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- Aviva Premiership
- 28th Feb 2014
- KO 19:45
- Ground: The Recreation Ground
- Att: 12,100
Aviva Premiership: Saracens moved top with a heavy defeat of Bath
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Saracens all but ended Bath's ambitions of a top-two finish in the Aviva Premiership with a ruthless examination of the third-placed side's credentials.
Sarries were the last side to win a league match at the Recreation Ground - a similarly conclusive 22-0 victory in December 2012 - and the visitors seldom looked under pressure here in winning 23-10.
Flanker Jacques Burger was at his destructive best in the loose, until he was sin-binned for one illegal tackle too many, while Alex Goode stepped up at short notice to control the game at fly-half.
Goode landed two penalties, two conversions and a drop-goal in a near faultless performance after Charlie Hodgson pulled out during the warm-up, feeling unwell.
Bath had won 12 home matches and were unbeaten home or away in all competitions since the New Year - but starved of any useful possession for long periods, there was precious little time or space for their backs to shine.
After a frenetic opening, with both sides spreading the ball wide, Saracens conceded two penalties in quick succession but escaped punishment.
George Ford kicked a 19th minute goal from short range but the lead was short-lived as Bath conceded a line-out from the restart and when Paul James was penalised at the maul, Goode landed an equalising penalty.
Back came Bath and Peter Stringer thought he had scored from a quickly taken line-out by Matt Banahan but the TMO ruled the throw had been forward.
Saracens grabbed the first try on 31 minutes as Goode created an opening for Tomkins and Duncan Taylor to set Chris Wyles free on the left for a try which Goode converted.
Bath's poise again deserted them when they lost possession in the Saracens 22. Taylor hacked on, Ollie Devoto fumbled and Brad Barritt kicked across field for David Strettle to mark his 100th appearance with a simple try. Goode's conversion sent his side in at the break with a 17-3 lead.
Bath brought on a specialist openside in Guy Mercer for Alafoti Fa'osiliva in an effort to even up the breakdown contest but then lost Stringer to an illegal tackle on Burger.
Banahan was forced into touch at the corner but Bath lacked a cutting edge against the uncompromising Saracens defence and Goode stretched the lead to 20-3 with a drop-goal on 56 minutes.
After Burger was shown the yellow card in the 66th minute for a high tackle on Anthony Watson, Bath battled their way over the line but without convincing the officials Leroy Houston had managed to touch down.
Eventually however their scrum earned a 72nd minute penalty try and Ford chipped over the conversion.
Instead of then going back upfield in search of at least a losing bonus point, Bath conceded another penalty to Goode.
With two minutes remaining Wyles became the second Saracens player to see a yellow card for an illegal tackle when he barged replacement wing Semesa Rokoduguni into touch - but by then the match had been decided.
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|Sunday 23rd November|
|13:00||Saracens vs Northampton|
|15:15||London Welsh vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 28th November|
|19:45||Bath vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 29th November|
|15:00||Leicester vs Wasps|
|16:30||Exeter vs Saracens|
|Sunday 30th November|
|13:00||London Irish vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Northampton|
|15:15||Newcastle vs Sale|
|Saturday 20th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Bath|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Bath vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Wasps|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|15:00||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|15:00||Leicester vs Bath|
|15:00||Northampton vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
|Sunday 12th October|
|Wasps 29 - 22 Bath|
|Saturday 11th October|
|Northampton 43 - 10 Sale Sharks|
|Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester|
|Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish|
|London Welsh 3 - 23 Newcastle|
|Friday 10th October|
|Leicester 22 - 16 Harlequins|
|Sunday 5th October|
|Newcastle 29 - 24 Exeter|
|Sale 25 - 14 Wasps|
|Saturday 4th October|
|Gloucester 33 - 16 Leicester|
|Harlequins 52 - 0 London Welsh|
|London Irish 12 - 19 Northampton|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com