Planet Rugby

Saracens silence The Rec

28th February 2014 22:03

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Top of the league: Saracens

David Strettle scored on his 100th appearance for Saracens as they moved to the top of the table with a 23-10 victory over Bath.

First-half tries from Chris Wyles and Strettle, as well as a fabulous kicking performance from Alex Goode, was enough for a comfortable win.

Defeat for Bath means that their place in the top four is not yet secure, as they failed to trouble Sarries enough to threaten an upset.

Bath started slowly, struggling at times to deal with the power that Saracens possessed, but rallied to take the lead through the boot of the impressive George Ford.

Goode was on hand to level though, showing that whatever his fellow compatriot could do, he could do just as well. The game finally came to life ten minutes before the interval. Joel Tomkins' impressive offload was juggled by Chris Wyles, who eventually got control of the ball for the first try of the contest.

That score rattled Bath, who were unable to prevent a second for Mark McCall's men just a few minutes later.

Matt Banahan failed to fall on the ball in his own 22, presenting the ball to Brad Barritt, who sent through a sensational grubber kick to Strettle, who raced over the line to give his side a 17-3 half time lead.

Goode's drop goal finally stretched the visitors' lead to 17, with Bath running out of time to launch a comeback.

Saracens were holding on with 14 men after Jacques Burger was sent to the bin. With nine minutes left on the clock, the pressure finally told as the referee awarded a penalty try.

Ford's conversion gave the home side hope, though that hope looked all but gone moments later.

Goode kept his nerve to send over a penalty, meaning Northampton will have to find a win over Gloucester on Saturday to move back to the summit.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Try: Penalty Try
Con: Ford
Pen: Ford

For Saracens:
Tries: Wyles, Strettle
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Goode 2
Drop Goal: Goode
Yellow Cards: Burger, Wyles

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Micky Young, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Marcelo Bosch.

Referee: Luke Pearce (Eng)
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Paul Dix (both Eng)
TMO: Geoff Warren (Eng)

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