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
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings vs Western Province19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00