Bath beat Saracens as Exiles go fourth

SARACENS boss Brendan Venter blamed his side’s failure at set-pieces after their recent slump continued with a 16-14 Premiership defeat at home to resurgent Bath.

Wikus van Heerden crossed to give Sarries a half-time advantage but a penalty try and the kicking of Ryan Davis helped the visitors overhaul the hosts. Derick Hougaard, who kicked three penalties, missed a last-gasp kick for Saracens, but Venter admitted his men would not have deserved the win.

Instead, he blamed the absence of his first-choice front five for poor set pieces in the second half, but vowed to correct the matter and restore momentum to his team’s title push.

“Our goal is to win the Premiership and we are not going to if our set-pieces are like that. It’s not a lack of effort, it’s just inexperience. And that’s why we’ll be a good team going forward,” said the South African.

“Our objective is long-term to make this club unbelievable. And this will just be part of the whole process. Why do you think Soane Tonga’uiha and Matt Stevens are coming to this club? Because we know this.”

Bath’s win lifted them to sixth, three places behind early pacesetters Saracens, while London Irish moved back into the play-off places with a 29-14 victory over Harlequins. A 35-yard try from lock Nick Kennedy was the highlight as the Exiles recorded their first Premiership win in four attempts.

Steffon Armitage also went over and Tom Homer kicked five penalties as Quins were overpowered.
Elsewhere, Danny Cipriani weighed in with all of Wasps’ points but could not prevent a 26-10 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Leeds. Cipriani’s converted try and penalty were eclipsed by Henry Fa’afili’s try and the trusty boot of Ceiron Thomas.