The Saints are chasing a play-off place of their own and would be disappointed with the result at Sandy Park. Gareth Steenson led the way for the Chiefs kicking five penalties while Olly Woodburn touched down for them. But, the most impressive performance was put forth by Henry Slade.
The Saints looked good with scores from Lee Dickson and Ken Pisi in a match they desperately wanted to win but the fight back in the second-half stunned them into submission.
Helping the Chiefs’ passage to the top was the Saracens’ loss at Leicester Tigers. The 21-13 score line didn’t do justice to the efforts put by the Saracens who had to play a highly depleted squad thanks to the RBS 6 Nations.
The likes of Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje are absent on national commitments for the defending Champions who would hope for better fortune once the players are back in the fold.
At the other end of the spectrum, bottom placed London Irish scored a crucial 23-18 win over Gloucester Rugby. The battling win for the London Irish reduced the gap to 11th placed Newcastle Falcons to five points. With just five games remaining in the season, all roads point to an interesting end to the season.
Bath Rugby had a bit of fortune to thank for, in their 21-19 scrappy win over Newcastle Falcons. Two late first-half tries from Semesa Rokoduguni helped the hosts but Tom Homer held his nerve for the victors scoring from two penalties inside the final ten minutes to edge his side home.
The win keeps Bath stationed in their 9th position but the loss is a slight blow for the Falcons who now have to stave off the late challenge from the bottom placed London Irish.
Exeter Chiefs 20 – 12 Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers 21 – 13 Saracens
London Irish 23 – 18 Gloucester Rugby
Wasps 39 – 12 Sale Sharks
Harlequins 15 – 12 Worcester Warriors
Bath Rugby 21 – 19 Newcastle Falcons