MATCH REPORT | Bath Rugby 17-71 Saracens Men
Saracens Men made it back-to-back wins with a simply stunning 10-try 71-12 victory over Bath Rugby at the Recreation Ground, which was the biggest away win in Premiership history.
A breath-taking first half from the Men in Black saw them race in to a 45-0 lead in the West Country sunshine, and they showed no signs of slowing down in the second as their best performance of the season so far saw them leave with an emphatic bonus-point win.
Tries from Maro Itoje, Ben Earl, Eroni Mawi, Rotimi Segun, Dom Morris, a double from Jamie George and a hat-trick from Max Malins put Mark McCall’s men en-route to a statement victory.
Sarries got off to the ideal start in what turned out to be their best ever first half of Premiership Rugby as Farrell kicked the visitors in front with just two minutes on the clock. His sky-high clearance was chased well by Max Malins, and then Maro Itoje got over the ball to force a penalty, which the skipper then kicked straight through the posts.
The dream start continued just after as Itoje marked his return with a try inside the first 10 minutes. Alex Lozowski’s break took play in to the 22, and then Billy Vunipola’s strong carry and offload allowed Itoje to power over from 10 metres out. Farrell’s conversion took the lead up to 10-0.
Bath then grew in to the match as Jonathan Joseph’s long-range break took them right up to the line, but after absorbing the attack for phase after phase, Sarries then turned the ball over and Vunipola’s impressive clearance ensured the danger passed.
That clearance proved to be crucial as from the lineout McCall’s men scored a sensational try to take control of the match. The ball came straight off the top from Jamie George, and Farrell zipped a pass straight to Alex Goode who juggled to Sean Maitland, and the winger then drew in the final defender to release Max Malins who finished in the corner. The touchline conversion meant Sarries had a 17-0 lead as the first quarter drew to a close.
Jamie George then got the third try for Sarries as they continued to dominate the first 40 minutes. A penalty in the 22 was kicked to the corner, and just as the maul started motoring almost the entire back-line joined in to add their power which allowed the hooker to dot down.
The bonus point try then came just 90 seconds later as Malins scored his second, this time from long range. Bath had the ball on half way, and a pass went to ground which bounced up perfectly for the England man who ran clear from 50 metres. Farrell’s conversion meant the lead was now over 30 points.
A fantastic passage of play just before the break nearly ended in try number five in what was turning in to an astonishing first half display. Bath again had the ball in the 22 but Mako Vunipola stripped it and passed to Ben Earl who ran up to half way, and his inside pass found Nick Tompkins but a fumble let the hosts off the hook from what would have been a certain try.
It got even better for Sarries in the 38th minute, and this time it was Ben Earl who scored in the corner. Tompkins’ dancing feet took play to within 10 metres of the line, and Goode’s pass to Vunipola looked to have gone forward but play continued for Earl to score, and after a check from the TMO the try was awarded.
There was still time for one more before the break as George crashed over for his second in a relentless display. A penalty was once again kicked to the corner, and the ball was recycled to the hooker who hammered over the line. Farrell’s conversion proved to be the last notable action of a thrilling opening 40 minutes, which saw Saracens head down the tunnel with a 45-0 lead.
The second half started with a try for Bath as they got on the scoreboard just two minutes after the restart. Farrell’s kick was charged down and Sam Underhill was hauled down just short, but it was spun wide to Tom de Glanville who ran straight under the sticks. Danny Cipriani’s conversion cut the lead to 38 points.
Sarries then crossed for their seventh try just before the hour mark as Eroni Mawi joined the party. Farrell and Ivan van Zyl both broke the first line of defence, and then an acrobatic offload found the Fijian who rolled over to bring up the half century for the visitors.
Malins then got his hat-trick just moments later as the lead continued to grow. Andy Christie carried twice powerfully to run over his opposite number, and then Alex Lozowski popped the ball wide to Malins who could stroll over with ease. Farrell’s conversion took his personal tally up to 19, and Saracens’ up to 59.
It didn’t take long for another try, and this time it was Rotimi Segun who had the perfect impact from the bench. A five metre penalty was tapped quickly by Vunipola, and he passed straight over the top to the winger who got try number nine, and also took the points tally over 60.
Dom Morris got in on the act with 10 minutes left after his supporting line allowed him to cross following Maitland’s break, and then Goode’s touchline conversion made it 71-7.
There was enough time remaining for Bath to get two quick consolation tries as Tom Ellis drove over from a rolling maul before Will Muir broke clear from a quick lineout, but they would be the final plays as Sarries registered a sensational win.