The gloss was taken off Wasps' 19-12 victory for over London Irish when they lost their exciting wing Christian Wade, who limped off late on after going over on his ankle. He will have a scan today that should reveal the extent of the injury.
Wade, playing for the first time since 2 November, joins Marland Yarde, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Joel Tomkins and Ben Foden on the list of injured backs as England prepare to face France in Paris in their first match in the the Six Nations' Championship on 1 February.
A penalty try again made all the ifference for London Irish. James O'Connor was the villain, the Australian full-back knocking-on deliberately as Andy Goode's cross-kick headed for Eliot Daly. Goode added the extras, scored two penalties and struck a drop goal that stymied the Exiles' late fightback.
Three late tries gave Northampton a 33-10 victory over Worcester but the win was nothing like as comfortable as the scoreline might suggest. Worcester fought all the way, leading 7-6 at half-time at Sixways after Igancio Mieres converted his own try, from a charge-down. They went 10-9 ahead when Chris Pennell replied to Stephen Myler's third penalty, but from there on it all went wrong for the battling Warriors with Myler converting tries by Samu Manoa, Tom Collins and Tom Wood.
Bath kept behind the Saints in third place with a 21-16 victory over Exeter at the Rec that rolled straight off the George Ford production line. The fly-half was in majestic form with the boot, kicking six penalties and dropping a goal in a sublime show that was tough on Exeter, whose locks, Damien Welch and Dean Mumm, scored the only tries of the match.