Premiership: Bath 10-30 Saracens

By Brendon MitchellBBC Sport
Anthony Watson
Anthony Watson starred throughout England's Six Nations Grand Slam-winning campaign
Bath (3) 10
Try: Houston Con: Ford Pen: Ford
Saracens (18) 30
Tries: Fraser, Ellery, Ashton 2 Cons: Farrell 2 Pens: Farrell 2
Relive Saracens' victory over Bath

Chris Ashton scored twice on his return from a 10-week ban as Premiership leaders Saracens beat Bath, who had England wing Anthony Watson sent off.

Watson was shown a straight red card for taking full-back Alex Goode out in the air with half an hour to go.

By then Sarries led 18-3, Will Fraser and Mike Ellery with first-half tries.

Two tries for Ashton, banned for making contact with the eyes of Ulster's Luke Marshall, sealed Saracens' bonus point to move them eight clear of Exeter.

The 29-year-old, who was forced to miss the entirety of England's Six Nations Grand Slam-winning campaign, played the full 80 minutes on his first game back and will now hope to force his way into Eddie Jones' squad for the summer tour of Australia.

The former Northampton Saints wing displayed his trademark predatory instincts in finishing off fine team moves either side of Leroy Houston's consolation try for Bath.

Chris Ashton
Ashton, who now has four Premiership tries this season, has not played for England since 2014

Mark McCall's team, who beat the Blue, Black and Whites in last season's Premiership final, had looked in complete control from the moment Fraser bundled over from close range inside the opening five minutes.

They were already 15 points in front when Watson was sent off for what referee Greg Garner ruled to be a dangerous tackle on Goode, although the 22-year-old did appear to collide with Ashton just before attempting to challenge the Saracens' full-back for the ball.

But Bath, who also had scrum-half Chris Cook yellow-carded soon after, never seemed likely to mount a serious comeback even before their poor second-half discipline.

Garner's officiating, particularly around the scrum, led to an increasingly hostile atmosphere at The Rec and even prompted a supporter to enter the referee's room and confront the officials after the match, reports BBC Radio 5 live's Sonja McLaughlan.

Defeat leaves Mike Ford's side ninth in the table, eight points off sixth-placed Harlequins.

Bath head coach Mike Ford:

"By the letter of the law, it is a sending off, isn't it? He [Watson] got underneath Alex, and Alex landed awkwardly.

"You get underneath the guy jumping, take his legs away and he lands awkwardly like he did, it's a red.

"Anthony is gutted. He was going for the ball, Ashton checked his run, and then all of a sudden he is underneath the player. It was an accident. We will have a look at it. We will fight his corner."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"The letter of the law says it is possibly a red card, but I feel sorry for Anthony because it was not intentional.

"His route to Alex was slightly disrupted by one of our players. He had to change course, he doesn't time it well, but it was what it was. It didn't change the course of the game."

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Devoto, Agulla; Ford, Cook; Catt Webber, Thomas, Ewels, Attwood, Garvey, Louw (capt), Mafi.

Replacements: Dunn, Lahiff, Wilson, Houston, Denton, Mercer, Homer, Priestland.

Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Bosch, Barritt (capt), Taylor; Farrell; Wigglesworth, Vunipola, Brits, Du Plessis, Itoje, Kruis, Rhodes, Fraser, Vunipola.

Replacements: Saunders, Barrington, Lamositele, Hargreaves, Brown, De Kock, Ellery, Ransom.