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Rokoduguni inspires Bath Rugby to victory over Saracens

Bath Rugby 31 v Saracens 21

Two late tries from Semesa Rokoduguni, helped Bath Rugby maintain their 100% start to the Aviva Premiership season, with a 31-21 victory over European Champions Saracens at the Recreation Ground.

It was a strong start from Saracens, who came within touching distance of adding the first points of the game. A clever chip over the Bath defence found the chasing Duncan Taylor, but an excellent covering tackle from Anthony Watson dislodged the ball from the Scotland centre with the try line in his sights.

It was then Watson who showed his attacking intent with nine minutes on the clock. The fullback gathered the ball deep inside his own 22 gliding past the Saracens defence, before Alex Lozowski maded the crucial intervention to stop Watson crossing in the corner.

The attacking momentum paid off when after 18 minutes, Rhys Priestland coolly slotted the opening points of the half. After a number of well-worked phases in the Saracens 22, Kahn Fotuali’i sent the ball back to Rhys Priestland, who sent his drop-goal attempt straight through the uprights. 3-0

Midway through the first 40 minutes, Bath increased their lead with a superb flowing move finished off by Francois Louw. The ball was recycled from right to left to find Jonathan Joseph, who used quick hands to send Matt Banahan into space. The winger used all his experience to draw in the Saracens defence, before offloading to Louw, who fended off attentions Alex Goode and Michael Rhodes to score a memorable try. 8-0

Priestland kept the scoreboard ticking over with two penalties, to give the Blue, Black and White a 14-0 lead going into the interval.

Half-time: Bath Rugby 14 - Saracens 0

Two minutes into the second-half Lozowski reduced arrears with a penalty of his own, which gave the visitors a new-found confidence. Lozowski’s replacement Owen Farrell added another three points to put Saracens within eight points, but Bath hit back through Priestland, who notched his second drop-goal of the game. 17-6

However, the visitors’ comeback was well and truly on course, when referee Wayne Barnes stepped in to award a penalty try after sustained pressure from Mark McCall's men. Saracens used the catch and drive to good effect from the line-out, only for it to be hauled down by Taulupe Faletau, who was adjudged to have collapsed the maul. Barnes signalled for the try and Faletau was sent to the sin-bin, with the tie closely poised at 17-16.

With seven minutes left on the clock, Saracens went in front for the first time at the Rec through replacement Ben Spencer. Farrell, who was at the centre of Saracens’ comeback in the second-half was pivotal in a dangerous attacking move. The England fly-half got the ball rolling, before Chris Wyles found Spencer with an inside pass and the scrum-half did the rest. 17-21

With four minutes to play and with Bath down to 14 men after Watson left the field injured, step-in Semesa Rokoduguni. After his 80m effort last week against Leicester Tigers, the Bath flyer was back in the act weaving his way through the Saracens defence. Rokoduguni evaded the clutches of four diving tackles before crossing the whitewash to put Bath back in the ascendancy. 24-21

If the supporters thought they had seen it all, they were in for another tense finale. With Saracens pressing in the Bath 22, Vunipola tried to offload out wide only to find that man again - Semesa Rokoduguni. There was no stopping the prolific winger, who made it a second length of the field effort in as many weeks to send the Rec into raptures in the final play of the game.

Final score: Bath Rugby 31-21 Saracens

 

Match details

Recreation Ground
Aviva Premiership
9 September 2017
KO 14:00

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Half Time score: 14-0

Bath:
Tries: Louw (23), Rokoduguni (76, 81)
Conversions: Burns (77, 82)
Penalties: Priestland (35, 42)
Drop goals: Priestland (17, 53)
Saracens:
Tries: Spencer (72)
Penalties: Lozowski (41), Farrell (50, 66)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Bath and Saracens.

3'

Substitution

Kahn Fotuali'i replaces Chris Cook for Bath.

18'

Drop Goal! Bath 3 - 0 Saracens

Rhys Priestland scores for Bath.

24'

Try for Bath! Bath 8 - 0 Saracens

Francois Louw scores for Bath.

36'

Penalty Goal! Bath 11 - 0 Saracens

Rhys Priestland kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

43'

Penalty Goal! Bath 14 - 0 Saracens

Rhys Priestland kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

43'

HALF TIME

Match score: Bath 14 - 0 Saracens.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

41'

Substitution

Mako Vunipola replaces Richard Barrington for Saracens.

