Bath Rugby fell to a 53-10 defeat to reigning Aviva Premiership champions Saracens at Allianz Park.
The home side registered their first try of the afternoon after four minutes through England hooker Jamie George, who found himself over the whitewash after a well-worked catch and drive from a line-out. 7-0
Saracens extended their advantage eight minutes later with a length of the field, breakaway try, which was started and finished by Alex Goode. The fullback started the move in his own 22 before crucial interventions from his fellow backs eventually saw Goode cross in the corner. 12-0
However, midway through the first half, Bath found themselves back in the game with a special try of their own. Jonathan Joseph surged down the left wing before sending a clever kick behind the Saracens defence. His international teammate Anthony Watson provided the chase, forcing Richard Wigglesworth to take the ball over his own line giving Bath the advantage at the scrum.
In the resulting play, Bath swept the ball from left to right with Taulupe Faletau producing some magic to release Joseph, who in turn found Watson at pace and the fullback did the rest to edge the visitors closer on the scoreboard. Despite the blustery conditions, which played a telling role in the game, George Ford added the extras. 12-10
In the last action of the half, Saracens added a third try with Sean Maitland gathering his own kick to give his side a five-point advantage going into the half-time break. 17-10
Half-time score: Saracens 17-10 Bath Rugby
A penalty from Owen Farrell in the opening stages of the second half was the only scoring action until the 59th minute, when his side scored two tries in four minutes to open up a 22-point advantage. Replacement hooker Schalk Brits finished off another rolling maul from the line-out, before Brad Barritt added another five points following a fine break from scrum-half Wigglesworth. 32-10
Facing an inspired Saracens side, Bath were unable to break through into opposition territory and found themselves facing another barrage of attacks in their 22 in the last 10 minutes. Ashton was first to break the resolve of the visitors defence socring from close range, before Billy Vunipola took advantage of a quick tap and go and bundled his way over the line. 46-10
With four minutes left on the clock, Henry Taylor intercepted a pass in the Bath 22 before offloading to Ashton, who completed the victory with his second try of the day.
Final score: Saracens 53-10 Bath Rugby
26 March 2017
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Half Time score: 17-10
- Tries: George (3), Goode (12), Maitland (40), Brits (59), Barritt (62), Ashton (70, 75), Vunipola (73)
- Conversions: Farrell (4, 60, 71, 74, 76)
- Penalties: Farrell (43)
- Tries: Watson (25)
- Conversions: Ford (26)
- Penalties: Ford (19)