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Premiership: Rhys Priestland penalties see Bath beat Saracens 18-9

Premiership: Rhys Priestland penalties see Bath beat Saracens 18-9

Testing conditions at The Rec made free-flowing rugby tricky for both sides
bbc.comRhys Priestland kicked all of Bath's points as they beat defending Premiership champions Saracens.Priestland coped better with the testing conditions as Saracens centre Alex Lozowski missed four attempts off the tee in a tight contest.Saracens gave away 20 penalties in an uncharacteristic display as they lost a fourth successive away game for the first time since 2010.
Mark McCall's side missed the chance to return to the top of the table.Victory for Bath moves them up to sixth and reignites their chances of reaching the play-offs after two narrow defeats in succession in added time at Northampton and at home to Harlequins last Saturday.
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Wales international Priestland missed just one attempt at goal on the night when he struck the left post in the first half, but the inconsistent Lozowski missed three chances to bring his side level in the second half.Ultimately, Priestland kept his cool with two decisive kicks in the last six minutes to seal victory and deny Saracens a losing bonus point.A further sign of a scrappy game on a heavy Rec surface came through second-half yellow cards for Saracens back row Ben Earl and Bath hooker Ross Batty.Batty's team-mates managed to close out the game in the last 10 minutes despite their numerical disadvantage.Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder told BBC Radio Bristol:"I'm really pleased for the boys as they have worked really hard. To see the effort and how much they care after those two narrow losses, they've come out fighting."They stuck to the game plan and most significantly, brought the physicality that was required to win tonight."I've just watched what I thought was a really good team performance. They worked really hard for each other."We looked like a team, something that hasn't been there in recent weeks and everyone played their part."Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:"In the first half we were really poor. We lost all the collisions, gave away a lot of penalties. I thought we were much better in that regard in the second half."We put Bath under more pressure and got down their end more often to give ourselves a chance to get something out of the game, but our set-piece let us down."Alex (Lozowski) has kicked well for us for many matches. We had chances with 10 minutes to go to level things while they had a man in the sin-bin."It was a golden opportunity for us, which we blew. We lost our losing bonus point too, which was hugely frustrating."Bath: Homer; Wilson, Joseph, Willison, McConnochie; Priestland, Chudley (capt); Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Attwood, Douglas, Stooke, Reid, Mercer.Replacements: Batty, Obano, Perenise, Davies, Ellis, Fotuali'i, Burns, Clark.Sin-bin: Batty (70).Saracens: Malins; Strettle, Tompkins, Lozowski, Lewington; Goode (co-capt), Spencer; Barrington, Woolstencroft, Koch, Skelton, Isiekwe, Rhodes, Burger, Wray (co-capt).Replacements: Gray, Lamositele, Judge, Day, Earl, Whiteley, Bosch, Gallagher.Sin-bin: Earl (61).Referee: Andrew Jackson.For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion[/i] on Twitter.
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