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Live Reporting

Nathan Middleton and Brendon Mitchell

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's all, folks

    And that concludes our coverage of Saturday's Premiership action.

    You can join us for the third and final part of our live text-and-radio treble header tomorrow, when we'll be bringing you coverage of London Irish against Leicester Tigers from 15:15 BST.

    We'll see you then!

  2. FT: Saracens 41-3 Sale

    Saracens sending out a message to the rest of the Premiership that they will take some beating this season.

    Michael Rhodes, Tom Streather, Will Fraser and two from winger Mike Ellery did the damage today, as well as a floor less kicking display from Charlie Hodgson.

    Sale showed glimpses in patches when they had the ball, but there is much work to do for Steve Diamond's coaching team on that showing.

  3. FT: Bath 19-17 Exeter

    So George Ford returned from World Cup duty to kick 14 points and inspire Bath to an opening-weekend victory.

    Exeter Chiefs huffed and puffed and three times crossed the whitewash in that second period only to be held up.

    Great entertainment at The Rec from two teams you'd expect to be challenging for the play-off spots at the season's end.

    George Ford
  4. FT: Bath 19-17 Exeter

  5. Full-time

    Saracens 41-3 Sale

    So five tries in all for reigning champions Saracens who comfortably beat Sale, who only had a Danny Cipriani penalty to show for their efforts.

    Sarries dominated at the scrum and line-out and surely can only improve with more internationals to come back into the squad.

    The Sharks face newly-promoted Worcester at the AJ Bell Stadium next Friday and will be hoping for an immediate reaction.

  6. Disallowed try

    Saracens 41-3 Sale

    Perhaps summing up Sale's afternoon, winger Tom Arscott knocks the ball on over the try line completely unopposed.

    The referee just check with the TMO that he did.

  7. Saracens 41-3 Sale

    Sale enjoying some possession in the closing stages.

    A converted score would get them into double figures on what has been a difficult afternoon.

  8. Full-time

    Bath 19-17 Exeter

    It was indeed drop-goal territory - but Henry Slade's attempt drops short, Bath scramble it out of play and every home supporter inside of The Rec can blow a huge sigh of relief.

    The Blue, Black and Whites win on the opening weekend. Just.

  9. Bath 19-17 Exeter

    The clock is red, but Exeter come forward through Henry Slade. They're into the Bath half, knocking on the door, is this drop-goal territory?...

  10. Penalty (Ford)

    Bath 19-17 Exeter

    George Ford lands the kick and Bath are back in front!

    Two minutes remain.

  11. Bath 16-17 Exeter

    Kyle Eastmond, back on the field after an earlier check to his head, spills it as the home side spread it wide.

    However, the Chiefs had infringed earlier in the move, so this time fly-half George Ford will call for the tee...

  12. Bath 16-17 Exeter

    Is there a sting in the tail, however? George Ford kicks for touch, Bath secure the ball at the line-out and they're up to Exeter's five-metre line...

  13. Try (Fraser, con Goode)

    Saracens 39-3 Sale

    A fifth try arrives.

    Substitute Will Fraser crosses the try line after some excellent work by the Saracens pack.

    Alex Goode takes over kicking duties and slots over.

  14. Saracens 34-3 Sale

    A check with the TMO shows that Mark Jennings has not timed a tackle on Chris Ashton correctly and Saracens have themselves a penalty.

    Expect the catch and drive from the line-out as they search for a fifth try...

  15. Bath 16-17 Exeter

    A few grumbles from Bath's supporters, but we're into the final seven minutes at The Rec and still they trail...

  16. Saracens 34-3 Sale

    Replacement hooker Dave Porecki makes an immediate impact for Saracens going on a charging run upfield.

    As the hosts try to recycle quickly though Sale do just about enough to stop the attack.

  17. Bath 16-17 Exeter

    Are Bath heading for an opening-weekend home defeat? The clock is ticking...

  18. Bath 16-17 Exeter

    Nabil Hassan

    BBC Sport at The Rec

    Sam Burgess was on the field for just 23 minutes before a yellow card brings a premature end to his game. He'll be lucky to get back on.

