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Saracens on course for the play-offs

18 Mar 2007
Saracens on course for the play-offs

Kameli Ratuvou led the way with two sparkling tries as Saracens overwhelmed a below-strength Bristol side to force their way into the play-off race at Vicarage Road.

The Fijian wing took his GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP try tally to six in 12 appearances as his side forced their way above Wasps and into fourth place in the table.

Ratuvou also created a score for Thomas Castaignede and veteran prop Kevin Yates added the fourth early in the second half to secure a bonus point with Glen Jackson adding two conversions and four penalties.

Bristol hold on to third place but are running out of steam this season after a string of major injuries and this was their fourth successive defeat following setbacks against Harlequins, Wasps and London Irish over the last month.

While Neil Clark claimed a consolation try 15 minutes from time, they were outgunned in the loose and struggled to generate any momentum away from their favourite set-piece areas.

There were a dozen major absentees from their side at Vicarage Road as they opted to rest experienced forwards Gareth Llewellyn, Mark Regan and David Hilton with one eye on the next two home games against Northampton and Worcester.

Saracens, by contrast, were at full-strength bar the absence of Andy Farrell, with Castaignede fit to make his first start at full-back since New Year’s Day.

The result was predictable and Bristol’s chances of salvaging anything from the game disappeared inside the first 20 minutes as Ratuvou showed just how good a finisher he was with two contrasting tries.

Simon Raiwalui blasted his way close to the line and Kris Chesney provided a neat assist to give Ratuvou the space he needed to get over in the corner after 15 minutes.

Two minutes later the Fijian added a superb individual effort from the half-way line, stepping in off his wing and then outstripping the cover defence on a 50 metre run to the line.

He would have had a third but for Bernardo Stortoni’s saving tackle at the end of the opening corner, but while Bristol dug in they conceded a string of penalties on the floor.

Jackson had converted Ratuvou’s second try and then added penalties in the 27th, 30th and 35th minutes as Saracens opened up an unassailable lead.

They were out of sight by the break after Ratuvou broke again down the left. He chipped over Lee Robinson and even though his chase was blocked Castaignede followed up to score.

Any chance of a way back into the game was ended when Yates strolled over five minutes into the second-half after a series of drives with Jackson converting and adding a fourth penalty at the start of the final quarter.

Bristol finally got on the board 15 minutes from time after a defensive blunder from Saracens, under pressure behind their line when Ratuvou’s kick was blocked and Clark dropped on the ball.

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