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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821