  19. Penalty (Steenson)

    Bath 16-17 Exeter

    And Gareth Steenson lands the penalty. We're into the last 13 minutes, 10 of which Bath will have a man disadvantage, and the Chiefs are back in front!

  20. Saracens 34-3 Sale

    Chris Ashton nearly goes in for a fifth try but there is a knock on as they attack.

    Can Sale try and get anything from this game to try and boost morale ahead of next week? It has been a chastising afternoon so far for Steve Diamond's men.

    Tom Arscott and Mike Ellery
  21. Bath 16-14 Exeter

    Quote Message: There's an unbelievable amount of pressure coming from Exeter now. But I commend Bath's defence for holding out, not for the first time this afternoon from Ollie Devoto Bath back on BBC Radio Bristol
    Ollie DevotoBath back on BBC Radio Bristol

    Bath are walking an absolute tightrope in this match - again Exeter Chiefs are over, but again the ball is held up.

    But what have we got here? Slammin' Sam Burgess has been sent to the sin bin for what the monitor suggests is "foul play".

    Not an ideal return from World Cup action for the cross-coder...

  22. Bath 16-14 Exeter

    But, once again, the Blue, Black and Whites survive the Chiefs charge...

  23. Try (Ellery, con Hodgson)

    Saracens 34-3 Sale

    It seemed to be a matter if when not if Saracens got the bonus point and winger Mike Ellery crosses for the second time today.

    The former England Sevens man crosses after a clever reverse pass from Ben Spencer. 

    The Premiership's top point scorer Charlie Hodgson keeps up his perfect kicking record.

    Mike Ellery
  24. Bath 16-14 Exeter

    Exeter were playing with an advantage in their pocket, however, so they had back to touch.

    Kyle Eastmond is off, by the way, after picking up a nasty knock in defence.

  25. Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Sale substitute Mark Jennings goes high on winger Mike Ellery and he is penalised. Saracens kick to touch and have themselves a line-out deep inside the 22...

    Quote Message: I think that was an old fashioned high shot - off the ball, around the neck. from Saracens winger Aaron Morris BBC Radio London
    Saracens winger Aaron MorrisBBC Radio London
  26. No try (Slade)

    Bath 16-14 Exeter

    The England centre did indeed drop the ball as he stretched to touched down, so the try won't stand and Bath survive.

    We're into the final 20 minutes in Somerset.

  27. Try review (Slade)

    Bath 16-14 Exeter

    Henry Slade is over and celebrating, but has he dropped the ball? We're heading to the television match official...

  28. Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Mike Ellery nearly gets the bonus-point try for Saracens but it was good defence by Sale scrum-half Chris Cusiter to stop him.

    Still no points in the second half at Allianz Park yet.

    Jamie George
  29. Missed penalty (Slade)

    Bath 16-14 Exeter

    The you score, we score pattern looks set to continue as Henry Slade lines up a kick from the tee a good 50 metres out - but his attempt falls short and Bath are reprieved.

  30. Saracens 27-3 Sale

  31. Penalty (Ford)

    Bath 16-14 Exeter

    George Ford

    But the scoreline at The Rec continues to seesaw, as Exeter are penalised at the ruck and George Ford knocks over another penalty to put Bath back in front.

  32. Replacement

    Saracens 27-3 Sale

    That is Brian Mujati's last bit of action as he is taken off along with Nick Easter. Jonathan Mills and Vadim Colbilas come on.

    Saracens show their impressive bench as England prop Mako Vunipola replaces Rhys Gill.

  33. Penalty (Steenson)

    Bath 13-14 Exeter

    But upon Matt Banahan's reintroduction Exeter win a penalty, which Gareth Steenson sends over to edge the Chiefs back in front.

    Another of England's World Cup squad, centre Henry Slade, is on the field now.

  34. Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Brian Mujati shows his strength but a burst through the Saracens defence. 

    Sale try to work the ball through the phases but the attack eventually comes to nothing.

  35. Bath 13-11 Exeter

    Matt Banahan is back on the field for Bath, meaning it's 15 v 15 once more. That 10-minute spell in the bin was certainly not as profitable for Exeter as Rob Baxter would have hoped.

