Saracens (13) 23
Tries: Ashton, Vunipola, Farrell
Pens: Farrell 2
Bath (7) 14
Tries: Webber, Agulla
Cons: Heathcote 2
Owen Farrell went over early in the second period to extend the hosts’ advantage, only for Horacio Agulla to reduce the deficit once more.
But Saracens held on to finish top of the Premiership for the first time.
Tom Heathcote missed an early penalty for Bath but it was Sarries who struck first when Schalk Brits’ pass released Ashton out wide, and the England man burst through to touch down. Farrell failed to add the extras.
Vunipola picked up at the base of a maul following a Saracens line-out and dived over in the corner, although Farrell flashed the conversion across the posts to miss again.
Ashton might have had his second try of the match had the video referee not ruled his effort out for a forward pass from Vunipola and, with Farrell seeing yellow for a nasty high tackle on Heathcote to even up the numbers, Bath made Saracens pay for their error.
Rob Webber picked up following a perfectly-executed line-out and forced his way over to score. Where Farrell had failed, Heathcote successfully converted to haul Bath back within touching distance at the break.
Saracens, who were looking to protect the only remaining unbeaten home record in the Premiership, added another score after the interval when Neil de Kock broke and off-loaded to the supporting Farrell, with the centre this time converting.
Argentine winger Agulla put Bath back in contention when he forced his way through a couple of tackles to go over, but Farrell added another penalty to provide daylight and seal the win.
The result means Bath, whose only away win in the Premiership came on the opening day, finish seventh, missing out on a Heineken Cup place to Exeter.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
“It is a big achievement as Saracens have always struggled for consistency. However, it’s now our fourth consecutive semi-final and the first time that we have finished top at the end of a regular season.
“We were a bit mixed and weren’t precise enough. We were very good in the first 20 minutes and had Mako Vunipola’s pass to Chris Ashton not been judged to be forward it would have been a more relaxing afternoon for us.
“We have to give credit to Bath for they made it difficult for us but I am thrilled how well we have come back from last Sunday’s defeat by Toulon.”
Bath director of rugby Gary Gold told BBC Radio Bristol:
“At the end of the day it’s all about results and where you end up in the table.
“I don’t think the table reflects many areas where we have grown, including being up with the best offensive teams.
“Our attack took a massive turn post-Christmas and were up there with try-scoring teams. Not a lot of people go toe-to-toe with Saracens and try to score considering they have the best defensive record.
“There are a lot of good areas but a lot of areas that are concerning, areas we are going to have to work on if we want to compete with the likes of Saracens home and away.”
Saracens: Wyles; Ashton, Tomkins, Farrell, Strettle; Hodgson, de Kock; Vunipola, Brits, Stevens; Borthwick (capt), Hargreaves; Brown, Saull, Wray.
Replacements: Maddock for Ashton (71), Taylor for Hodgson (55), Wigglesworth for de Kock (52), Gill for Vunipola (61), Smit for Brits (55), Nieto for Stevens (61), Botha for Borthwick (52), Kruis for Hargreaves (71).
Bath: Devoto; Agulla, Williams, Eastmond, Rokoduguni; Donald, Claassens; James, Webber, Wilson; Day, Attwood; Louw (capt), Mercer, Taylor.
Replacements: Biggs for Eastmond (41), Stringer for Claassens (68), Catt for James (63), Batty for Webber (46), Perenise for Wilson (61), Spencer for Day (49), Gilbert for Mercer (58), Kosta for Taylor (73).
Referee: Martain Fox (RFU)
May 5, Brumbies 23 – 30 Crusaders
May 4, Argentina 83 – 0 Brazil
May 4, Biarritz 52 – 17 Stade Français
May 4, Bulls 48 – 14 Hurricanes
May 4, Clermont Auvergne 67 – 3 Bordeaux Begles
May 4, Exeter Chiefs 40 – 39 Gloucester Rugby
May 4, Force 11 – 11 Reds
May 4, Harlequins 22 – 19 Northampton Saints
May 4, Highlanders 25 – 22 Sharks
May 4, Leicester Tigers 32 – 20 London Irish
May 4, London Welsh 33 – 22 Worcester Warriors
May 4, Mont-de-Marsan 33 – 36 Bayonne
May 4, Montpellier 50 – 22 Perpignan
May 4, Racing Metro 29 – 28 Castres
May 4, Sale Sharks 21 – 20 London Wasps
May 4, Saracens 23 – 14 Bath Rugby
May 4, Southern Kings 10 – 72 Waratahs
May 4, Toulon 43 – 21 Agen
May 4, Toulouse 57 – 7 Grenoble
Top 14 Orange Toulon 43 – 21 Agen
Top 14 Orange Racing Metro 29 – 28 Castres
Top 14 Orange Montpellier 50 – 22 Perpignan
Top 14 Orange Mont-de-Marsan 33 – 36 Bayonne
Top 14 Orange Clermont Auvergne 67 – 3 Bordeaux Begles
Top 14 Orange Biarritz 52 – 17 Stade Français
Asian 5 Nations – Top 5 Philippines 20 – 59 Hong Kong
Super Rugby Force 11 – 11 Reds
Super Rugby Highlanders 25 – 22 Sharks
Asian 5 Nations – Top 5 Japan 64 – 5 Korea
NACRA Rugby TBC v Cayman Islands
Rugby Roundup: Aviva Premiership – Saracens 23-14 Bath is a post from: PhatzRadio.com