Harlequins remain top, Saracens keep the heat on.

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Updated: December 31, 2012

Harlequins ensured they would finish 2012 at the summit of the Premiership following a hard fought 26-15 win over London Irish. Nick Evans led the way for the defending champions with 16 points with the boot.

In other Saturday action Anthony Allen’s first try of the season helped Leicester Tigers come from behind to secure a nail-biting 17-12 Premiership victory over Gloucester. Tom Heathcote’s nerveless conversion and Bath’s never-say-die attitude earned a 12-12 draw and denied Exeter Chiefs in this war of attrition in the Premiership, and Joe Simpson’s brilliant individual try sparked a second half comeback that helped London Wasps to an impressive 34-15 win over London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium, while on Friday recalled Danny Cipriani inspired Sale to only their second win of the season with a contribution of 18 points in their 33-27 win over the Warriors.

On Sunday, Saracens kept the pressure on Harlequins with a tight 17-16 win over Northampton, a Jon Smit try proving the difference.