  36. Bath 13-11 Exeter

    Nabil Hassan

    BBC Sport at The Rec

    Sam Burgess

    Huge roar as Sam Burgess is introduced. He's absolute box office.    

  37. Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Quote Message: When Sale get front foot ball to Danny Cipriani, he always orchestrates things. He's got a fantastic set of hands as Saracens have just seen. from Saracens winger Aaron Morris BBC Radio London
    Saracens winger Aaron MorrisBBC Radio London
  38. Penalty (Ford)

    Bath 13-11 Exeter

    George Ford has the first decisive say of this second period, kicking a penalty after Exeter are penalised for not releasing on the floor.

    All the while, Sam Burgess is on for Bath. At flanker, presumably. Watch this space.

  39. Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Have Sale had a strong word from Steve Diamond at half-time?

    They have enjoyed all the possession at the start of the second-half and instead of kicking for the posts, go to touch for the line-out.

  40. Kick-off

    Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Danny Cipriani gets us going in the second half at Allianz Park.

  41. Kick-off

    Bath 10-11 Exeter

    Right then, the players at back out at an overcast Recreation Ground. The floodlights are already on.

    Gareth Steenson kicks us back under way.

  42. HT: Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Sale fans once loved Charlie Hodgson. 

    The fly-half came through the academy at the Sharks before leading them to the Premiership title in 2006, but left in 2011 for Saracens. 

    He has less hair than in his Sale days now, but the 34-year-old is orchestrating things at the moment at Allianz Park.

    Charlie Hodgson
  43. Get Involved


    It's all looking good for Sarries at Allianz Park, isn't it? Are the reigning champions laying down an early marker here?

    And how about Exeter Chiefs and Bath - it's a one-point game at the moment, but which way will it end up going?

    Let us know by using #bbcrugby on Twitter.

  44. Half-time

    Saracens 27-3 Sale

    Saracens will fancy themselves for the four try bonus point in the second-half after a dominant opening 40 minutes.

    Michael Rhodes, Tim Streather and Mike Ellery have touched down and this is a side without a number of their internationals.

    A Danny Cipriani penalty is all the Sharks have to show from their efforts...

  45. Try (Ellery, con Hodgson)

    Saracens 27-3 Sale

    He's been perfect with his kicking so far and now former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson shows his class by setting up winger Mike Ellery to cross.

    The former Sale man then adds the extras - he's kicked all five attempts now.

  46. Half-time

    Bath 10-11 Exeter

    Exeter Chiefs lead at the break then - and Bath will have to do without Matt Banahan, yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, for the first 10 minutes of the second period.

  47. Penalty (Steenson)

    Bath 10-11 Exeter

    But it'll be Exeter Chiefs who head into half-time in front, Matt Banahan penalised at the breakdown - for which he is sent to the sin bin - and Gareth Steenson landing the three-pointer.

  48. Saracens 20-3 Sale

    Saracens, confident with their 17-point lead, go for a line-out from a penalty instead of the posts. 

    Sale defend their advances well and a huge clearance from Mike Haley gets them upfield.

  49. Bath 10-8 Exeter

    Stuart Hooper
    Quote Message: It's the first time we've managed to get some shape from a breakdown in the middle of the field, and it's great work from Anthony Watson to delay the pass and give Stuart Hooper acres of room to run into from Ollie Devoto Bath back on BBC Radio Bristol
    Ollie DevotoBath back on BBC Radio Bristol
  50. Try (Hooper, con Ford)

    Bath 10-8 Exeter

    Stuart Hooper

    And Bath have their first try of the afternoon, the skipper Stuart Hooper touching down after Anthony Watson drew the tackle and sent the lock into space.

    George Ford converts, the Blue, Black and Whites are ahead for the first time.

  51. Bath 3-8 Exeter

    Referee Tim Wigglesworth is far from happy with the scrum, as this time we are made to endure a series of restarts.

    Eventually he decides enough is enough when the two packs stand up before the ball pops out, and so George Ford will punt a penalty into touch.

  52. Saracens 20-3 Sale

    A first sniff of the try line for Sale, as they break from deep but debutant Bryn Evans knocks on when in sight of the line.

  53. Try (Streather, con Hodgson)

    Saracens 20-3 Sale

    Sale are struggling to cope with Saracens' power at the moment and centre Tim Streather goes past Will Addison to touch down.

