Premiership: Bath 21-11 Saracens

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport
Kyle Eastmond scores for Bath
Kyle Eastmond has now scored 10 Premiership tries for Bath
Bath (13) 21
Tries: Joseph, Eastmond Con: Ford Pens: Ford 3
Saracens (6) 11
Try: Wyles Pens: Hodgson, Goode

Bath beat Saracens for the first time since 2010 and replaced their opponents at the top of the Premiership.

Saracens went in behind at half-time for the first time this season, Jonathan Joseph's try and two George Ford kicks giving Bath a 13-6 lead.

Kyle Eastmond stormed over in the second half to extend their advantage.

Chris Wyles crossed for Sarries to add to earlier penalties from Charlie Hodgson and Alex Goode, but it was not enough to beat a formidable Bath side.

The West Country outfit suffered their first loss of the season against Northampton last weekend, and came up against a previously unbeaten Saracens, who they had failed to beat at home since April 2009.

But Bath looked dominant from the outset - England prospects Eastmond, Joseph and Semesa Rokoduguni impressing in attack - as they finally ended their Sarries hoodoo.

Bath celebrate beating Saracens
Bath ended their eight-game winless Premiership run against Saracens

Hodgson had an early opportunity to get the visitors off the mark but his penalty bounced off the post.

Bath made the breakthrough when Ford's kick downfield bounced awkwardly in front of Sarries full-back Goode and the loose ball was collected by Eastmond, who fed to an on-rushing Joseph for his fourth try of the season.

Ford added the extras before Saracens clawed back two penalties from Hodgson and Goode - the latter taking over kicking duties while fly-half Hodgson received treatment to a shoulder injury.

However, Sarries' task was made all the more difficult when Chris Ashton was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knockdown, and Ford coolly slotted his third kick to make it 13-6 at the break.

Chris Ashton is sent to the sin bin
England and Saracens wing Chris Ashton was sent to the sin bin in the first-half

Bath made the most of the extra man after the restart and their impressive midfield combined again to extend their lead - this time Joseph supplying Eastmond, who dabbed down in style.

Saracens finally crossed when Billy Vunipola provided Wyles, who evaded a two-man tackle to touch down in the right-hand corner, although Goode failed to convert.

The visitors then conceded a penalty from a line-out and Ford - who uncharacteristically missed 15 points from the tee - pushed Bath ahead again, and they held onto their 10-point lead.

Bath head coach Mike Ford:

"It was a great performance. Defensively, we were up and at them, knocking them back and giving them no time to create anything.

"Last weekend (against Northampton) I was over-protective. I concentrated on not to lose instead of winning. We wanted to go out tonight and play our way, and when you've got a pack that can give you that sort of ball, you would be stupid not to play like that.

"We could have lost, but I was determined to play the way we wanted to. We are still only scratching the surface. It is going to be really exciting where we are going with this team."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"We are disappointed with the result, obviously.

"Bath are a very good team. They are well-coached, they've got good players and give them a lot of credit, I thought they played very well.

"Once they got their noses in front they defended well and were hard to break down.

"We gave away a lot of set-piece penalties and clearly Chris Ashton's sin-binning was a significant moment in the match because we conceded 10 points in that time."

Bath: Henson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Woodburn; Ford, Cook; James, Webber, Wilson; Hooper (capt), Attwood; Fa'osiliva, Mercer, Houston.

Replacements: Batty, Auterac, Thomas, Day, Sisi, Young, Devoto, Watson.

Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Taylor, Wyles, Strettle; Hodgson, De Kock; Gill, George, Johnston; Kruis, Hargreaves (capt); Brown, Burger, B.Vunipola.

Replacements: Spurling, Barrington, Longbottom, Hamilton, Wray, Wigglesworth, Tompkins, Ransom.

Attendance: 13,314

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)