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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 December, 2003, 17:09 GMT
Tindall injury mars Bath win

Saracens 15-24 Bath

MATCH FACTS
Mike Tindall cries out in pain after breaking his leg
Saracens: 15
Tries: Bailey, Castaignede
Con: Castaignede
Pens Castaignede
Bath: 24
Tries: Tindall, Higgins, penalty
Cons: Barkley (3)
Pen: Barkley

England's Mike Tindall was stretchered off the field with an ankle injury in Bath's 24-15 win over Saracens.

Tindall scored the game's first try but was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg during that move.

An X-ray revealed the injury to be far less serious but the World Cup winner will have an MRI scan on Sunday.

The result maintained Bath's commanding lead in the league, courtesy of a scintillating solo performance by fly-half Olly Barkley.

Barkley created two of Bath's tries and kicked nine points as Sarries were dealt a third successive league defeat.

Thomas Castaignede, who kicked just five points, set up a tense finale with a stunning try five minutes from time. But it was not enough.

Saracens' cause was not helped by the absence of Richard Hill, who pulled out because of a broken nose.

We initially thought he had broken his leg and we did hear a crack
Bath coach John Connolly on Mike Tindall

As a result Bath, who have lost just once in the league this season, dominated in the set-pieces.

Sarries briefly led 3-0 with Castaignede's penalty before Tindall's try.

At the re-start, Barkley won his side a line-out, from which he created the gap for his England team-mate to dart under the posts.

Castaignede, Kyran Bracken and Darragh O'Mahony all tried to conjure up a response but, as they spread the ball wide, it opened spaces for Bath.

Barkley added a penalty before Andrew Higgins notched up his team's second try.

Alex Crockett, on for an injured Matt Perry, scooped up a delightful Barkley chip, which he laid on to Higgins, who in turn skipped two tackles to twist into the right-hand corner.

When you don't have a great deal of confidence these close games get away from you
Saracens coach Rod Kafer

That left Saracens 14 points behind, but it finally brought them to life.

Simon Raiwalui and Taine Randell bulldozed their way through Bath's defence to send Paul Bailey in from 20 metres.

Castaignede slotted over the conversion but did not fare so well with two later penalty attempts as Sarries battled for their first league win since November.

Bath's win was essentially sealed in the 61st minute when referee Martin Fox awarded a penalty try after deciding Barkley had been tripped by Robbie Kydd as he chased his own kick over the line.

Castaignede unsettled some West-Country nerves as Bath spilled some line-out ball and the Frenchman danced his past a cluster of defenders.


Saracens: Haughton, Cech, Johnston, Bailey, O'Mahony, Castaignede, Bracken, Sparks, Ibanez, Visagie, Raiwalui, Codling, Chesney, B. Russell, Randell
Replacements: R. Russell, Bergamaschi, Skirving, Roques, Williams, Kydd, Winnan

Bath: Perry, Human, A. Higgins, Tindall, Danielli, Barkley, Wood, Flatman, Humphreys, Delve, Borthwick, Grewcock, Beattie, Lipman, Fea'unati
Replacements: Martens, Mears, Barnes, Maggs, Crockett, Scaysbrook, Fidler

Referee: Martin Fox (RFU)




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