    Charlie Hodgson is four from four and it is a long way back for the Sharks already.

    Tim Streather
  54. Bath 3-8 Exeter

    And Exeter almost grab a second try, as Luke Cowan-Dickie piles towards the line behind a rolling maul... But the ball is just about held up over the line.

  55. Bath 3-8 Exeter

    Anthony Watson
    Quote Message: Anthony Watson has been showing all of the skills he demonstrated at the World Cup, he's brilliant under the high ball from Damian Derrick BBC Radio Bristol
    Damian DerrickBBC Radio Bristol

    All that said, still the Blue, Black and Whites trail at The Rec after James Short's early try.

  56. Penalty (Hodgson)

    Saracens 13-3 Sale

    The hosts restore their 10-point lead again, as Charlie Hodgson is succesful with his third kick after Sale skipper Dan Braid is penalised at the breakdown.

  57. Bath 3-8 Exeter

    Nabil Hassan

    BBC Sport at The Rec

    Funny old game this - Exeter lead having offered very little while, Bath and especially Tom Homer look dangerous every time they set up an attack.

    It's error-strewn though and for the minute that suits Chiefs. They don't want this game becoming too expansive.

  58. Bath 3-8 Exeter

    Bath have certainly had more ball in hand than Chiefs, but the men all in white are into the home side's half now, working through the phases.

  59. Penalty (Cipriani)

    Saracens 10-3 Sale

    The visitors get on the board as Danny Cipriani kicks a penalty after Saracens were caught offside.

  60. Penalty (Hodgson)

    Saracens 10-0 Sale

    Two from two so far this afternoon for Saracens as Charlie Hodgson adds three points from the tee. 

    Ominous start by the champions.

  61. Bath 3-8 Exeter

    There's been a penalty conceded at every single scrum so far - and this time the Chiefs pack is guilty. Bath are on the attack too, up to the 22-metre line, but the pass to Nick Auterac is dropped to the ground and the attack fizzles out.

    Speaking of kits, Bath's 125-year anniversary effort isn't too shabby...

    Tom Homer
  62. Saracens 7-0 Sale

    The hosts looking dangerous again as centre Duncan Taylor puts a grubber kick through, but Sale full-back Mike Haley is alert to touch down behind the try line.

  63. Saracens 7-0 Sale

    Sale get a penalty but after a quick check with the TMO, the decision is reversed as Sharks hooker Tommy Taylor is judged to have made a high tackle before the initial decision. 

    The Sharks are wearing this interesting day-glo kit today... Saracens in their traditional black and red.

    Danny Cipriani
  64. Penalty (Steenson)

    Bath 3-8 Exeter

    This time it's Bath's turn to infringe at scrum time, handing Gareth Steenson a penalty - which he manages to pop over the sticks to extend the gap to five points once more.

  65. Missed penalty (Cipriani)

    Saracens 7-0 Sale

    Sale are given the chance to get on the scoreboard immediately but Danny Cipriani misses his first attempt of the new season.

  66. Penalty (Ford)

    Bath 3-5 Exeter

    And George Ford, who seven days ago was wearing an England shirt in their final World Cup match against Uruguay, splits the posts to reduce the arrears to two points.

  67. Bath 0-5 Exeter

    A reminder that you can listen to radio commentary on both of our matches this afternoon, by clicking the 'Live Coverage' tab at the top of this page.

    All the while, Chiefs are penalised at scrum time, offering George Ford a kick at goal...

  68. Try (Rhodes, con Hodgson)

    Saracens 7-0 Sale

    The champions make their early pressure count as Michael Rhodes is the grateful recipient on the end of a driving maul.

    Former Sale fly-half Charlie Hodgson adds the extras for Saracens.

  69. Saracens 0-0 Sale

    Not a good start from Sale who lose their first line-out of the season.

    Saracens gather the ball and look to build from their first attack.

  70. Try (Short, missed con Steenson)

    Bath 0-5 Exeter

    Goodness me, the Chiefs are ahead inside the opening 90 seconds! Bath full-back Tom Homer spills the ball as he streams down the left, and immediately Exeter turn the ball over and switch it to the opposite side.

