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Aviva Premiership Rugby Final: Bath Rugby 16 Saracens 28

30 May 2015
Aviva Premiership Rugby Final: Bath Rugby 16 Saracens 28

Owen Farrell helped himself to a personal tally of 18 points as Saracens got their hands back on the Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy, becoming the first side to finish outside the top two in the regular season and go on to be crowned champions.

Saracens got off to a flying start as fly-half Farrell touched down after only six minutes and England teammate Jamie George followed him over the whitewash shortly after.

And Chris Wyles added a third try as Saracens went into the break 25-3 ahead, Bath Rugby having just a solitary George Ford penalty to shout about.

But Bath, appearing in their first Aviva Premiership Rugby Final since 2004, came out stronger after the break and Jonathan Joseph’s try and the boot of Ford got them back into the contest as they trailed 16-25 with a quarter of the game to go.

However, man-of-the-match Farrell stretched Saracens lead with a penalty and from then on Mark McCall’s men never looked like relinquishing their lead as they got their hands back on the trophy for the first time since 2011.

Bath enjoyed early territory but Saracens were soon in the ascendency and after David Strettle threatened to go over in the right corner, the ball was moved wide left and some great handling from Farrell and Duncan Taylor saw the former over in the sixth minute, the fly-half dusting himself off to make the conversion by the touchline.

Saracens threatened again five minutes later as Farrell kicked into the right corner, but Strettle couldn’t hold on as Bath’s semi-final hat-trick hero Matt Banahan kept a close eye on him and the Sarries winger knocked on.

But Saracens didn’t have to wait long for their second try as Ross Batty fumbled a Kyle Eastmond pass and George celebrated his call up to England’s World Cup training squad by racing away for a try, Farrell narrowly wide with the conversion.

Things went from bad to worse for Bath too as just before a quarter of the game was up Anthony Watson was replaced permanently by Ollie Devoto, the full-back having been clattered early on by Farrell with this his 50th appearance for the club.

Bath were then pinged at a scrum and Farrell made amends for his early conversion miss to put Saracens 15-0 up with a quarter of the game gone.

This seemed to wake Bath up and Semesa Rokoduguni looked to race onto his own chip down the right touchline only to be stopped illegally by Alex Goode, Ford stepping up to send a penalty through the posts to get his side up and running after 26 minutes.

However, Saracens were soon back on the front foot and it took a last-ditch tackle from Joseph to prevent Strettle from touching down after the Sarries winger had shown superb footwork to control a pass.

But the ball was moved from right to left and after Mako Vunipola recovered from a fumble, George put Wyles in on the left, the American going over for Saracens’ third try just after half an hour,

Farrell added the extras and the fly-half booted Saracens further ahead with a penalty after David Wilson was pinged for an early tackle on Maro Itoje as the 2011 champions headed into half-time 25-3 ahead.

Bath were first on the scoreboard after the interval as Ford sent over his second three-pointer of the match, and the vocal West Country support had more to shout about soon after as Rob Webber and Nick Auterac were introduced off the bench and immediately helped their side win a scrum against the head.

Mike Ford’s men were well and truly on the front foot and their early second-half dominance paid off when Joseph saw a gap and touched down for Bath’s first try of the game after 52 minutes, Ford with the conversion.

With 20 minutes remaining Ford sent the ball through the uprights again with another penalty, only for opposite number Farrell to stem the Bath flow with a three-pointer of his own at the other end.

Bath threatened again when Neil De Kock’s kick was charged down, but as they pressed for the line Matt Garvey knocked on and Saracens could breathe again.

And that was as close Bath came to a comeback as Saracens professionally saw the game out, a late Charlie Hodgson drop goal miss doing little to dampen spirits as they enacted revenge for last year’s heartache.

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