Jackson puts boot into Bristol
Bristol remain rooted to the bottom of the Guinness Premiership after going down 23-16 at home to Saracens.
Last Updated: 02/10/08 5:11pm
Bristol remain rooted to the bottom of the Guinness Premiership after going down 23-16 at home to Saracens on Wednesday evening.
Glen Jackson slotted fived penalties and a drop goal to help the visitors pile more misery on Bristol, who have not won in the league since March.
Fly-half Jackson missed just one kick all night - the conversion of winger Kameli Ratuvou's first-half try - a performance that contrasted with Bristol's shambolic efforts with the boot.
Jackson's opposite number Adrian Jarvis missed three penalties in a row - and when he was eventually taken off 16 minutes from time, his replacement Ed Barnes slotted two successful kicks after an initial failure.
Although Bristol did manage a 24th-minute try from winger David Lemi, their performance lacked pace, penetration and fluency.
Jarvis returned for Bristol after missing the 17-3 defeat at Newcastle last Friday, while Saracens were without their ex-All Blacks lock Chris Jack because of a shoulder injury.
Jack was replaced in the back row by Ben Skirving as Saracens targeted a third successive Premiership victory, after posting 70 points and seven tries in wins against Newcastle and Northampton.
Wing Tom Arscott looked threatening as Bristol enjoyed some early territory and possession, but they failed to turn their dominance into points.
Saracens were content to absorb the anticipated opening-quarter onslaught - and they duly ended it in front by posting a superbly-crafted try.
Number eight Michael Owen ensured quick ball to Jackson, who linked neatly with centre Adam Powell and sent Ratuvou powering over.
Jackson failed to convert. But the score threw down a challenge to Bristol, whose response belied a team struggling for form and points.
And a period of sustained pressure inside Saracens' 22 saw a patient home side reap its reward when Lemi pounced.
Jarvis added the extras, and then slotted a 28th-minute penalty that opened up a 10-5 lead - before Saracens stole a narrow interval advantage through two Jackson penalties.
But Saracens should have been more than 11-10 in front, and had only themselves to blame when lock Hugh Vyvyan spilled possession with the try-line at his mercy following a 40-metre break by Ratuvou.
Saracens boss Eddie Jones was forced into a half-time switch, sending on Moses Rauluni for full-back Richard Haughton - and Jackson quickly completed his penalty hat-trick.
Jarvis missed two straightforward penalties either side of the break, and when he then drifted a 52nd-minute shot wide as well, his confidence had evaporated.
Jackson continued to show Jarvis exactly how it should be done, slotting his fourth penalty after 54 minutes to extend his side's advantage to 20-10.
Barnes narrowed the gap to seven points with a penalty from in front of the posts when Skirving was sin-binned, but Saracens knew all they had to do was play the territory game - even with one player short.
Jackson's 74th-minute drop goal restored a 10-point margin before Barnes' second penalty at least gave Bristol a bonus point.
Bristol have now lost 10 Premiership matches on the bounce, and the last time they started a campaign with five defeats - in 2002-03 - relegation was the end product.