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Bristol claim back-to-back victories, Worcester bounce back

Official News · 

Bristol dragged Sale Sharks into the fight for Premiership survival by coming from behind to claim a hard-fought 24-23 victory at the AJ Bell Stadium, while Tom Varndell claimed a share of English rugby history.

Having waited 11 matches for their first domestic win of the season, Bristol have now won two in a row and are on a run of four in all competitions.

It was Sale who made the better start on Sunday, though, opening up a 15-0 lead with the help of Denny Solomona's second try in as many matches since making the switch from rugby league.

But Bristol hit back with Varndell's touchdown - pulling him level with former Sale hero Mark Cueto on 90 for most tries in Premiership history - before second-half scores from Rhodri Williams and Max Crumpton earned them a narrow triumph.

The win was made all the more important by second bottom Worcester Warriors' 24-17 victory over Harlequins - an impressive turnaround for Carl Hogg's men after being on the receiving end of Bristol's maiden Premiership win last weekend.

Sale now sit 10th on 19 points, ahead of Worcester on 14 and Bristol on 12.

At the other end of the table, Saracens stayed in touch with leaders Wasps thanks to a 16-12 win at Leicester Tigers, overcoming a couple of uncharacteristically wayward Owen Farrell kicks to move within a point of the summit.

It was Farrell's try that ultimately proved the difference between the two sides and a first-half knee injury for England centre Manu Tuilagi will give Leicester added cause for concern.

In the day's remaining match, Northampton Saints were awarded a late penalty try to steal a 13-12 victory at Gloucester, lifting them to sixth.

George North returned to the Northampton XV for the match having not featured since suffering a head injury on December 3.