42'

Penalty Goal! Bath 14 - 3 Saracens

Alex Lozowski kicks a penalty goal for Saracens.

47'

Substitution

Owen Farrell replaces Alex Lozowski for Saracens.

51'

Penalty Goal! Bath 14 - 6 Saracens

Owen Farrell kicks a penalty goal for Saracens.

51'

Substitution

Nick Auterac replaces Beno Obano for Bath.

51'

Substitution

Liam Williams replaces Nathan Earle for Saracens.

51'

Substitution

Nick Isiekwe replaces Dominic Day for Saracens.

51'

Substitution

Juan Figallo replaces Vincent Koch for Saracens.

54'

Drop Goal! Bath 17 - 6 Saracens

Rhys Priestland scores for Bath.

58'

Yellow Card!

Bath lose Taulupe Faletau for ten minutes.

58'

Try for Saracens! Bath 17 - 11 Saracens

scores for Saracens.

58'

Substitution

Freddie Burns replaces Rhys Priestland for Bath.

60'

Substitution

James Phillips replaces Luke Charteris for Bath.

60'

Substitution

Scott Andrews replaces Anthony Perenise for Bath.

61'

Substitution

Christopher Tolofua replaces Schalk Brits for Saracens.

61'

Substitution

Ben Tapuai replaces Jonathan Joseph for Bath.

62'

Substitution

Paul Grant replaces Elliott Stooke for Bath.

63'

Substitution

Ben Spencer replaces Richard Wigglesworth for Saracens.

67'

Penalty Goal! Bath 17 - 14 Saracens

Owen Farrell kicks a penalty goal for Saracens.

70'

Substitution

Elliott Stooke replaces Paul Grant for Bath.

72'

Substitution

Jack Walker replaces Tom Dunn for Bath.

73'

Try for Saracens! Bath 17 - 19 Saracens

Ben Spencer scores for Saracens.

76'

Substitution

Paul Grant replaces Matt Garvey for Bath.

77'

Try for Bath! Bath 22 - 19 Saracens

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

78'

Conversion! Bath 24 - 19 Saracens

Freddie Burns with a conversion for Bath.

82'

Try for Bath! Bath 29 - 19 Saracens

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

83'

Conversion! Bath 31 - 19 Saracens

Freddie Burns with a conversion for Bath.

83'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Bath.

Final score: Bath 31 - 19 Saracens.

Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Rhys Priestland002212
Semesa Rokoduguni200010
Francois Louw10005
Freddie Burns02004
Saracens Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Owen Farrell00206
Ben Spencer10005
Alex Lozowski00103
Bath v Saracens
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PBeno
Obano
1Richard
Barrington
P    
    HTom
Dunn
2Schalk
Brits
H    
    PAnthony
Perenise
3Vincent
Koch
P    
    LLuke
Charteris
4Dominic
Day
L    
    LElliott
Stooke
5Maro
Itoje
L    
    FLMatt
Garvey
6Michael
Rhodes
FL    
   1FLFrancois
Louw
7Schalk
Burger
FL    
    8Taulupe
Faletau
8Jackson
Wray
8    
    SHChris
Cook
9Richard
Wigglesworth
SH    
22  FHRhys
Priestland
10Alex
Lozowski
FH   1
    WMatt
Banahan
11Chris
Wyles
W    
    CMax
Clark
12Brad
Barritt
C    
    CJonathan
Joseph
13Duncan
Taylor
C    
   2WSemesa
Rokoduguni
14Nathan
Earle
W    
    FBAnthony
Watson
15Alex
Goode
FB    
Replacements
    RHJack
Walker
16Christopher
Tolofua
RH    
    RPNick
Auterac
17Mako
Vunipola
RP    
    RPScott
Andrews
18Juan
Figallo
RP    
    RKristian
Phillips
19Nick
Isiekwe
RL    
    RLJames
Phillips
19Nick
Isiekwe
RL    
    RLPaul
Grant
20Ben
Earl
R    
    RSHKahn
Fotuali'i
21Ben
Spencer
RSH1   
  2 RFHFreddie
Burns
22Owen
Farrell
RFH   2
    RCBen
Tapuai
23Liam
Williams
RW