Apr 01, 2016
Ashton at the double in Saracens win at The Rec
Saracens defeated Bath 30-10 in a feisty encounter at the Rec, with Chris Ashton crossing for a brace of tries in his comeback game.
Sarries crossed for four tries with Will Fraser, Mike Ellery and an Ashton brace inflicting the damage on Bath who had full-back Anthony Watsom sent-off for a dangerous tackle on opposite number Alex Goode.
Saracens have held the hex over Bath in recent meetings. In the last twelve outings against the West Country side Sarries have won eleven. With a firm pitch at the Rec, and a slight Easter breeze rolling in from the Avon, it was the perfect evening for running rugby and with Alex Goode and Owen Farrell in imperious form the Saracens side looked in fine fettle.
The hosts started brightly, with England flyer Anthony Watson igniting an entertaining contest with a blistering break after two minutes only for Sarries defensive general Brad Barritt to haul him down.
Bath for their part showed glimpses of their attacking pedigree with the aforementioned Watson and wingman Semesa Rokoduguni both threating at times, but it was the visitors who dominated proceedings as they outclassed Mike Ford’s side with some superb rugby.
The first try was a testament to Mark McCall’s side’s patience and endeavour with Will Fraser finishing off a fine team move that saw Chris Ashton and Owen Farrell combine to release Marcelo Bosch in the build-up. Farrell converted before sending over a penalty minutes later when Bath prop Henry Thomas was penalised at the scrum.
Farrell had another chance from the kicking tee only to see his attempt hit the post, but he made amends for his miss with a penalty after Rob Webber was penalised for not rolling away in the tackle.
Saracens were purring and their second try was a team score to be admired. Marshalled expertly by halfbacks Owen Farrell and Richard Wigglesworth, Sarries moved through the phases across the Bath 22 and after some telling carries from Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje, Alex Goode found Mike Ellery (who was temporarily on for Marcelo Bosch) in space with a bullet pass out wide to score. Farrell once again hit the uprights.
George Ford sent over a 40th minute penalty as the sides headed into the sheds with Saracens leading 18-3.
This game was never far from boiling over, with scuffles breaking out throughout the contest and the blue touch paper would well and truly be lit when Bath full-back Anthony Watson was given his marching orders after he took out Alex Goode under a high-ball. Goode was left on the floor after landing on his head with Watson careering into him as he jumped for the Ford ‘garryowen’. After consulting Match TMO Graham Hughes, Greg Garner pulled out the Red Card much to Watson’s and the vociferous Rec faithful’s indignation.
The needle didn’t stop there, as the next phase of play would see Bath scrum-half Chris Cook yellow carded for a tip tackle as the contest threatened to spill over.
Saracens, with the numerical advantage looked for their next score and it would be the comeback-kid Ashton who would mark his ten-week hiatus with a try. After Saracens mauled Bath close to their line, Richard Wigglesworth showed expert vision to work the blindside to give Ashton the easiest of run-ins.
Bath to their credit rallied, and replacement flanker Leroy Houston crossed for a score to make the game 10-23, but Sarries showed once again waited for their change and after Man of the Match Alex Goode found the impressive Will Fraser with another peach of a pass. Out wide, the bearded Sarries flanker found Ashton who bundled the ball over in the corner.
Final Score: Bath Rugby 10 Saracens 30
15 Anthony Watson; 14. Semesa Rokoduguni; 13. Jonathan Joseph; 12. Ollie Devoto; 11. Horacio Agulla; 10. George Ford; 9. Chris Cook; 1. Nathan Catt; 2. Rob Webber; 3. Henry Thomas; 4. Charlie Ewels; 5. Dave Attwood; 6. Matt Garvey; 7. Francois Louw (c ); 8. Amanaki Mafi:
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn; 17. Max Lahiff; 18. David Wilson; 19. Leroy Houston; 20. David Denton; 21. Guy Mercer; 22. Will Homer; 23. Rhys Priestland:
Replacements used: Dunn for Webber (61); Lahiff for Catt (53); Wilson for Thomas (54); Houston for Garvey (54); Denton for Mafi (54); Mercer for Louw (69); Priestland for Agulla (20); Homer for Priestland (35-39); Homer for Cook(75):
Red card Watson (50); Yellow card Cook (52):
15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton; 13 Marcelo Bosch; 12 Brad Barritt (c); 11 Duncan Taylor; 10 Owen Farrell; 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola; 2 Schalk Brits; 3 Petrus Du Plessis; 4 Maro Itoje; 5 George Kruis; 6 Michael Rhodes; 7 Will Fraser;8 Billy Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders; 17 Richard Barrington; 18 Titi Lamositele; 19 Alistair Hargreaves; 20 Kelly Brown; 21 Neil De Kock; 22 Mike Ellery; 23 Ben Ransom
Replacements used Saunders for Brits (71); Barrington for M.Vunipola (56); Lamositele for Du Plessis (59); Hargreaves for Itoje (41); Brown for Rhodes (56); De Kock for Wigglesworth (56); Ellery for Bosch (24-35 & 69); Ransom for Farrell (72).
Tries: Fraser, Ellery, Ashton x 2
Cons Farrell x 2:
Penalties Farrell x 2:
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