Bath end Saracens run and top Premiership

Bath earned their first home Aviva Premiership victory over Saracens since 2009 when they beat the North London club 21-11 at the Recreation Ground on Friday.

The victory moves Bath to the top of the Premiership standings and is Saracens first loss of the season. All of the 12 Premiership teams have now lost at least one match.

Bath recovered from last week’s loss to Premiership champions Northampton Saints
by beating this year’s Premiership leaders.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster could certainly do worse than select try-scoring
duo Jonathan Joseph and Kyle Eastmond for the November internationals on the
evidence of this display.

Both players were on fire, as was man-of-the-match Semesa Rokoduguni, but the
Bath forward pack should also take a large slice of the credit after doing to
Saracens what they have done to so many teams over recent years with their ferocious
work at the breakdown.

Bath could even afford to see 14 points from the boot go begging, with fly-half
George Ford missing four of his nine kicks at goal.

Joseph got the ball rolling when Alex Goode and Billy Vunipola showed indecision
and allowed a high bomb from Ford to bounce into the arms of Eastmond. Eastmond
took play on before drawing his man to put Joseph away. Ford converted.

Charlie Hodgson pulled three points back for the visitors from a scrum penalty
before Ford put two misses behind him to nail his next opportunity in front
of goal.

Goode reduced the deficit to four points after taking Sarries’ next shot at
goal – with Hodgson receiving treatment for a shoulder knock.

A deliberate knock down by Chris Ashton, when Sarries were out-numbered in
defence, saw the England man dispatched to the sin-bin just before the break.
Ford kicked the resulting penalty to hand Bath a 13-6 half-time lead.

Rokoduguni’s powerful running had caused Saracens problems all night, and the
Fijian-born winger’s superb break took Bath from five metres from their own
line to deep into Sarries territory. Unfortunately a rare handling error from
Joseph prevented Bath from profiting.

Joseph made amends not long after when he sped through the Sarries defence
and found Eastmond on his shoulder. The ex-rugby league man’s score was the
first try Sarries had conceded on the six occasions they’ve been a man short.

Chris Wyles’ try on 57 minutes briefly raised Sarries’ hopes of staging a comeback
but Bath’s determination in defence, typified by the big hits of flanker Alafoti
Fa’osiliva and some good work late on by replacement nine Micky Young, saw the
West Countrymen soak up everything thrown at them.

Ford’s penalty on 59 minutes, after Guy Mercer had been taken out in the lineout,
proved to be the final points of a memorable match for Bath which further underlined
their title credentials.

Final Score Bath 21 (13) Saracens 11 (6)

Scorers

Bath
Tries: Joseph, Eastmond
Con: Ford
Pens: Ford 3

Saracens
Try: Wyles
Cons:
Pens: Hodgson, Goode

Match Officials
Referee
: Greg Garner (69th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix and Gareth Copsey.
TMO: Geoff Warren.

Teams

Bath

15. Gavin Henson, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Kyle Eastmond, 11. Olly Woodburn, 10. George Ford, 9. Chris Cook, 1. Paul James, 2. Rob Webber, 3. David Wilson, 4. Stuart Hooper ( c ), 5. Dave Attwood, 6. Alafoti Fa’osiliva, 7. Guy Mercer, 8. Leroy Houston

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