Feb 15, 2015
Saracens too good for Bath
Saracens beat top four rivals Bath 34-24 in a highly entertaining contest at Allianz Park.
The north Londoner’s crossed for three tries, with full-back Alex Goode kicking 14 points in a fine solo performance. Try scorers for Saracens were wings Chris Ashton & Chris Wyles, plus hooker Jamie George.
Mark McCall’s side were feverishly energetic throughout the contest, with the tempo they played the game too fast at times for their counterparts from the West Country.
The game started as it carried on, with either side continuously poking and probing each others famed defences with the star-studied backlines of both teams looking to impose their superiority on each other.
It was the visitors who would break the deadlock after 12 minutes, as Tom Homer gave Bath the lead on his club debut after Saracens were adjudged to have gone off their feet at the breakdown.
Saracens were patient and responded nine minutes later when Charlie Hodgson levelled things up from the kicking tee after the Saracens pack did well to earn a penalty.
Two minutes later Chris Wyles crossed for the games first try - finishing off a fine blindside move with Jamie George laying the chance on a plate for the USA wing with some deft handling in the build-up. Hodgson couldn’t convert a difficult chance.
As the half wore on Alex Goode assumed the place kicking responsibilities, and the classy England full-back kicked his first points of the game with another Sarries penalty.
Saracens had grounds to feel aggrieved, when a penalty try decision went against them after Chris Wyles looked to have been impeded by Tom Homer as he chased the bouncing ball over the Bath try-line. The sides went into the half with Sarries leading 11-3.
If the first half was entertaining then the beginning of the second stanza was pure box office, and it would be full-back Alex Goode taking centre stage.
The Sarries No15 was in imperious form, with his safety under the high ball, his back field running and playmaking ability a feature throughout the second half.
Goode added another three points from the kicking tee when the Bath scrum was penalised after pressure from Saracens tighthead Petrus Du Plessis.
Then Saracens would cross for their second try of the afternoon, when Jamie George finished off a free flowing move to burrow over to score a try his all-round performance deserved. Goode slotted the conversion from the left hand touchline.
Bath are made of sturdy stuff these days, and a response was forthcoming when England wing Semesa Rokoduguni crossed for his first try of the game just a minute after George’s try. Homer slotted the conversion.
Saracens though were in the ascendant, and their third try was a thing of beauty for the 9,225 packed watching the contest at a sun-kissed Allianz Park.
This really was the epitome of a ‘team try’. Once again the outstanding Saracens scrum was at it's immovable best, and from that solid platform Neil de Kock fed the ever dangerous Charlie Hodgson. The 34-year old fly half combined with Brad Barritt, who’s slight of hand and deft touch impressively returned the ball to Hodgson, who looped around to feed the onrushing Goode.
At pace, Goode slammed on the breaks, grubbered through a perfectly weighted kick for Saracens winger Chris Ashton, who raced onto the ball to finish with aplomb. Goode once again converted.
Goode then added another penalty goal before the games momentum took a swing in favour of the West Country side. Two quick fire converted tries from wingers Woodburn and Rokoduguni made the scores 31-24.
Saracens though, did not panic, and were afforded the chance to extend their lead when the Saracens scrum once again yielded a penalty from referee Mr Luke Pearce.
Goode stepped up and slotted the three points to secure the win for the home side.
Full-Time: Saracens 34 Bath 24.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor (rep Streather 14 mins); 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Charlie Hodgson (Strettle 65); 9 Neil de Kock; 1 Richard Barrington (Gill 68); 2 Jamie George (Sharman 71); 3 Petrus Du Plessis( Johnston 71), 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Alistair Hargreaves ©, 6 Kelly Brown (Smith 71); 7 Jacques Burger (Joubert 61); 8 Jackson Wray.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 James Johnston, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Ernst Joubert, 21 Ben Spencer, 23 David Strettle.
Bath: 15 Tom Homer; 14 Semesa Rokoduguni; 13 Sam Burgess; 12 Kyle Eastmond; 11 Olly Woodburn; 10 Ollie Devoto; 9 Chris Cook (Young 35); 1 Nick Auterac (Lahiff 56); 2 Ross Batty (Webber 52); 3 Henry Thomas (Palmer- Newport 61); 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 5 Dominic Day; 6 Matt Garvey (Fearns 52); 7 Francois Louw;. 8 Leroy Houston (Foasiliva 68).
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber; 17 Max Lahiff; 18 Kane Palma-Newport; 19 Alafoti Faosiliva; 20 Carl Fearns; 21 Micky Young; 22 Richard Lane, 23 Luke Arscott.
Tries Wyles (24 mins); George(45), Ashton(49).
Cons Goode x 2
Penalties Hodgson; Goode x 4
Tries Rokoduguni (47 & 73); Woodburn (71).
Cons Homer x 3