Dec 03, 2016
Saracens edged out at The Rec
Saracens were narrowly beaten 14-11 by Bath Rugby in a tense round 10 Aviva Premiership clash at The Rec.
Fly-half Alex Lozowski nearly snatched a draw in the last kick of the game but his 54-metre penalty attempt drifted wide of the uprights as Saracens were defeated for only the second time of the Aviva Premiership season.
After two Tom Homer penalties in the first half, the hosts crossed for the games first try when outside centre Max Clark collected a fine offload from his centre partner Ben Tapuai.
Alex Lozowski sent over an earlier penalty before Sean Maitland scored his fifth Saracens try of the season before the break. The Scotland international showing great determination and strength to barge his way over his opposite wing, Aled Brew. Lozowski couldn’t convert as the teams went into the break with Bath leading Saracens 11-8.
Sarries were off colour in the first half but looked more like their usual selves in the second half, but despite their territorial and possession dominance they couldn’t break down a stubborn Bath defence in an absorbing second forty.
Alex Lozowski sent over a drop goal early into the second half but that’s all Saracens could muster. There were chances for substitute prop forward Vincent Koch, lock forward Jim Hamilton and on occasions Saracens didn’t make the most of a well-worked blindside overlap but credit must go the host’s steadfast and determined defence.
Speaking after the game, director of rugby Mark McCall was phlegmatic in defeat: “Bath have defended well all season, the stats back that up, and they were very good today. We made two or three chances in the game that we failed to finish and that’s disappointing for us. We were off colour in the first half but in the second half I thought we were tremendous but we just missed our chances."
On the returning Maro Itoje, McCall added: “It was great to see Maro back out there today. In the first half when we weren’t quite as good as a team I thought he shone. He carried the ball well all the way through the game and overall I think he did well.”
Bath: 15 Tom Homer; 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew; 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Kahn Fotuali’I; 1 Nathan Catt, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Max Lahiff; 4 Luke Charteris, 5 Dave Attwood; 6 Matt Garvery (c), 7 Tom Ellis, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Beno Obanpo, 18 Kane Palmer-Newport, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Jack Wilson
Penalties: Homer x3
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode; 14 Sean Maitland (Nathan Earle 64’), 13 Nick Tompkins (Marcelo Bosch 55’), 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Ben Spencer (Richard Wigglesworth 47’); 1 Titi Lamositele (Richard Wigglesworth 47’), 2 Schalk Brits (Jared Saunders 20’), 3 Juan Figallo (47’); 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Jim Hamilton (Kelly Brown 79’); 6 Michael Rhodes, 7 Schalk Burger, 8 Jackson Wray
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Nathan Earle
Drop Goals: Lozowski