Gloucester beat Bath as 10-try Saracens return to winning ways

Johan Ackermann head coach of Gloucester looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Sale Sharks and Gloucester Rugby at AJ Bell Stadium on May 18, 2019 in Salford, United Kingdom.
Johan Ackermann head coach of Gloucester looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Sale Sharks and Gloucester Rugby at AJ Bell Stadium on May 18, 2019 in Salford, United Kingdom.
Image: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Gloucester climbed to third in the English Premiership after claiming a bonus-point 29-15 victory over local rivals Bath on Saturday as Saracens smashed Worcester 62-5.

Bath's recent Premiership resurgence came to a grinding halt as they were outscored 4-0 on tries.

Full-back Jason Woodward, flanker Freddie Clarke, number eight Ruan Ackermann and replacement lock Gerbrandt Grobler all scored, with Billy Twelvetrees kicking two conversions and Danny Cipriani one, while Twelvetrees added a late penalty.

Bath relied on five Rhys Priestland penalties for all their points but they lost a three-point advantage when Gloucester hit them with two converted touchdowns in rapid succession midway through the second-half.

Gloucester leapfrogged Sale, who beat Harlequins 48-10 on Friday, into third place.

Gloucester boss Johan Ackermann's stern words at half-time had the desired effect, when his side were trailing 9-7.

"We didn't play like we trained, and I challenged them to take the responsibility and play like a team that can play," he said. "We owed it to the supporters. The players took on the challenge and that's the character of the group."

Saracens bounced back from their defeat at Exeter last week to claim a precious bonus-point victory in their pursuit of Premiership survival after dismantling Worcester.

Rooted to the foot of the table after being docked 35 points for breaching salary cap regulations, the champions ran in 10 tries against outclassed opponents at Allianz Park.

Rotimi Segun crossed in each half while Ben Earl, Brad Barritt, Mako Vunipola, Richard Barrington, Maro Itoje, Duncan Taylor, Jackson Wray and Elliot Daly also touched down.

Vunipola's try on the half-hour mark secured the bonus point but he suffered a shoulder injury when illegally cleared out at a ruck and was substituted at half-time.

The resounding victory restored Saracens to winning ways after they lost to arch-rivals Exeter last Sunday and has come in the week that owner Nigel Wray stepped down as chairman following the salary cap scandal.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "We talked about playing with some real intensity and high work-rate and I think that's what happened really, so an enjoyable performance.

"It's really important as we go through these months ahead that we enjoy our rugby and I thought there was a real joy in the players, especially in the first half."

The match, which spanned 126 minutes, was overshadowed by a suspected neck injury to Worcester's replacement lock Michael Fatialofa.

Play was halted for 15 minutes as Fatialofa, who had only just replaced Graham Kitchener, received medical attention before he was carried from the pitch on a stretcher with his neck in a brace.

He was taken to a hospital in central London.

Victory leaves McCall's reigning champions on -7 points, still 18 points from safety following second-bottom Leicester's 31-18 win over Bristol earlier on Saturday.

- AFP

 

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