SARACENS boss Alan Gaffney heaped praise on his players after they inflicted Bath's third league defeat of the season.

Two tries from Brent Russell and 16 points via the boot of Glen Jackson handed the Men in Black a deserved 26-20 win.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic as this was an important win for us," said the director of rugby. "If we'd lost then the top three would have been about nine points clear and that would have left us in a shaky position going into the next round.

"We showed a lot of grit today and the loss of Butch James (dislocation) was enormous for Bath."

Gaffney confirmed that Andy Farrell had "popped a rib" before half time while Dave Seymour tweaked a calf. Both are expected to be fine for Sarries' next match against Worcester on February 10.

"The weekend we have off next week is an absolute blessing for us," continued Gaffney. "I thought Jacko (Glen Jackson) played well and contributed a fair bit to the game today.

"I was also delighted with Brent Russell who is now displaying the ability we know he has.

"I must also take my hat off to Alan Dickens as he played very, very well today and put enormous pressure on Michael Claassens."

Bath head coach Steve Meehan was disappointed with the defeat and insisted he had no problems playing Steve Borthwick against his future employers.

""Saracens were more aggressive and direct than us and played very well," he said. "As for Steve, he was very determined and was one of our better performers.

"He was his normal, professional self during the week and him playing (against Saracens) was not brought up as a distraction by the other players."