Here are the rankings after a busy round of fixtures that saw the previously top team lose for the first time this season (last weeks ranking in brackets).
1 – Exeter (4)
The defending champions are back on top of the pile after a convincing and ruthless win over Worcester. Perhaps the Chiefs should be unbeaten – their opening day defeat by Gloucester could easily have gone the other way – and they are playing with the continuity you would expect from a top-tier side. Sam Simmonds now has 7 tries in his last 10 games. Not bad for a back rower.
2 – Saracens (5)
Saracens picked up the win over Newcastle in Philadelphia and rocketed up our rankings on the back of it. This is a game that is difficult to prepare for and play in given the strange surroundings, but Sarries coped best on the day. It was American Chris Wyles who opened the scoring, but it was Owen Farrell – making his first Premiership start of the season – who dominated the game with his boot.
3 – Wasps (1)
It is a rare day when Wasps are upended at home, but they went down this weekend after winning 20 on the bounce at the Ricoh Arena. Even more worrying for Wasps is that they are likely to be without ex-England fly-half Danny Cipriani for the next 12 weeks with a knee injury. His medial ligament tear during the 24-21 defeat by Harlequins really rubbed salt in the wounds of the former No. 1 team in these rankings.
4 – Newcastle (2)
The Falcons defended well against a vibrant Sarries outfit Stateside, but their lack of discipline cost them as Farrell had a dominating day from the kicking tee. The Falcons will put this one down to the unfamiliarity of the match and move on to bigger and better things over the coming weeks.
5 – Harlequins (6)
Harlequins took advantage of their opportunities to upset Wasps in an ill-tempered match that threatened to get out of control on numerous occasions. It was this atmosphere though that allowed the Quins to play their own brand of rugby against Wasps and not get drawn into an attacking battle which they could not win. Fly-half Marcus Smith – just 18-years-old – showed a steadiness beyond his years to kick the winning points.
6 – Northampton (8)
Two home wins in a row for the East Midlands club. This one with a try-scoring bonus point, is enough for Northampton to continue an upward trend in the power rankings. The Saints' scoring list results in something of a double-take as three of their four tries came from second rowers, including a double for David Ribbans. They are bubbling nicely under the radar after three weeks.
7 – Bath (3)
It feels rough to drop a previously undefeated team this low, but after flirting with defeat twice, Bath couldn't make it third time lucky. The West Country side defended valiantly, but this was a one-sided match where the only question to be played out in the final quarter was if Northampton would pick up a bonus point or not.
8 – Sale (10)
The Sharks were brilliant against an under-matched London Irish squad as they ran in five tries and conceded just one. With Josh Charnley and Denny Solomona in the back line, Sale will be a match for anyone on their day and they had too much guile for the Exiles as they put together their best performance of the season to date.
9 – Leicester (11)
The Tigers put together a first-half display that would have seen them rocket up these rankings if they had continued that momentum after the break. Leicester scored three tries in the first quarter of the match against Gloucester at Welford Road, but they could not get a fourth (bonus point) try despite threatening late in the game. Those small margins can be huge over the course of the season and Leicester will have to improve their decision-making to be in contention come spring.
10 – Gloucester (7)
Gloucester may have lost at Welford Road – their second defeat on the bounce – but they did enough to suggest that they can turn around those results. They could easily have buckled at 21 points down after 20 minutes, but they fought back and could have given the Tigers real problems if not for a penalty count that spiralled out of control in the second half. The losses to injury will be a worry though for a squad that isn't especially deep.
11 – London Irish (9)
Two away games on the bounce have done London Irish no favours and they will be relieved to get back to the regular confines of the Madejski Stadium this weekend. A heavy defeat at Exeter was followed by a similar scoreline as they went down 36-7 at Sale. If the Exiles are to stay up, it will be on the basis of their home form and they get to start that side of their campaign against Northampton on Saturday.
12 – Worcester (12)
With injuries on the pitch and talk of a potential takeover, these are uncertain times for Worcester. The Warriors were ruthlessly outclassed by Exeter at the weekend. They have played three games and have a measly 28 points to show for it. Playing the top two from last season hasn't helped, but Worcester has to improve in a hurry before they are cast adrift.
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