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Saracens 34 Bath Rugby 24

15 Feb 2015
Saracens 34 Bath Rugby 24

Semesa Rokoduguni’s try double was not enough to inspire a late Bath Rugby fightback as Saracens clinched victory at Allianz Park to close the gap to the Aviva Premiership Rugby top two.

Bath – missing Jonathan Joseph after his heroics at Twickenham on Saturday – found themselves behind to Chris Wyles and Jamie George tries before Semesa Rokoduguni hit back.

Chris Ashton soon extended Saracens’ lead but Olly Woodburn and Rokoduguni’s second ensured Bath, who beat Sarries at the Rec in October, would not go down without a fight.

However, Goode’s boot ensured they took no points from North London and moved the hosts to within four points of Bath in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Charlie Hodgson sent an early drop-goal attempt wide of the target and they almost had a try two minutes later.

After spreading the ball to the right wing, Ashton’s chip-kick bounced awkwardly and struck the knee of the onrushing Alex Goode, bouncing beyond the dead ball line.

A superb break from inside his own half took Ollie Devoto up to the Sarries 22 after ten minutes but the hosts turned the ball over and Ashton ran it away to safety.

Tom Homer broke the deadlock with his first Bath points, sending a penalty straight between the uprights after Saracens were off their feet.

Hodgson did soon draw them level from the tee, Bath flanker Francois Louw penalised for hands in the ruck within kicking range, and Wyles then gave them the lead.

A well-timed offload from Hodgson found Alistair Hargreaves and when the ball was recycled it found its way to the winger, who crossed over by the left touchline – though Hodgson’s conversion went wide.

Goode was next to pick up three points, slotting a 40-metre penalty to extend Saracens’ lead to eight, and they almost had more four minutes before the break.

Wyles showed great determination to beat Rokoduguni to a loose ball and after kicking towards the line and getting beyond Homer, the Bath full-back was adjudged to have fairly out-muscled him and prevented the try.

The hosts emerged from the break re-invigorated and after Goode calmly slotted his second penalty of the afternoon, George scored his side’s second try.

Jackson Wray powered through a pair of tackles and when the ball was sent left, Ashton fed the hooker to bundle his way over – Goode converted.

But it took Bath no time at all to hit back, Devoto picking a superb line before offloading to Rokoduguni to coast over and Homer to convert – the full back’s reaching 600 Aviva Premiership Rugby points.

Ashton got the try his performance deserved after 50 minutes and it was easy on the eye, Goode collecting Hodgson’s perfectly-weighted pass, sending an accurate grubber through for the England winger to chase and then converting.

A scrum penalty on the hour earned Goode another three points but Bath enjoyed the better of the next ten minutes and eventually got their just rewards.

Woodburn collected a Kyle Eastmond pass and – despite the TMO being asked to check if Sam Burgess had blocked off a defender – crossed over for a try, converted by Homer.

Just two minutes later Eastmond made a lightning quick break at the halfway line and fed Rokoduguni out wide – he stepped inside to score and Homer nailed the tricky conversion to reduce the gap to seven.

Goode eased the nerves with another penalty and, in the process, denied Bath their losing bonus point.

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