Saracens crowned Aviva Premiership champions

Saracens have been crowned the 2014/5 Aviva Premiership Rugby champions after they beat Bath 16-28 at Twickenham on Saturday.

Saracens built a first half lead that saw them go in for half time leading 3-25 and although Bath won the second half on the scoreboard the first half lead proved too much for Bath.

Man of the match Owen Farrell came out on top in his personal battle for No10 supremacy with England rival George Ford to engineer Saracens second English Premiership title success on Saturday in front of 80,589 fans.

Farrell amassed 18 points including a fine opening try as Mark McCall’s men overcame a Bath side which fought back strongly in the second half but came up short at Twickenham Stadium.

Victory for Sarries, in their fourth English Final in six years, helped them exorcise the mental demons of last year’s double Final defeat by Northampton and Toulon. But it was a tough defeat for a Bath side playing in their first English Premiership Final for 11 years.

Jamie George and Chris Wyles also crossed for Sarries, who finished fourth in the table, with Bath’s only try coming from England centre Jonathan Joseph.

Bath began nervously and Sarries dominated the opening half to grab a commanding 25-3 lead by the break.

It would also have been a tense afternoon for England head coach Stuart Lancaster with 19 of his World Cup training squad involved in the contest.

Farrell was, however, fortunate to escape at least a yellow card for a clear high-tackle on Bath full-back Anthony Watson. Referee Wayne Barnes chose to merely give a penalty as England’s second choice full-back dangerously dragged his international team-mate to the turf.

Farrell then showed the good side of his nature as his sublime dummy pass fooled the Bath defence and opened up a large hole for the No10 to dart through and over the line for the first try. He composed himself to kick the extra points for the ideal start by the 2011 champions.

While Farrell and his team-mates celebrated, Watson, still dazed from his rival’s high tackle, trundled off for the field for a concussion assessment.

Sarries almost capitalised again when Bath wing Matt Banahan lost Farrell’s high punt towards the right hand corner due to the glare of the sun. David Strettle jumped with Banahan but just failed to catch it. If the wing had managed to do so he was over the line for a second try.

Yet, it did not take long for the men in white to race over the Bath line again with hooker Ross Batty failing to hold onto centre Kyle Eastmond’s shot pass. It bounced down invitingly for Sarries No2 George, who showed commendable pace to cross the line with posse of Bath backs in vain pursuit.

It was the perfect way for George to celebrate his unexpected call up to the England training squad, in place of the suspended Dylan Hartley 24 hours earlier.

News that Watson, such a dangerous and influential player for Bath, would not be returning to the back line due to his head injury increased the concerns of their already fretful supporters. Such a big blow and loss to the Bath attacking game.

Farrell increased the lead with his first penalty before Bath finally found some momentum and pressure, and Semesa Rokoduguni almost set up a try. The right wing broke down the flank, chipped ahead but was cynically taken out by full-back Alex Goode.

George Ford kicked the penalty to put Bath on the scoreboard.

Sarries were controlling the game and a third try was soon on the cards with a sublime piece of skill from Strettle, managing to keep the move going as he chipped and caught the ball at full pace, led to George unselfishly passing it on to Wyles to stroll over the Bath line.

Farrell converted but Sarries lost captain and lock Alistair Hargreaves who sustained a head injury at the start of the break.

The tide which flowed in favour of Sarries in the first half suddenly turned in Baas Ford’s second penalty sparked a fightback, and Joseph darted over with pace and skill for their first try converted by Ford. Suddenly Bath were back in the race.

Ford and Farrell exchanged penalty blows but Bath failed to continue their revival and Sarries held firm for the victory.

Final Score Bath 16 (3) Saracens 28 (25)

Scorers

Bath
Tries – Joseph
Pen – Ford (3)
Con – Ford
Drop –
Cards –

Saracens
Tries – Farrell, George, Wyles
Pen – Farrell (3)
Con – Farrell (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee :Wayne Barnes (156th Premiership game, 6th final).
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle and Greg Garner
TMO: Graham Hughes.

Teams

Bath

15 Anthony Watson , 14 Semesa Rokoduguni , 13 Jonathan Joseph , 12 Kyle Eastmond , 11 Matt Banahan , 10 George Ford , 9 Peter Stringer , 1 Paul James , 2 Ross Batty , 3 David Wilson , 4 Stuart Hooper (c) , 5 Dave Attwood , 6 Sam Burgess , 7 Francois Louw , 8 Leroy Houston

Replacements : 16 Rob Webber , 17 Nick Auterac , 18 Henry Thomas , 19 Dominic Day , 20 Matt Garvey , 21 Carl Fearns , 22 Chris Cook , 23 Ollie Devoto

Saracens

15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Wyles, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Al Hargreaves (c), 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Ashton

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