MX23RW : Sunday, October 21 04:28:25

Williams hat-trick helps Saracens brush aside under-strength Bath

The champions ran in eight tries at Allianz Park.

Bath were punished for fielding a weakened team against Saracens as Liam Williams ran in a hat-trick of tries to help the Gallagher Premiership champions claim a 50-27 victory at Allianz Park.

Director of rugby Todd Blackadder made 13 changes to the side that toppled Northampton, including Toby Faletau, Luke Charteris, Sam Underhill and Joe Cokanasiga among the group of front-line players rested.

Blackadder’s decision was shaped by Exeter’s visit to the Recreation Ground on Friday, but the price was paid in north London where Saracens had the bonus point sewn up before half-time and amassed eight tries in total.

To Bath’s credit they trailed only 26-20 at the interval and were persistent throughout, but they were outclassed and would have finished further behind had Alex Goode and Williams not blundered in the final act of scoring.

Goode could be forgiven his mistake, however, as his lines of running, step and vision made him untouchable at times and the full-back repeatedly overlooked by England head coach Eddie Jones finished as man of the match.

Saracens have secured maximum points from their opening five matches and celebrated another record when Owen Farrell eclipsed Glen Jackson’s mark of 1192 to become the club’s highest points scorer.

Owen Farrell
Owen Farrell became Saracens’ record pointscorer (Paul Harding/PA)

For all their changes in personnel, Bath made a fine start with Rhys Priestland landing a penalty before Max Wright burst through midfield, but the centre made the error of not passing to Francois Louw, who was clean through.

Two quickfire tries scored direct from set-piece gave Saracens a comfortable lead, the first the result of a perfectly-executed backs move involving Sean Maitland coming off his wing before Williams touched down after feinting to fool the defence.

Saracens v Bath Rugby – Gallagher Premiership – Allianz Park
Liam Williams goes in for the opening try (Paul Harding/PA)

A line-out then provided the platform for the second try as Billy Vunipola sucked in multiple defenders with a forceful carry and when the ball was recycled Alex Lozowski found Goode whose intelligent line swept him over the whitewash.

Even the loss of captain Brad Barritt to what appeared to be a cheekbone injury incurred while tackling Max Clark failed to knock Saracens off their stride as Jamie George drove over from a line-out.

Goode was running amok but he knocked on over the line and shortly after Bath had crossed when Chris Cook intercepted Richard Wigglesworth’s pass at a line-out and raced home.

Nick Tompkins
Nick Tompkins scores the fourth try (Paul Harding/PA)

The Saracens onslaught resumed as Nick Tompkins side-stepped his way over after a series of direct runs from his forwards, but Bath’s quick wits were keeping them in the hunt.

When Jackson Wray coughed the ball up, they pounced immediately with full-back Darren Atkins racing into space before sending Tom Homer over for a try that reduced the half-time score to 26-20.

The frantic pace of scoring continued when tighthead Titi Lamositele broke free before providing Williams a simple stroll home for his second and the Welshman’s hat-trick arrived soon after, Goode the architect once again.

Liam Williams
Liam Williams completes his hat-trick (Paul Harding/PA)

He then blundered by dropping the ball over the line and it was Bath who crossed next, Homer picking off Farrell’s pass and running the length of the field and defying the chasing cover defenders.

Maitland continued the rout as Saracens exploited the numbers they had out wide on the left and Bath’s pain finally ended when the champions opted for route one as replacement hooker Christopher Tolofua barrelled over.

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