Throwback Thursday: Bath Rugby 14 Saracens 11, 2016
Bath Rugby will collide with Saracens in Gallagher Premiership Rugby under the Friday night lights at The Rec in the opening game of Round 16.
The hosts will be hurting following their dramatic 31-29 defeat to Harlequins last weekend after Nathan Earle crossed with the final play of the game to secure victory.
Saracens on the other hand will be looking to usurp Exeter Chiefs at the summit of the table, having beaten Northampton Saints 36-17 last time out at Allianz Park.
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In the reverse fixture earlier this season, a hat-trick from Liam Williams helped the Men in Black to a comfortable victory as they ran in eight tries in a 50-27 triumph.
And ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides in the West Country, we’ve cast our minds back to their clash at the Rec in the 2016/17 campaign when Bath ran out 14-11 winners.
Bath Rugby 14-11 Saracens, The Rec, Dec 2016
The Blue, Black and Whites started the brighter of the two sides and took an early lead when Tom Homer slotted a penalty, following a rampaging run from Taulupe Faletau.
Faletau continued to look like the home side’s biggest threat but despite the Welsh No.8 causing plenty of problems he was unable to breakthrough the Saracens’ defensive line.
Indeed the reigning champions did well to keep the deficit to three before Alex Lozowski levelled up the scores from the tee after Bath were penalised at the lineout.
Bath re-established their lead through Homer’s boot at the end of the first quarter and with momentum on their side, finally struck for the first try on 24 minutes.
Ben Tapuai created the space with a sublime dummy before finding midfield partner Max Clark for his first-ever try in Premiership Rugby.
Homer was unable to convert, leaving the score at 11-3, but the hosts continued to cause problems for Saracens as Aled Brew came close to adding another try before being denied by a knock-on.
But Saracens began to fight their way back into the game towards half-time and only brilliant work from Tom Ellis prevented a certain try for the visitors.
And they finally opened their try-scoring account on the cusp of the interval, with Sean Maitland squeezing home in the corner to make it 11-8 at the break.
Having missed the conversion to level up the scores, Lozowski made amends early in the second half with a sumptuous drop-goal to leave the encounter delicately poised.
A trademark Semesa Rokoduguni break got Bath back on the front foot and after Lozowski was sin-binned for a high tackle on Dan Bowden, Homer converted the resultant penalty.
The three-point lead soon came under threat, however, with Saracens looking to stage another comeback as Alex Goode missed a shot at goal.
Jim Hamilton and then Vincent Kock were also held up just short of the try-line, while much of the final ten minutes was played in Bath’s territory.
A tireless defensive performance from the hosts ensured they maintained their advantage and after Lozowski’s late shot at goal fell short, the home faithful were able to celebrate.