Ashton scores on Saracens return but Wasps draw level at the top


Chris Ashton returned from his lengthy biting ban in style on Saturday, scoring a try in Premiership leaders Saracens' 21-6 victory over Newcastle Falcons.

England international Ashton had spent the last 13 weeks suspended, ruling him out of the November internationals with Eddie Jones' men - perhaps his last chance to play for the national team as he prepares to move to Toulon.

His last-minute score was ultimately the icing on the cake for Sarries, who had battled back from a pair of early Joel Hodgson penalties with Marcelo Bosch's converted try, before Owen Farrell put the European champions 13-6 to the good at half-time with two penalties, adding another from the tee after the break.

Newcastle's refusal to roll over at Allianz Park denied the hosts a bonus point and helped Wasps go level on points with Saracens thanks to a 40-26 win at home to third-placed Bath.

Wasps will end 2016 unbeaten at the Ricoh Arena thanks to their latest success, lit up by Christian Wade's hat-trick.

Wade had two at the break after a thrilling five-try first half, in which Thomas Young also crossed for Wasps, while Ross Batty and Dave Attwood replied for Bath, who trailed by 10 points at the interval.

Kurtley Beale made his first Premiership start, but the Australia star was outshone by Wade, who completed his treble in the second half before tries from Tom Ellis and Ben Tapuai helped Bath to a bonus point, keeping them just two points off their hosts in the table.

Leicester Tigers dropped to fifth after going down 31-10 to Exeter Chiefs, who replace them in the top four.

Leicester were 21-0 down at half-time after a pair of Thomas Waldrom scores and a penalty try.

Harry Thacker and Jono Kitto got Leicester on the board, but their scores sandwiched an Ollie Devoto touchdown.