Round-up: O'Shea tips Saracens as 'absolute favourites' for title

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The Independent Online

Having witnessed Saracens secure a battling 16-13 win at the Stoop and a resulting play-off spot on Saturday, Harlequins' director of rugby Connor O'Shea believes Sarries have both the resources and the attitude to win the Premiership.

The away side took the lead through two Alex Goode penalties but were pegged back by the boot of Rory Clegg. However, Saracens' promising fly-half Owen Farrell grabbed a second-half try, before converting, and landing another penalty.

"They know their roles and stick to that pattern and I make them absolute favourites to win the Premiership," O'Shea said. "I know Leicester, Gloucester and Northampton will have something to say about that but there is just something about Saracens that makes you think they will go that extra yard this year."

Saracens face Gloucester who brushed aside Sale 68-17, maintaining their season-long unbeaten home record. Despite describing the first half as a "little edgy", head coach Bryan Redpath was delighted with the overall performance. "The key was when we got back into simple and direct play," Redpath said.

The Exeter coach, Rob Baxter, took satisfaction from a job well done after a 10th Premiership win of the season saw his side leapfrog Wasps to finish eighth. Sandy Park's biggest crowd of the season – 10,522 – watched Christian Wade's try put Wasps into an early lead before the boot of Ignacio Mieres turned things around for the Chiefs, who scored second-half tries through Tom Johnson and Matt Jess.

Danny Cipriani has been left out of the Melbourne Rebels tour of South Africa after breaking an agreement to avoid late-night partying after matches. The former Wasps fly-half has had disciplinary issues since joining the Australian club – he helped himself to a bottle of vodka from a nightclub in February – and agreed to "stand down" last week after staying out late following a game against the New South Wales Waratahs. The club said he will train with the other non-touring players and continue community engagement with clubs and schools.

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