Williams hat-trick helps Sarries overcome Bath
PUBLISHED: 16:50 29 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:50 29 September 2018
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Gallagher Premiership: Saracens 50 Bath 27
A second hat-trick of the season from Liam Williams saw Saracens eventually ease to a comfortable 50-27 success at home to Bath.
The north Londoners wrapped up the bonus point with four tries in the first half, but they may have glossed over a fairly sloppy display early on.
Sarries stepped up a gear in the second half, pulling away from the visitors to tee up a rather large triumph.
Mark McCall made five changes to his starting XV following last weekend’s win at home to Gloucester, including naming an entirely new back row.
Nick Isiekwe, Jackson Wray and Billy Vunipola formed the new back row, while Alex Goode and Alex Lozowski were both also recalled to the starting line-up.
Just three minutes into the match, Saracens found themselves behind when after Jamie George was ruled to have not rolled away from a ruck, Rhys Priestland successfully kicked a penalty for the visitors.
The north Londoners took the lead nine minutes later, though, when a lovely, flowing move through the backs ended with Liam Williams crossing in the corner.
From a tight angle, Owen Farrell was unable to add the extras as the hosts held a 5-3 advantage.
Sarries had their second try of the match in the 15th minute when Goode broke through the away defence inside the 22, before making a beeline for the whitewash.
Farrell was this time able to add the extras, which saw him become the club’s all-time leading scorer in the Gallagher Premiership.
The Allianz Park outfit suffered a blow in the 23rd minute when skipper Brad Barritt was forced off through injury and replaced by Nick Tompkins.
With 13 minutes remaining in the half, Saracens conceded a penalty from a scrum just inside their half, which Priestland converted to make it 12-6.
McCall’s men, however, had a swift response by nabbing their third try of the afternoon in the 30th minute.
A great maul from a lineout saw the pack cross in the corner with George dotting down and Farrell providing a fine kick to convert.
The north Londoners thought they had the bonus point secured three minutes later when Goode kicked through and won the chase to the ball.
The fullback fluffed his lines, though, and knocked on when attempting to collect the ball.
Bath grabbed their first try of the afternoon in the 34th minute when Chris Cook intercepted a Richard Wigglesworth pass from a lineout, before racing in from 60 metres to score, with Priestland converting to make it 19-13.
Like they had every time the West Country club had scored, Sarries were again able to find a swift response.
Tompkins showed good footwork to weave through the away defence after collecting the ball inside the 22 before crossing, with Farrell converting.
With the final play of the half, Bath had their second try of the afternoon when Tom Homer went over in the corner.
Priestland continued his fine form with the boot with a brilliant kick out wide to cut Saracens’ lead to 26-20 heading into the interval.
McCall’s men added to their lead just two minutes into the second half when Titi Lamositele broke through a Homer tackle, before passing for Williams to run in his second try of the match which Farrell converted.
The Welsh wing wizard then completed his second hat-trick of the season in the 53rd minute.
Goode brilliantly made his way down the right wing, before popping the ball back inside almost on the line for Williams to score his third of the afternoon.
Farrell hit the post with the extras, with the home team now holding a 38-20 advantage.
Williams could have had a fourth try in the 60th minute, but much Goode on the first half, the British & Irish Lions tourist fumbled when in to score.
Two minutes later, Bath had their third try of the afternoon, again stemming from another interception.
The north Londoners were looking for a way through the away defence, but a pass from Farrell instead found Homer, who ran the length of the field, before replacement Freddie Burns converted from out wide.
With 13 minutes remaining, Sean Maitland ensured each of the home back three had crossed for a try when rounding out another flowing move through the backs, but Farrell was unable to add the conversion with the score 43-27.
There was still time for Sarries to bring up their half-century, with replacement Chris Tolofua peeling off the back of a maul to score a try converted by Farrell.
Saracens will look to make it six wins from six next Saturday when they visit London rivals Harlequins.
Saracens: Goode; Williams, Lozowski, Barritt (Tompkins 23), Maitland (Lewington 69); Farrell, Wigglesworth (Spencer 53); M Vunipola (Barrington 58), George (Tolofua 58), Lamositele (Judge 66); Itoje (Skelton 54), Kruis; Isiekwe, Wray, B Vunipola (Burger 58).
Bath: Atkins; Rokoduguni, Clark, Wright, Homer; Priestland (Burns 59), Cook (Green 59); Van Rooyen (Van Vuuren 58), Walker (Noguera 58), Perenise (Delmas 64); Ewels, Stooke (Douglas 58); Bayliss, Louw, Grant (Reid 64).
Referee: Tom Foley.