Butch bombs as Quins go top

Butch James missed three penalties in four attempts in Bath’s 13-9 loss to Harlequins.

The victory sees Quins ascend to the summit of the Premiership, while Bath drop to fourth with Gloucester hot on their heels in fifth despite their 40-22 loss to Newcastle.

The Springbok flyhalf’s effectiveness was blunted as a result of his pack struggling and this may have affected his confidence. But ultimately it was a poor performance by the collective rather than the failings of James that saw Bath fall.

In other results, a 14-man Leicester Tigers beat the Sale Sharks 37-31 to keep themselves in the play-off mix. Despite losing Julian White in the 23rd minute, the Tigers still managed to outscore the Sharks five tries to two.

The Tigers led 17-15 at half-time, then blew the Sharks away in the second half, scoring three tries, the most telling of which was a 70th minute Sam Vesty score.

London Irish maintained hope of securing a home semi-final with a 38-21 hammering of Bristol, who were relegated as a result of Worcester’s 22-8 victory over Saracens.