Sarries salvage draw to go top despite Barrington red
Richard Barrington was sent off in the early stages of his 100th appearance for Saracens but the Premiership and European champions fought back to salvage a 13-13 draw against Exeter Chiefs to go top of the table.
With new laws introduced at the turn of the year aimed at clamping down on high tackles, prop Barrington was given his marching orders after only 10 minutes at Allianz Park on Saturday for flooring Geoff Parling.
Brad Barritt was fortune to escape punishment for the initial contact he made with Parling, but Barrington was dismissed after coming through with his shoulder and seemingly knocking the big lock out cold.
Parling was carried off before returning to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines and Exeter led 10-3 at half-time after the in-form Jack Nowell took a superb one-handed catch to touch down and Gareth Steenson, who opened the scoring with a penalty, converted.
Sarries were more than a match for the third-placed Chiefs despite being a man down, though, and they were level with five minutes remaining when Titi Lamositele crashed over following an unstoppable driving maul and Alex Lozowski converted.
Steenson sent a drop-goal attempt wide right at the end as Sarries claimed a draw which looked unlikely when they lost Barrington so early on.
Tim Swiel's 24-point haul ensured Harlequins made it 10 home wins out of 10 this season as struggling Sale Sharks were beaten 29-26 despite a Denny Solomona double.
Fly-half Swiel scored a first-half try and 19 points with the boot, with wing Solomona touching down in each half to take his tally to four in three games but third-bottom Sale were unable to avoid a ninth defeat in a row.
Gloucester put Worcester Warriors to the sword, running in seven tries in a 55-19 rout and Jason Woodward's 21-point tally was in vain as bottom side Bristol went down 32-26 at Northampton Saints to end a run of four wins in a row.