Planet Rugby

No luck at home for Bath

21st November 2010 18:49

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SKY_MOBILE James Short - Saracens - 21/11/10

Short: Scores against Bath

Bath slipped to another defeat in the Aviva Premiership after an error-ridden second half saw them lose 17-13 to Saracens.

Saracens twice hit Bath on the break to maintain their remarkable winning run on opposition territory and grab third place on the tournament standings.

Tries by Kameli Ratouvu and James Short left Bath still without a home league victory since the end of September.

Both sides had to cope without key players, Bath being without England skipper Lewis Moody plus international team-mates Davey Wilson, Shontayne Hape and Matt Banahan, while club captain Luke Watson was out injured.

Saracens, already without injured number eight Ernst Joubert and back-row partners Jacques Burger and Kelly Brown on international duty, found their preparations further disrupted when Alex Goode (thigh muscle) and Brad Barritt (finger) failed fitness tests before kick-off.

Owen Farrell's perfect kick to the corner had Saracens in a prime attacking position within two minutes, but a big Bath scrum lifted the pressure.

Ten minutes later they forced a penalty from the visiting front row and Olly Barkley opened the scoring from 45 metres.

Although Saracens enjoyed the territorial advantage through the first quarter, Simon Taylor, playing on the open side for Bath, was putting in some huge tackles and the home side were far more aggressive at the breakdown.

Saracens then lost centre Adam Powell to a shoulder injury as Nick Abendanon came in with the hit just after the ball had been shipped on.

The Bath full-back escaped censure but then gained a penalty himself for a high tackle by Schalk Brits, Barkley kicking the goal from 35 metres.

Controversy then surrounded an opportunist Abendanon try on 25 minutes which originated with a kick ahead by Michael Claassens which deflected off referee Tim Wigglesworth. When the ball ran loose, Abendanon was quickest to react and hacked on to touch down.

Barkley's conversion put Bath 13-0 ahead but Farrell pulled back three points on the half-hour after David Strettle's wriggling run took Saracens into the Bath 22.

Bath quickly returned to the attack after the break but turned the ball over just outside the visitors' 22 and were punished on 48 minutes when Farrell's punt upfield was hacked on by left wing James Short and Ratouvou's touchdown was ruled good by TV match official Brian Hughes. Farrell's conversion cut Bath's lead to three points.

Within eight minutes Saracens were ahead, striking from long range after replacement centre Sam Stanley broke free from the 22.

As support swarmed upfield, Owen Farrell slipped a grubber through to Abendanon whose attempted clearance was charged down by Short, leaving the left wing an easy run to the line. Farrell added the conversion to put his side 17-13 ahead.

Bath threw everything at a well-organised and aggressive Saracens defence. Barkley was nearly through on an inside pass from Claassens but the ball ran loose in the tackle and replacement scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth cleared.

With two minutes left to play Barkley was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Stanley but Wigglesworth's kick was well wide.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Try: Abendanon
Con: Barkley
Pens: Barkley 2

For Saracens:
Tries: Ratuvou, Short

Cons: Farrell 2

Pen: Farrell

Yellow card: Olly Barkley (Bath, 78min)

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Jack Cuthbert, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Sam Vesty, 9 Michael Claassens (c), 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Simon Taylor, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Ignacio Fernandez-Lobbe, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Guy Mercer, 22 Mark McMillan, 23 Nick Scott.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Justin Melck, 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Deon Carstens.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Don Barrell, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Noah Cato.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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