Itoje returns in style as the Saracens crush Bath
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The Saracens managed an incredible 71-17 rout from Bath as Maro Itoje made a comeback to the English Premier League on Sunday.
Itoje was playing in the top flight for the first time in 12 months after Saracens salary cap exceedances forced the club’s relegation to the championship.
After completing his rest period following the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa, Itoje played ahead of England head coach Eddie Jones.
However, Itoje will be concerned that his afternoon ends early in the second half after receiving a blow to the left shoulder at Recreation Ground.
His early exit seemed cautious as the Saracens condemned sad Bath to a fourth consecutive league loss and his worst Premiership start since 2001.
“I don’t know if Maro is a shoulder or a pectoral. We’re just trying to find out how bad it is,” Saracens rugby manager Mark McCall said.
The Saracens have won three of four, amassing 45 points in the first half thanks to a double try from Jamie George, two more from Max Malins and one each by Itoje and Ben Earl.
Eroni Mawi added a seventh try for the Saracens, Malins completed their hat-trick and Rotimi Segun and Dom Morris also scored.
Owen Farrell threw eight conversions and one penalty for a 19 point course and Alex Goode threw a late conversion.
Tom de Glanville, Tom Ellis and Will Muir scored Bath’s scores, but it was no consolation for the outclassed country club from the west in front of their own fans.
George, Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola were excluded from the England training squad last month.
Jones names his squad on Monday for the Nations Series against Tonga, Australia and South Africa and McCall expects his line to be involved.
“If Eddie wanted to see if they had the motivation and the desire to continue playing for England then they showed it today,” he said.
“I thought Billy was unreal. So was Mako. Both were prominent in the defensive sets.
“There is a new team tomorrow and I expect there will be a lot more players. They deserve to be there after the way they played.”
The London Irish failed to secure their first win of the season to dominate Gloucester, but had to settle for a 25-25 draw.
Led by eight points at halftime, Gloucester scored three tries in less than 15 minutes after the break.
Ben Morgan claimed two and Louis Rees-Zammit got the other, with Adam Hastings shooting two penalties and two conversions.
Agustin Creevy, Isaac Curtis-Harris and Matt Rogerson scored tries for the Irish, Paddy Jackson adding two conversions and two penalties.
© 2021 AFP