Saracens thrash Bath to confirm play-off place
|Saracens (15) 41|
|Tries: Brits, Williams, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Burger, Spencer Cons: Farrell 4 Pen: Farrell|
|Bath (6) 6|
|Pens: Priestland 2|
Saracens confirmed their place in the Premiership play-offs with a resounding bonus-point victory over Bath.
Sarries were 14-0 up inside 21 minutes at Allianz Park, with Schalk Brits and Liam Williams both touching down.
Two Rhys Priestland penalties kept the visitors in touch, but England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth crossed to make it 22-6 early in the second half.
Owen Farrell’s interception try sealed the bonus point before Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer completed the scoring.
The result capped a memorable afternoon for former United States wing Chris Wyles, who led Saracens out on his 250th appearance for the club.
Sarries are now eight points ahead of fourth-placed Newcastle Falcons and 10 points beyond Leicester Tigers in fifth – but their place in the top four is already assured because the pair are still to play each other next Friday.
Mark McCall’s side will be competing in the play-offs for the ninth successive season, having gone on to win the title at Twickenham on three previous occasions.
They require one more victory from their remaining two fixtures to secure a home semi-final, with league leaders Exeter Chiefs already certain of a last-four tie at Sandy Park after beating London Irish on Sunday.
Not only is a play-off spot now beyond Bath, but their hopes of qualifying for the European Champions Cup are also all but over – they are 10 points behind sixth-placed Gloucester with two to play.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall told BBC Radio 5 Live:
“It was important today that we backed up last week’s performance with another half-decent performance, which we did.
“I think this year, more than some of the last couple of years, we haven’t always had that consistency of performance from week to week – we’ve had some really high level performances but not always backed it up.
On Billy Vunipola’s recovery from a broken arm: “He’s got every chance of being back for the London Irish game and if not definitely the Gloucester game, and hopefully he can get a couple games behind him before the play-offs come.”
Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder told BBC Radio 5 Live:
“At times you don’t know what to say – I thought our scrum attack was brilliant and in the first half a lot of our attacking structure, that we put so much work into, created a couple of tries but we didn’t take them.
“On the frustrating side we throw three intercept balls and Saracens capitalise and put us to the sword.
“I know I’ve got a better side than the one, at times, we see out on the field.
“We know that things aren’t going great and we’ve got players that are just trying to hard and going off script which is probably hurting us even more.”
Saracens: Williams; Maitland, Lozowski, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Farrell, Wigglesworth; Vunipola, Brits, Figallo, Day, Kruis, Isiekwe, Burger, Wray.
Replacements: George, Barrington, Longbottom, Rhodes, Earl, Spencer, Taylor, Goode.
Bath: Wilson; Banahan, Joseph, Tapuai, Brew; Priestland, Fotuali’i; Obano, Dunn, Knight, Ewels (capt), Stooke, Ellis, Louw, Faletau.
Replacements: Walker, Noguera, Delmas, Phillips, Grant, Green, Burns, Homer.
Referee: Karl Dickson.