Aviva Premiership

Exeter keep Premiership title hopes alive with narrow win

Second-placed Exeter Chiefs downed London Irish 22-15 to close the gap on Premiership leaders Saracens to four points, but were forced to endure a nervy final few minutes at the Madejski Stadium.

London Irish led 7-6 at half-time courtesy of Ofisa Treviranus' converted try and despite losing David Paice to a yellow card just before the break, they duly extended that lead to 10-6 via the boot of Theo Brophy Clews.

The Devon side responded swiftly, however, as two more penalties from Gareth Steenson and a converted try from replacement Dave Lewis put them ahead.

Topsy Ojo's late try for the rock-bottom hosts then set up a tense final 13 minutes, but another yellow card, this time to Ian Nagle, proved costly as Steenson eventually settled Exeter's nerves with another penalty.

There was a similarly dramatic clash at Kingston Park where Newcastle Falcons eased their relegation fears with a nail-biting 26-25 win over Northampton Saints.

Alex Tait and Chris Harris both found the line either side of flanker Jamie Gibson's reply to ease the hosts to a 20-11 lead at the break and two penalties from Andy Goode took them 15 points clear early in the second half.

Two converted tries from skipper Chris Dickson then brought Jim Mallinder's men back to within a point, but despite piling on the late pressure, they were unable to complete the comeback.