Match summary – SARACENS 40-3 BATH RUGBY
After last week’s stunning home victory over Harlequins, Bath Rugby couldn’t find a way past a resolute and well-disciplined Saracens.
Ben Spencer replied to a couple of Lozowski penalties for an evenly balanced first 35 minutes as Bath’s powerful back-row managed to cause the London side plenty of problems.
Saracens destructive rolling maul created two quick fire tries for hooker Tom Woolstencroft just before half-time.
Alex Goode and Alex Lewington earned the home side a try bonus point after the break, with Theo McFarland adding a fifth later in the half.
The majority of last week’s winning starting team remained with just two changes to the pack. Will Spencer started in the second-row alongside Josh McNally.
Mike Williams moved to the back row alongside last week’s debutant Nathan Hughes. Jaco Coetzee also returned to the starting line-up following his return from injury last week. Tom Ellis and Ewan Richards dropped out.
Tom Dunn and Valeriy Morozov joined the bench after injury alongside Academy players Nahum Merigan and Josh Dingley. Second-row Dingley would make his senior Bath Rugby debut.
Bath Rugby: 15 Semesa Rokoduguni, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Max Ojomoh, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Arthur Cordwell, 2 Jacques du Toit, 3 D'Arcy Rae, 4 Josh McNally (c), 5 Will Spencer, 6 Mike Williams, 7 Jaco Coetzee, 8 Nathan Hughes
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Valeriy Morozov, 18 Kieran Verden, 19 Josh Dingley, 20 Nahum Merigan, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Will Butt, 23 Tom Prydie
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode (cc), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Dom Morris, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl; 1 Mako Vunipola (cc), 2 Tom Woolstencroft, 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Theo McFarland, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Andy Christie, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Kapeli Pifeleti, 20 Sean Reffell, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Brandon Jackson, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo
It was Saracens who opened the half the brightest. Similar to last week’s win over Harlequins, Bath struggled in the early scrums and Saracens were awarded a penalty in front of the post. Alex Lozowski put the home side into an early lead with an easy kick.
Bath Rugby sprung into life and the super-sized back row of Nathan Hughes, Mike Williams and Jaco Coetzee started to cause Saracens problems with their powerful surges.
Unfortunately, Mike Williams had to leave the field with injury following a nasty looking tackle close to the Saracens line. Academy player Nahum Merrigan replaced him in the back-row.
Saracens managed to win back field position following an Andy Christie surge which drew a kickable penalty which Lozowski converted.
Straight from the kick off, Saracens infringed at the breakdown and Ben Spencer slotted a magnificent long-range penalty to bring the score to 6-3.
The visitors faced more disruption as Jonathan Joseph was replaced by Will Butt.
With just 5 minutes left on the clock Saracens drove over for two tries for their hooker, Tom Woostencroft, the second with the clock in the red.
It was a tough end to a competive first half for the visitors as the lack of game time for a lot of the pack took its toll.
Saracens went into half-time with an 18-3 advantage.
Saracens started the second half much like the first, but this time they managed to convert pressure into points.
First of all Lozowski kicked his third penalty of the afternoon as Bath were penalised at the breakdown.
Alex Goode then showed his class as he skipped through the Bath defence and then swapped passes with Ben Earl to dive over the whitewash.
Tom Dunn then returned to the pitch after injury along with Russian international Valeriy Morozov, who made his Bath Rugby Premiership debut.
Saracens managed to create more chances but Bath repealed their advances until Theo McFarland managed to finish off a blistering attack.
The introduction of Joe Simpson created some pace to Bath’s attack and Nathan Hughes nearly managed to score his first Bath try but was dragged down just short.
The last 10 minutes fizzled out but it allowed Josh Dingley, fresh into the Academy this season, to make his Premiership Bath debut.
5 February 2022
Referee: Sara Cox
Half Time score: 18-3
- Tries: Woolstencroft (37, 41), Goode (46), Lewington (58), McFarland (66)
- Conversions: Lozowski (43, 59, 67)
- Penalties: Lozowski (6, 21, 45)
- Penalties: Spencer (23)