Saracens produced an outstanding display in their GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP clash with Bath to run out comfortable winners at Vicarage Road.
Fly-half Glen Jackson was the star of the show for the home side, collecting a personal haul of 23 points through four penalties, four conversions and a drop goal, and directing affairs with a calm authority throughout.
Sarries director of rugby Alan Gaffney opted to leave rugby league convert Andy Farrell out of his match-day squad, and his decision paid dividends as his team produced their best performance of an otherwise frustrating season.
The hosts scored tries through Kameli Ratuvou, Matt Cairns, Kevin Yates, Rodd Penney (two) and their impressive centre Ben Johnston, playing in the position Farrell covets, in front of a crowd of 7,214.
The bonus-point win lifts Sarries up the table and provides their loyal supporters with hope of even better things to come, while Bath, who scored tries through Nick Abendanon and Jonny Fa’amatuainu, have some serious thinking to do.
The game started at a frantic pace with Olly Barkley opening the scoring for Bath with a well-struck penalty after six minutes before Sarries hit back with a try for left winger Ratuvou.
Inside centre Johnston made a sizzling break through the Bath defence and fed Ratuvou with a well-timed pass to go over unopposed. Jackson converted to make it 7-3.
The visitors responded through a sharp break from Michael Stephenson, who fed supporting full-back Abendanon to score.
Barkley added the conversion before the two fly-halves swapped penalties as Bath held on to a three-point lead.
Ratuvou had a try disallowed after referee Sean Davey spotted a forward pass, and Barkley and Jackson kicked another penalty apiece to make the score 16-13 to the visitors after 31 minutes.
Stephenson looked to be away for Bath’s second try but Sarries openside David Seymour showed outstanding pace to haul the winger down and save a certain try.
The home side made Bath pay when Cairns was rewarded for some good support play after Neil de Kock did all the hard work and passed neatly inside for the hooker to score.
Jackson’s conversion made it 20-16 and the Kiwi fly-half added another penalty on the stroke of half-time to extend his side’s lead further.
Jackson kicked a drop goal immediately after the break as Sarries began to play with a confidence that has rarely been seen by them this season.
The Sarries forwards took over in the 48th minute when they rumbled over a maul for former Bath prop Yates to score.
Jackson added the extras to make it 33-16 before Johnston flew in for his side’s fourth try of the day – and a bonus point – moments later.
Jackson’s magnificent streak continued as he knocked over the conversion, his seventh kick of the game, as Sarries made the game safe.
Bath’s misery was compounded when substitute Chris Goodman was sin-binned after 69 minutes.
Jackson inevitably added the extras before replacement Penney scored Sarries’ fifth try after more excellent work from Johnston.
Jackson missed the touchline conversion before being replaced by Ross Laidlaw, his job very much done.
Replacement Fa’amatuainu added a consolation late try for Bath, which Shaun Berne converted, but Sarries had the final say with Penney’s second score, which Laidlaw converted on the final whistle.