Saracens power past Bath

Date published: February 15 2015

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Saracens resisted a late comeback from Bath to claim an important 31-24 victory in Sunday's Premiership clash at Allianz Park.

Saracens knew a win was crucial, as they look to overhaul Bath in the search for a home semi-final come the end of the season, and that's exactly what they got.

Both sides were missing international stars, but it was Bath who suffered the most at Allianz Park despite a bright opening. Mike Ford now has the responsibility of picking his side up, with a game against champions Northampton coming up next week.

Bath were marginally the better side in a scoreless first 10 minutes, with Ollie Devoto's solo run cutting the Sarries defence in two, only for Alex Goode to save the day with a good defensive tackle.

The away side's dominance brought them the first points of the game, with debutant Tom Homer striking a neat long-range penalty, only for the ever dependable Charlie Hodgson to cancel it out a few minutes later.

It had been tight and tense for the first 20 minutes, but Sarries saw an end to that with a superb team try. Chris Ashton made the initial break, before the ball was worked all the way over to his fellow winger Chris Wyles, who touched down in the corner.

Mark McCall's side were looking to stretch their lead before the break, and Goode's penalty gave them an eight point cushion heading into the break.

They could have been even further clear, had it not been for a disallowed penalty try. Wyles kicked a ball over the top, and felt that he had been pushed by Homer as he went to score, only for the TMO and referee to agree there had been no foul play.

Saracens looked to kick on at the start of the second half, and their dominance brought about an early try for Jamie George. The hooker crossed in the corner after good work from Ashton. But that was cancelled out seconds later, with Devoto once again carving out a superb running line before feeding in Semesa Rokoduguni.

That try put the visitors back in the game, with Homer's conversion cutting the lead to 11 points. The game was opening up, and the try of the day came courtesy of a sumptuous grubber kick from Goode, who put the try on a plate for Ashton.

Bath had England heroes Jonathan Joseph and George Ford watching on from the stands, and they won't have been happy as Goode kicked the home side further ahead.

The visitors did get their second try of the game, with Olly Woodburn dancing over and putting Bath in losing bonus point territory. That bonus point looked to be secured, when Rokoduguni charged in a the corner for his second.

Homer's conversion put them seven behind, but Goode had the final say with a late penalty to starve the visitors of what could have been a crucial point.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Wyles, George, Ashton
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Hodgson, Goode 3

For Bath:
Tries: Rokoduguni 2, Woodburn
Cons: Homer 3
Pens: Homer

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 James Johnston, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Ernst Joubert, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Tim Streather, 23 David Strettle.

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Sam Burgess, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Ollie Devoto, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Alafoti Faosiliva, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Micky Young, 22 Richard Lane, 23 Luke Arscott.

Venue: Allianz Park
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Paul Dix & Roy Maybank

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