Sarries, Saints in league of their own

Sun, 29 Dec 2013 12:06
Large mike ford bath

Bath head coach Mike Ford believes Northampton Saints and Saracens are in a league of their own after watching his side blitzed by the former.

Bath head coach Mike Ford believes Northampton Saints and Saracens are in a league of their own after watching his side blitzed by the former at Franklin's Gardens.

Bath arrived at the Gardens on the back of 11 unbeaten matches in all competitions and with designs on cracking into the top two with a handsome victory over Saints.

Things were going swimmingly when Kyle Eastmond's early try and five points from George Ford put Bath 13-0 to the good after 15 minutes.

But with Paul James in the sin bin, Saints cranked up the pressure and ran in three tries before half-time through Christian Day, George Pisi and Jamie Elliott.

Day helped himself to a second soon after the break with Bath floundering before Rob Webber pulled one back and Samu Manoa and Leroy Houston traded tries.

Houston's 66th-minute effort brought Bath within eight, but Stephen Myler's 75th-minute penalty - his sixth kick out of seven - put daylight between the sides before George North put the icing on the cake with Saints' sixth of the afternoon.

With Saracens also romping to a bonus point victory at Worcester Warriors, they and Saints are well clear at the top of the table and with a trip to Leicester Tigers up next for Bath, Ford admits it'll be tough for anyone to catch them.

"There were bits and pieces where we played well," he said.

"Even with the man in the sin-bin I expected us to defend better, and we didn't.

"They scored three tries more or less on the bounce in that first half. Fair play to them, they are direct and come around the corner, and in George North they have a real asset there.

"Saints and Saracens, they both got bonus-point wins, and they are probably up above anyone else in the league at the moment.

"The last time we lost was October 4, we went to Sale and lost away from home.

"We put a lot of things right that Monday, prepared well and got a result at Bordeaux the next weekend.

"So the challenge for us now is to do the same again, at Welford Road. Hopefully we can learn as a team and go on another run.

"To challenge those sides you have to go on a run, which can be done. It certainly can be done, there's a lot of rugby to be played.

"They're outstanding at the moment but I wouldn't say it's done and dusted yet."

Bath have won plenty of admirers so far this season with some exciting talent out wide and some muscle in the pack but Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder revealed his side used that to their advantage.

He added: "The players did well, we did what we wanted to do. We talked about being aggressive, running at their midfield and looking at the short side.

"They've got some big players, good in the set-piece, but sometimes that creates opportunities. We took advantage of that.

"It was a very good game of rugby. We know Bath are a good side and they had gone 11 games unbeaten.

"They are a quality side and they have improved as a team.

"They've got a big, heavy pack and some very exciting backs but we played well today.

"We were shocked to go 13-0 down but we showed good composure and we played with a lot of accuracy, particularly in attack.

"Our attacking game was good and it caused us to score six tries, which is fantastic."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 52 | 24
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 10 8 0 2 40
Gloucester 10 7 0 3 32
Saracens 10 6 0 4 31
Bath 10 6 0 4 30
Wasps 10 6 0 4 29
Leicester Tigers 10 6 0 4 28
Harlequins 10 5 0 5 24
Newcastle Falcons 10 5 0 5 24
Sale Sharks 10 4 0 6 23
Northampton Saints 10 4 0 6 22
Worcester Warriors 10 2 0 8 14
London Irish 10 1 0 9 8