What a weekend for Wasps to travel to the Rec to face 2 nd placed Bath – after an exciting and emphatic win over the Sale Sharks the week prior – but that wasn’t going to deter blazing Bath from scorching their visitors in the first half. And even though Wasps retaliated during the last ten, their fate was sealed, their hopes in ashes and Bathâ€™s bonus point win cemented, 39-26.
And what a memorable day it was for both MOTM Sam Burgess, scoring his first senior squad Premiership try; and for Dave Attwood, the 6’7” lock who made his 100th appearance for Bath Rugby. It’s fantastic to see how Attwood has developed as an individual over the last four years and really come into his own as a leader on the field.
Congratulations and â€˜Hats off to you!â€™
â€œThis is a great club to play for, I love running out every time, every time to a packed house here at the Rec. There’s a special buzz here, particularly this season and it was a really special moment for me to run out first.â€ Said Attwood.
Early on, two explosive defensive hits by Burgess knocked Wasps for six and the Rec roared, as the home side took total control of the game. Bath meant business and after a handful of punchy phases in the Wasps 22′, it was Francois Louw who touched down with George Ford converting, 12 minutes in.
A momentâ€™s lapse by Bath however, saw Wasps wasting no time! A huge overlap out wide enabled Alapati Leiua to score; but luckily for Bath, formidable Ford slotted a penalty three minutes later to provide a five point lead. Next, from their own 22′, a powerful attacking back line combination of Jonathan Joseph, Ford and then Semesa Rokoduguni, managed to shake off defenders and sprint the length of the pitch with Rokoduguni nudging over and Fordâ€™s boot obeying, yet again. Commitment clear!
A penalty from Ford just short of half-time, rounded up Bathâ€™s burgeoning first forty and what a display from their front row, Nick Auterac, Ross Batty & Henry Thomas.
It was everything I’d expected to see from the home side. But I was a little surprised by the lack of get up and go from the Wasps.
I really hoped they’d come out fighting in the second.
HT 20 â€“ 5
Well Iâ€™m sure the intent was there … but this was bouldering Burgessâ€™ time – time to make his mark – with his first Premiership try, six minutes in and with Ford slotting concisely, Bath started the second half in another blaze.
That said, a crafty Nathan Hughes drove over the top of a ruck to score with ease for the visitors, leaving the Rec perplexed but even with Andy Goode’s conversion, there was still no significant dent in the score, 27-12.
But something magical needed to happen if Wasps were to be in with a chance.
Well their was some magic in the air and the Rec did experience a kind of reversible whirlwind; with tries from Matt Banahan and Ollie Devoto widening the gap further, 39-12, then Waspsâ€™ Ben Jacobs and Alex Lozowski scoring two tries in two minutes and with Lozowskiâ€™s conversions, it definitely turned out tighter than Mike Ford had expected as the game drew to a close; but Bath saw them off with a good dousing;
â€œ I thought every time we put intensity into the game, we controlled it…where we’re sitting in the league is very satisfying at the moment. I was pleased with our attacking structure.â€ said Mike Ford.
Full Time Bath 39-26 Wasps
There were glimmers of hope from Wasps but they stumbled on numerous occasions and failed to keep any possession.
Even Dai Young admitted after the game,
â€œThey were too powerful for us today.â€
And he was right. Bath were adamant this game was going to be theirs for the taking and they proved it with a style of rugby that was free flowing and poisonous on the attack with fast offloads and also structure in defence.
Sam Burgess shared his delight after this crucial home win;
â€œIt was a great team performance, for the first hour I thought we were very clinical, stuck to the game plan very well… it’s a good space to be in as a team where you’re winning…â€
The perfect combination that will enable this top West Country pack to keep winning games. Mike Ford had a vision at the end of last season. Well done.
By Rhiannon Chandler-Day
You can see more from Rhiannon at: http://rhiannonsrugbyunionblog.blogspot.co.uk