Planet Rugby

Saracens close gap on leaders

08th January 2012 16:55

Share:

John Smit Stephen Donald Francois Louw Saracens v Bath

Heavy traffic: John Smit takes on Stephen Donald and Francois Louw

Saracens beat Bath 26-19 with another ruthlessly efficient display at Vicarage Road on Sunday to close the gap on Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins to just three points.

The visitors raced into an early lead after just six minutes as World Cup-winning fly-half Stephen Donald justified some of the money and faith invested in him by scoring his first Premiership try.

Sarries have a formidable home record though and are yet to lose at Vicarage Road this season. And they showed exactly why they are so difficult to beat on their home turf when, despite being down to fourteen men after prop Rhys Gill was sinbinned, captain Steve Borthwick dived over for a try against his former club.

Donald registered three points for Bath before the home side were back up to their full complement but the lead did not last long.

England hopeful Owen Farrell recovered from two missed penalties to succeed with two further attempts, giving his team a 13-10 half-time advantage.

The West Country outfit's cause was not helped moments into the second period when star fly-half Donald had to be replaced by Tom Heathcote after picking up a shoulder injury.

Heathcote more than played his part as the half wore on though and he exchanged penalties with Farrell before the Saracens number ten missed another two penalties, which could have given his side some breathing space.

Bath remained in contention until ten minutes from time when Sarries' left winger Chris Wyles stepped inside his opposite number and crossed to give the Londoners a ten point lead.

Heathcote and Farrell then slotted over a penalty apiece shortly afterwards before Heathcote stepped up once more with the last kick of the match to draw Bath within seven points at 26-19 and give the visitors the consolation of a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Borthwick, Wyles
Cons: Farrell 2
Pens: Farrell 4

For Bath:
Try: Donald
Con: Donald


Pens: Donald, Heathcote 3

Yellow card: Gill (Saracens -15th min)

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Petrus du Plessis, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 George Kruis, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Adam Powell, 23 James Short.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty. 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 David Wilson, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Kyle Eastmond.

Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Pascal Gauzere

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province Kings
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00