Aviva Premiership

Six Nations beckons as England's Vunipola survives Saracens return unscathed

Billy Vunipola made a successful return from injury and Alex Lozowski starred as Saracens proved too good for Newcastle Falcons on Sunday, while Worcester Warriors resoundingly beat Bristol in a crucial Premiership relegation clash.

Barnstorming forward Vunipola put in a great shift in his first appearance since undergoing knee surgery in November as he looks to prove his fitness for England's remaining two Six Nations fixtures, before being replaced in the 72nd minute.

It was Lozowski, though, who produced a star turn, contributing 20 points - including scoring two tries - as Sarries ran out 35-27 winners at Kingston Park in an entertaining contest to leave them a point adrift of Exeter Chiefs in second and six off leaders Wasps.

Michael Rhodes marked his 50th Sarries appearance with the visitors' opening try and Lozowski reached Richard Wigglesworth's grubber for their second as the away team led 18-6 at the break.

Chris Ashton touched down early in the second half and Lozowski took Joel Hodgson's pass to secure the bonus point after Dominic Waldouck had scored the Falcons' first try.

Nathan Earle claimed Sarries' fifth, before Vereniki Goneva and David Wilson touched down late on for Newcastle to make the scoreline more respectable.

Bottom club Bristol narrowly defeated Bath last time out to close within two points of relegation rivals Worcester ahead of their trip to Sixways Stadium, but the home side stretched the gap with a crucial 41-24 victory.

Worcester had a bonus point by half-time as a penalty try and scores from Francois Hougaard, Will Spencer and Bryce Heem helped the hosts to a 31-10 half-time lead.

Heem scored again shortly after the hour and, although Max Crumpton touched down and Tom Varndell ran in a 70-metre interception try, Worcester rounded off the victory with a late score from Wynand Olivier.