Exeter Chiefs and Saracens kept the pressure on Premiership leaders Wasps with respective wins over Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks on Saturday.
With Wasps not in action until Sunday at home to Gloucester, the chasing duo both had the chance to move within a point of the summit - the Chiefs managing to do so thanks to a bonus-point 36-14 win at Sandy Park.
That victory sent them above Saracens, who could not claim the fourth try they needed to secure maximum points in their 29-18 success over the Sharks.
Exeter were only 17-14 ahead at the interval, James Short and Harry Williams responding to scores from the Falcons' Vereniki Goneva and Rob Vickers.
The second half was all Chiefs, though, as a penalty try and a last-minute score from Short earned them five points and a leap to second place.
At Allianz Park, Duncan Taylor, Chris Ashton and Nathan Earle all touched down for Saracens, with Alex Lozowski adding 14 points with the boot to help assuage the disappointment of back-to-back defeats to Gloucester and Worcester Warriors.
Elsewhere, Northampton Saints defeated the second-bottom Warriors 24-14, Mike Haywood scoring a brace of tries.