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Northampton Saints edge Leicester Tigers in 23-19 thriller as Dylan Hartley sees red

Northampton Saints clinched a dramatic 23-19 win over Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens despite Dylan Hartley's first-half dismissal.

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The Aviva Premiership leaders maintained their two-point lead at the summit with the help of an inspired displayed from Luther Burrell and a last-gasp Jamie Elliott try on Saturday.

Burrell rose to the occasion in the East Midlands derby and laid on the match-winning try for Elliott with some powerful running, but Northampton were made to do things the hard way after Hartley was shown a red card for striking Matt Smith after only 17 minutes.

Leicester led at the break and two tries from Vereniki Goneva saw them ahead with 10 minutes to go, only for Elliott to go over in the final four minutes with Stephen Myler adding the extras.

"I thought Luther Burrell was outstanding," said Saints' director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"What we needed from Luther was to stay strong and on his feet and he did that brilliantly.

"It was a tremendous, spirited performance. Not just relying on spirit and guts but also a lot of technical and tactical work."

In the West Country derby at Kingsholm, George Ford was in fine form as Bath recorded their biggest league win over Gloucester.

The England fly-half kicked 24 points in the 39-16 victory, while Matt Garvey went over twice late on to keep Bath apace with the leaders.

Saracens recorded their first league victory in more than two months in style by hammering rock-bottom London Welsh 78-7 in an 11-try rout at Allianz Park, while Danny Cipriani stole the show for Sale Sharks in Friday's 18-11 success against Exeter Chiefs.

In front of England head coach Stuart Lancaster at the AJ Bell Stadium, Cipriani kicked two penalties and a conversion as well as touching down before the hour-mark to record a fourth consecutive league victory.

Tim Swiel was Harlequins' sole pointscorer as they edged a tight encounter with Newcastle Falcons 15-7.

Swiel kicked all 15 points for the hosts as the Falcons' hoodoo at the Stoop continued - the north-east outfit have not won their since 2000.

Sunday saw Wasps welcome London Irish to the Ricoh Arena for their first Premiership game at the Coventry venue following their move from the capital, with Andy Goode's booting six first-half penalties in a resounding 48-16 win.

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