Match Centre: Saracens 27-23 Bristol Bears

Elliot Daly was one of the try-scorer for Saracens
Elliot Daly was one of the try-scorer for Saracens

Saracens 27-23 Bristol Bears, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Saracens managed to hold off Bristol Bears as they sealed a 27-23 win in the latest round of the Gallagher Premiership at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

The result meant Saracens have consolidated their second position in the table with 68 points while Bristol are at 10th place.

The game also saw England captain Owen Farrell making his first comeback following an ankle injury that he sustained during the game against Australia in November.

Saracens kick-started the proceedings early with a third minute try from Antoine Frisch, who gathered a short pass and went over from just two metres out. Tiff Eden kicked the conversion as Mark McCall's men raced to a 7-0 lead by the 4th minute.

The scores were levelled by the 9th minute as Alex Goode sent a grubber kick that Max Malins gathered to dot down and Farrell kicked his first points of the year to make it 7-7.

Bristol once again went in front as Eden breached Saracens defence and set up Piers O’Conor made a stretch for 20 metres to score but back to back penalties from Farrell in the 26th and 31st minutes meant the scoreline became 13-12.

Eden ensured Bristol seized the lead as a fumble from Billy Vunipola allowed the fly-half to slot a penalty goal in the 34th minute and followed it with a try in the 38th minute as he gathered a pass from O’Conor to cross over making it 13-20 but Saracens responded back strong as Alex Goode’s offload on half way put Alex Lozowski charging ahead towards the line, and then he passed to Daly on his shoulder who cut back inside to dot down.

Farrell's conversion meant both the teams went into the break unseparated with a 20-20 scoreline.

Malins helped Saracens off the block early in the second half as he completed his second try in the 44th minute following Aled Davies’ break and Farrell kicked the conversion but a penalty from Callum Sheedy in the 23rd minute made it 27-23.

Saracens thought they claimed the try bonus point but Nick Tompkins' touchdown was called back for a knock-on earlier in the build up. It all kicked off in the closing stages and it looked as if Bristol had stolen the win in the final seconds as Luke Morahan scored in the corner but the TMO ruled it out after they were found guilty of a forward pass early on as McCall's men sealed a thrilling four point win.

Team line up:

Saracens: Goode; Malins, Lozowski, Tompkins, Daly; Farrell (capt), Davies; Barrington, George, Koch, Itoje, Isiekwe, Wray, Earl, B Vunipola

Reserves: Woolstencroft, Mawi, Wainwright, Swinson, Christie, de Haas, Taylor, Maitland

Bristol: Lane; Leiua, O'Conor, Frisch, Bates; Eden, Randall; Woolmore, Thacker, Armstrong, Attwood, Joyce (capt), Vui, D Thomas, Harding.

Reserves: Kerr, Y Thomas, Afoa, Jeffries, Green, Sheedy, Radradra, Piutau

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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