Aviva Premiership

Bristol thumped by Saracens, Saints back to winning ways

Bristol's difficult start to life back in the Premiership continued on Friday as they were beaten 39-0 at home by defending champions Saracens.

Since running Harlequins close on the opening weekend of the season, Andy Robinson's side have been dealt heavy defeats by Northampton Saints, Wasps and Exeter Chiefs.

The 70-22 loss at Wasps proved an especially harsh lesson and this latest result at Ashton Gate will come as another knock to the confidence of the newly promoted side.

Alex Lozowski touched down early on as Saracens assumed a 10-0 half-time lead, and the former Wasps man crossed again shortly after the interval to further extend the visitors' advantage.

Chris Wyles and Jamie George secured the bonus point, and George Kruis marked his return from a back injury by rounding off the scoring, as Bristol spent the last 10 minutes with Max Crumpton in the sin bin.

The victory sends Sarries two points clear of Wasps at the summit, with the Coventry outfit set to host Harlequins on Sunday.

Northampton Saints registered a welcome victory in the day's other fixture, coming from 13-0 down to beat Exeter 20-19 at Franklin's Gardens - their first win in three.

An Olly Woodburn try and eight points from the boot of Gareth Steenson put Exeter in control, but George North crossed at the other end before turning architect for debutant Rory Hutchinson, securing Saints a one-point half-time advantage.

Two penalty kicks from Steenson saw the visitors move back in front in the second half, but Harry Mallinder responded with a pair of his own - the high-pressure second coming three minutes from time.