    Debutant wing James Short has plenty to do right on the touchline, but shows a clever step to burst clear and touch down.

    Gareth Steenson, captain for the day, fails to add the extras but it's a cracking start for the away side.

  71. Kick-off

    Bath 0-0 Exeter

    So Bath fly-half George Ford's right boot gets us under way at The Rec, fresh from his World Cup adventure.

    Exeter immediately gather and they're on the attack...

  72. Kick-off

    Saracens 0-0 Sale

    We're off at Allianz Park as Saracens get the defence of their title under way.

  73. The action is on the way...

    Right then, the two sets of players are out at The Rec, as they are at Allianz Park.

    Kick-off in both of our 14:00 BST matches is just a few moments away.

  74. Team news

    Bath v Exeter (14:00 BST)

    Six of Exeter Chiefs' seven World Cup players have returned, although only Henry Slade, is selected, on the bench.

    Ben Moon makes plays his 100th league game for the club, while winger James Short is the only new face to start.

    Exeter Chiefs team

    Replacements: Yeandle, Hepburn, Low, Atkins, Salvi, Lewis, Slade, Woodburn.  

  75. Team news

    Bath v Exeter (14:00 BST)

    England duo George Ford and Anthony Watson start for Bath, who have Sam Burgess and Rob Webber on the bench.

    Semesa Rokoduguni and Kyle Eastmond start after missing out on the World Cup and Matt Garvey and Chris Cook both play their 50th game for the club.

    Bath team

    Replacements: Webber, Lahiff, Wilson, Burgess, Mercer, Matawalu, Clark, Williams.  

  76. Team news

    Saracens v Sale (14:00 BST)

    Sale Sharks have rested Samoa pair Jonny Leota and TJ Ioane, as well as Canada winger Phil Mackenzie, after their recent involvement in the World Cup.

    Brian Mujati and Bryn Evans start, while Peter Stringer and Neil Briggs are named among the replacements.

    Sale Sharks team

    Replacements: Briggs, Flynn, Cobilas, Mills, Lund, Stringer, Macleod, Jennings.  

  77. Team news

    Saracens v Sale (14:00 BST)

    Twenty-year-old lock Maro Itoje will captain Saracens as Alistair Hargreaves (Achilles) is out.

    England pair Jamie George and Alex Goode start, with George Kruis and Mako Vunipola on the bench, while back-row forward Michael Rhodes makes his debut.

    Saracens team

    Replacements: Porecki, Vunipola, Lamositele, Kruis, Fraser, Spencer, Tompkins, Ransom.  

  78. Post update

    Bath v Exeter (14:00 BST)

    Nabil Hassan

    BBC Sport at The Rec

    As for George's father, Bath head coach Mike Ford, his programme notes are the words of man desperate to erase last season's Premiership final defeat.

    "Our goal is to go one better than last season," writes Ford.

    "We need to show fire in the opening stages.

    And as for his returning World Cup contingent: "Their return has been a boost for the entire organisation."

  79. Post update

    Bath v Exeter (14:00 BST)

    Nabil Hassan

    BBC Sport at The Rec

    So it's Bath and Exeter's England contingent who are next to "get back on the horse" after their World Cup humiliation.

    Sam Burgess was full of smiles pre-match, shaking hands and sharing jokes with his team-mates while finding time to send over a series of impressive drop-goals. 

    George Ford has preferred some isolation, going through his pre-match routine, practising various kicks. He looks focused and ready to get back to action.

  80. Get Involved


    We've got two domestic games to get our teeth stuck into this afternoon, with Bath taking on Exeter Chiefs at The Rec and Saracens playing host to Sale Sharks, both from 14:00 BST.

    If you'd like to get in touch with us about any of the above and more you can do so by using #bbcrugby on Twitter.

  81. Post update

    An Englishman walks into a bar.

    Usually there'd be a Scotsman, a Welshman and an Irishman too, but they're all still at the Rugby World Cup.

    Ireland fan

    If, like us, you've heard this naughty little gag a good few times already this weekend we apologise.

    The good news, however, is that while the other home nations spend the next couple of days battling to make it into the big show's final four, the English Premiership is back under way! Hurray!