Saracens underline pedigree by crushing Bath

Saracens David StrettleSaracens David Strettle
Saracens David Strettle
Saracens issued a statement of intent in their challenge for the title after easing to a 31-17 victory over Bath to maintain their perfect start to the season.

By the end of the first quarter the hosts led 17-3 and when the interval arrived they had powered 31-3 ahead to all but guarantee their third successive five-point haul in three matches.

David Strettle crossed twice and there were also tries for Alex Goode – making his comeback from shoulder surgery – and Matt Stevens, with Owen Farrell kicking all four conversions and a penalty, as Bath’s triumphant opening to the Premiership was blown apart.

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Chris Ashton failed to breach the whitewash but was influential with his running off the ball and work in support helping unlock Bath’s traumatised defence.

Leicester made it an uncomfortable return to Welford Road for their former player and boss Dean Richards with a bonus point 31-6 victory over Newcastle.

It was Richards’s first visit to Leicester for five years following the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal which earned him a three-year ban, and his first as Newcastle’s director of rugby.

But champions Leicester were much too strong and won comfortably with tries from Jordan Crane, Graham Kitchener, Blaine Scully, Dan Bowden and Thomas Waldrom. Former Newcastle fly-half Toby Flood kicked two conversions, his replacement Owen Williams one, while in reply Falcons fly-half Rory Clegg slotted a penalty and a drop-goal.

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England centre Billy Twelvetrees kicked a controversial late penalty to give Gloucester their first victory of the season and leave Northampton crestfallen.

Saints looked to have done enough to move top of the league when wing Jamie Elliott struck a minute from time following stunning approach work by Wales wing George North, with fly-half Stephen Myler’s conversion edging them ahead.

But Northampton were mysteriously penalised at a scrum deep into stoppage time, and Twelvetrees struck from 35 metres for a 26-24 verdict. Twelvetrees and his fellow England back Charlie Sharples both scored tries for the home side, while Gloucester academy player Elliott Stooke also crossed.

Exeter scored both of their tries in the final 20 minutes as they stormed home to victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

The visitors rattled up 15 unanswered points in the final quarter, including tries to Dean Mumm and Ben White, to secure a 29-23 success.