Bath Rugby were unable to recover from the first-half dominance of Saracens in the Aviva Premiership Final, suffering a 16-28 defeat at Twickenham.
Saracens signalled their intent early on, played the ball wide in the back three and, as it moved to Bath's right wing, Owen Farrell displayed a cute show-and-go to run over unopposed. The fly-half added the extra two points. 0-7.
Bath then watched in despair as Saracens intercepted a dropped ball inside the West Countrymen's half; Saracens hooker Jamie George showing impressive speed to evade the backtracking defenders to make it over the try line. Farrell missed with his conversion. 0-12.
Farrell struck another penalty shortly thereafter following a collapsed scrum in the Bath 22 to take his side 15 points clear.
It took almost half an hour for Bath to register any points on the board. Semesa Rokoduguni, who had shown glimmers of danger throughout the opening exchanges, was obstructed by Alex Goode, allowing the Bath fly-half to knock over a penalty. 3-15.
Just when Bath thought they were back in the game, Saracens endeavoured to intercept another pass. While Jonathan Joseph did outstandingly well to tap tackle Duncan Taylor before the centre got to the try line, Saracens wasted little time in throwing the ball wide and finding Chris Wyles for their third try, converted by Farrell. 3-22.
It must have appeared to be plain sailing for Farrell when, with two minutes left in the half, he kicked another penalty to take his tally in the first 40 to 15 points.
Half time: Bath Rugby 3-25 Saracens
Ford made it 6-25 after a decent start from the 'home' pack saw Bath drive a maul into Saracens' 22. As the ball went wide, Joseph was tackled high, allowing the fly-half another three-pointer. 6-25.
Bath then won two penalties in succession, leading to a lineout in Sarries' 22. After two minutes of being camped on Saracens' 5m line, Stringer looked outside him and passed to Joseph who, fancying his chances, stretched the opposition with an arcing run to score Bath's first try. They needed the extra points and Ford duly delivered them with his conversion. 13-25.
Another penalty from Ford took the scores to 16-25, only for his kick to be cancelled out by Farrell with 18 minutes to go in the match. 16-28.
As had been the case throughout much of the game, Bath were constantly playing catch-up and, although it did force their play on occasion, they played some beautiful passages of rugby.
Alas, it was too late for the men in Blue, Black and White - who lost fullback Anthony Watson in the opening exchanges of the match to a head injury from a high tackle - to launch any meaningful attack and Saracens wound down the clock to seal the win and earn themselves the title of Champions of England.
Full time: Bath Rugby 16-28 Saracens
30 May 2015
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Half Time score: 3-25
- Tries: Joseph (51)
- Conversions: Ford (53)
- Penalties: Ford (26, 44, 60)
- Tries: Farrell (5), George (13), Wyles (31)
- Conversions: Farrell (7, 33)
- Penalties: Farrell (21, 37, 62)