Planet Rugby

Saracens give a repeat performance

08th November 2009 17:48

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Saracens scrum v Bath

Saracens' scrum: Too much for Bath

Saracens beat Bath for the second time in nine days, this time 30-22, to kickstart their LV=Cup campaign on Sunday.

The Guinness Premiership leaders twice came from behind, before running out deserved victors of an entertaining match.

Fly-half Glen Jackson kicked 20 points, helping Saracens to nine wins from 10 in all competitions.

Saracens' Kevin Sorrell was making his 300th first-team appearance for his only club. But it was his midfield partner Rodd Penney who made the first impact, a tremendous burst out of defence which eventually resulted in the need for a try-saving Rhys Crane tackle to stop Ethienne Reynecke.

Bath never really eased the pressure and ended up conceding a fifth-minute penalty to Jackson.

The visitors went on to score the first try, though - number eight Jonny Faamatuainu foxing the defence by shng to to pass back before spinning up the left wing and diving in by the flag. Nicky Little missed the conversion attempt.

Saracens responded with a sustained spell of pressure, and their reward was a 25th-minute penalty - tucked away without fuss by Jackson to recapture the lead.

Within minutes, Bath launched what was only their second genuine attack - and lock Scott Hobson barged over for their second try, converted by Little.

Saracens scored the try their rugby deserved in the 29th minute when Jackson raced across from the right-hand corner and cross-kicked to flanker Justin Melck, who scored on the left. But Jackson shanked his conversion, leaving Bath 12-11 ahead.

Jackson made amends with a penalty after 34 minutes, but Bath's third attack of any note again reaped points - this time a penalty, scored by Little in front of the posts. He wasted another on the stroke of half-time, however, hooking it wide.

Saracens tighthead Tom Mercey, given a first-half hiding in the scrum by David Barnes, was replaced during the interval by Richard Scuse.

The hosts regained the lead three minutes into the second half.

A snappy move stretched Bath on the right, and Michael Horak's excellent pass was swooped on by Richard Haughton - whose pace did the rest.

Jackson's conversion, and a penalty in front of the posts after 50 minutes, opened up a two-score lead for Saracens.

But Bath battled back with a second try by Faamatuainu, scored on the left after 57 minutes and converted by Ryan Davis.

Prolific Kiwi Jackson boomed over his sixth successful kick - and fifth penalty - in the 65th minute.

Bath continued to battle, until their discipline let them down and their scrum imploded under pressure.

Jackson's penalty went narrowly wide. But a kick off the ball was spotted by referee Dean Richards, and Jackson secured the tie with his seventh goal.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Melck, Haughton
Con: Jackson
Pens: Jackson 6

For Bath:
Tries: Faamatuainu 2, Hobson
Cons: Little, Davis
Pen: Little

Saracens: 15 Michael Horak, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Kevin Sorrell, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Kevin Barrett, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Justin Melck, 6 Wikus van Heerden (c), 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Kasiano Lealamanua, 18 Richard Skuse, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Schalk Brits, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Alex Goode, 23 James Short.

Bath: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Rhys Crane, 10 Nicky Little, 9 Scott Bemand, 8 Jonny Faamatuainu, 7 Josh Ovens, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Peter Short (c), 4 Scott Hobson, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 David Barnes.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Mark Lilley, 19 Ed Jackson, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Andy Beattie, 22 Mike Baxter, 23 Ryan Davis.

Referee: Dean Richards (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Small, (England), Alan Biggs (England)
Television match official: Clive Leeke (England)

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