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Match Reaction: Saracens 53 Bath Rugby 10

Brad Barritt believes Saracens’ desire not to take their foot off the pedal proved the decisive factor as an eight-try showing saw them ease past Bath Rugby.

Jamie George scored early on, while Alex Goode and Sean Maitland also scored before half-time as the hosts led 17-10 in an entertaining Aviva Premiership Rugby match at Allianz Park.

Even after Schalk Brits secured the bonus point, Mark McCall’s side showed no signs of letting up as Barritt himself got on the scoresheet, while Chris Ashton’s double added plenty of gloss even before Billy Vunipola became the seventh different scorer.

That left captain Barritt with plenty to smile about come the final whistle, moving one point away from second-placed Exeter Chiefs in their bid for the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals.

“It was tighter than the scoreline suggested, that first half was really tough and it went back and forth, they really put us under pressure in the 22,” he said.

“We’re really pleased with how the team kicked on, we got the momentum late on into the second half.

“Allianz Park is always going to be tricky in these conditions, but we know we’ve got fantastic half-backs to put us in the position. We know we have to adapt our game slightly differently and I was really pleased with how we did that.

“We did well to keep pressure in pressure, often in games you let a team off the hook when you go two scores clear, but the best thing about us was the relentlessness we showed.

“We go back to hard work next week now. Credit to this week, it prepared us for Bath but it starts again on Monday.”

Blustery conditions made it a tough afternoon for kickers Owen Farrell and George Ford, with the two England counterparts battling it out as Bath looked to regain their place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby top four.

That looked an uphill task after George bundled over from a driving maul, while good work from Richard Wigglesworth allowed Goode in for the second.

But a nimble foot from Anthony Watson saw the fullback cross for his side’s only try of the game in the first half, looking far from out of the game at 17-10 despite Maitland’s clever chip try.

But Todd Blackadder’s charges were the second-best team after the restart, with the director of rugby disappointed his best laid plans went awry in such disappointing fashion.

“They put us under pressure even at the start, right from conceding three penalties and in the second half we kept making errors,” he said.

“But we’ve got to give them credit, they put us under that and made us pay for it so it’s well done to Saracens.

“We know that we’re a good side and that we didn’t play as well as we could. For the first 40 minutes we did, but there’s no point in moping and we can’t look for excuses, we’ve got to find a way to show some more fight.

“The disappointing thing was that we had a really good plan and didn’t execute it to put them under pressure. We have to answer those questions and get back to playing some good rugby.”

Saracens: Goode, Ashton, Bosch (D Taylor 56), Barritt (Lozowski 65), Maitland, Farrell, Wigglesworth (H Taylor 68), M Vunipola (Lamositele 66), George (Brits 56), Figallo (Koch 61), Itoje, Hamilton (Conlon 65), Rhodes, Wray (Brown 72), B Vunipola 

Bath Rugby: Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Tapuai, Banahan, Ford (Hastings 77), Fotuali’i (Cook 72), Catt (Obano 72), Batty (Brooker 68), Lahiff (Palma-Newport 63) Ewels, Charteris (Stooke 63), Ellis, Louw (Grant 65), Faletau

Saracens 53
Tries: George, Goode, Maitland, Brits, Barritt, Ashton 2, B Vunipola
Conversions: Farrell 5
Pens: Farrell

Bath Rugby 10
Tries: Watson
Conversions: Ford
Penalties: Ford

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Attendance: 10,000

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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