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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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|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|13:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com