first and last points of the afternoon as Saints sent the Exiles packing from Franklin's Gardens.

It wasn't for a lack of trying that Declan Kidney's men fell short in their comeback efforts, but their failure to capitalise on a two-man advantage in the second half ultimately left them short.

Northampton forwards Api Ratuniyarawa and Paul Hill were sin-binned within a minute of one another early in the second half, but a penalty try for the latter's dismissal was all Irish had to show while playing against 13.

Paddy Jackson converted Tom Parton's late try to briefly steer the visitors into the lead, but the deciding kick fell to returning Lion Biggar as Saints roared to victory.

Worcester Warriors 23-31 Gloucester

If Biggar was the inspiration behind Northampton's most recent triumph, then Adam Hastings was the man at the wheel for Gloucester as they opened their account with a 31-23 romp away at Worcester.

Four first-half penalty conversions from as many attempts saw the Scotland architect thrive in his first start of the season, a sign perhaps that he's ready to take the No. 10 jersey from Lloyd Evans from this point.

It wasn't until Worcester's fly-half replacement, Billy Searle, was carded just before the hour mark that the Cherry and Whites really turned the screw, scoring through Ben Morgan and Jason Woodward during his time in the bin.

Another Lions alumnus, Chris Harris, scored within minutes of coming on to help the result over the line, with Worcester just missing out on a losing bonus point after Ted Hill was shown a straight red late on for a spear tackle.

Newcastle Falcons 18-14 Wasps

Callum Chick snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Newcastle's behalf on Saturday, capping off a scoring drive that went almost the full length of the field at Kingston Park.

Wasps made light work of Bristol in their first game of the season but came undone in the northeast despite two second-half tries from their talismanic Toms, Willis and Cruse.

Carl Fearns' try helped the Falcons fly into an 8-0 lead at the break, but Newcastle's fate appeared all but sealed when Tom Penny was sent off for punching Jimmy Gopperth with more than 20 minutes to go.

That advantage counted for little in the end, however, thanks to Chick's intervention at the death, condemning Wasps to a damaging first defeat of the new campaign.

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