Bath 10-30 Saracens: Anthony Watson sent off as Chris Ashton bags brace on Sarries return
Saracens made it back-to-back Premiership victory’s with a bonus-point win away at Bath
Tries from Will Fraser and Mike Ellery plus eight points from the boot of Owen Farrell gave Sarries a convincing 18-3 lead at the break
England man Anthony Watson was dismissed for the hosts after the restart
Chris Ashton then completed the victory for the away side with a brace on his return from suspension
Eight of England’s Grand Slam winning side were on show on Friday night as Premiership leaders Saracens continue on target to top the division after overcoming Bath comfortably at the Rec.
Sarries returned to the top of the table with their victory over Exeter Chief’s last weekend and continued that rich vein of form with a dominant performance in a repeat of last season’s grand final.
Will Fraser and Mike Ellery ran in first-half tries for the visitors with Owen Farrell adding further eight points to give Sarries a convincing 18-3 lead at half-time with George Ford kicking the hosts only points from the tee.
Bath began the second half much better but had Anthony Watson sent off after 50 minutes before they reduced to 13 men when Chris Cook was shown yellow three minutes later.
Chris Ashton capitalised upon the advantage for the away side soon after before Leroy Houston got one back for Bath.
Ashton though, who was returning from his ten-week suspension, completed his brace to secure the win.
The underperforming hosts were yet to win three in a row on home turf this season but had the chance to do so following wins against fellow strugglers Newcastle Falcons and London Irish, however, they struggled from the start as the Sarries pack asserted their dominance from minute one.
Saracens, who had lost only one of their last dozen meetings with Bath, eventually opened the scoring through Will Fraser after seven minutes following a lively start with Farrell converting from a tight angle. Bath only had themselves to blame as Chris Cook’s mistake put them under pressure and led to Sarries recycling the ball quickly with the bulky back-rower forcing his way over for the night’s first try, 0-7.
Five minutes later Farrell made no mistake, confidently kicking between the posts to give the visitors a 10-point advantage.
Farrell added another three points on the half hour but couldn’t convert Ellery’s score two minutes later. The away side spread the ball expertly, with Brad Barritt and Alex Goode both heavily involved before it was eventually passed to the former England Sevens winger, who sprinted over in the corner to complete a simply superb try.
Ford was able to knock over a penalty late in the opening 40, but Bath trailed 18-3 at the break.
Things started better for Bath after the restart but it didn’t take long for things to turn sour as Anthony Watson was shown a red card after he took out Alex Goode in the air with the Sarries fullback landing on his head. Bath were then reduced to 13 men soon after as Cook was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
With the two-man advantage, Ashton then strolled in for a try on his comeback to surely signal game over. Sarries drove from the line-out with Richard Wigglesworth finding Ashton down the blindside. Farrell though could not convert, 3-23.
Despite being two men down, Houston crossed for Bath’s first try of the game as Saracens took their foot off the gas. However, the London side secured the bonus point with ten minutes to go.
A wonderful inside pop from Fraser to Ashton, and the England man crossed for his second of the game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Saracens: Alex Goode
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nathan Catt
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
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Duncan Taylor, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako 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
Date: Fiday, April 1
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 19:45 local, (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell, Paul Dix
TMO: Graham Hughes