Beale stings for Wasps
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Kurtley Beale crossed for a double as Wasps stretched their lead at the top of the table with an impressive win over Bath.
Wasps have now won on their last three visits to the Rec for the first time in the professional era and they did the damage in the first half as Christian Wade and then Beale crossed to open up a 14-0 lead.
Tom Homer's penalty just before the interval got Bath on the board but that was as good as it got as the visitors sealed the win in the final quarter when Beale went over for his second.
Victory means table toppers Wasps have only lost once in the last nine rounds of league action while Bath remain fourth but missed out on the chance to stretch their lead over Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints behind them.
Elsewhere, tries from James and Ross Chisholm in the final 10 minutes saw Harlequins come back from 15-27 down to beat Gloucester 30-27 at Kingsholm.
Sharples opened the scoring in first half before tries from Tim Visser and Charlie Mulchrone helped Harlequins to a 12-7 lead at the break. Two quick-fire tries at the start of the second half, from David Halaifonua and Sharples, saw the Cherry & Whites in control before James and Ross Chisholm both crossed in the final ten minutes.
James Lang missed a vital conversion with the scores level but the replacement stepped up in the final minute to slot the winning penalty for Harlequins.
All Saturday's scores and scorers!
Bath 3-24 Wasps
It took a while for Wasps' pressure to tell, Wade had already been denied once before a fine flowing team move put him over in the right corner. Alex Rieder made the initial bust and when the ball came back right, the No.8 was on Cipriani's shoulder to collect and deliver the final pass for Wade to dot down.
Jimmy Gopperth added the extras and Wasps were 7-0 to the good and deservedly so.
Bath finally got some territory on the quarter hour mark and it looked like they had conjured an immediate response when some Adam Hastings magic put David Denton in the corner but a fine Wade cover tackle put the loose forward into touch before he could ground it.
And Wasps then went back up the other end and continued to turn the screw, Beale going over this time as he cut a fabulous line back inside and around fullback Tom Homer, after being fed by Tommy Taylor.
Again Gopperth slotted the conversion and Wasps were seemingly cruising at 14-0, a late TMO ruling on a forward pass only denying Gopperth a try of his own as Bath faltered. But their talisman Gopperth then picked up a knock, although he stayed on, while James Gaskell limped off to stall their momentum.
And before the break, the Bath scrum - which was one of the only areas the hosts were getting any joy - won another penalty and Homer got them on the board at 14-3.
After the break, Gopperth slotted a long-range effort when Chris Cook obstructed Ashley Johnson under a high ball to restore a two-score lead. Bath needed something and they needed it quickly, Taulupe Faletau's break down the left nearly getting them over the line but Thomas Young won a breakdown turnover to relieve the pressure.
The hour mark came and went and still the hosts were struggling for territory and Wasps punished them up the other end with the killer blow.
A series of pick and go's near the line made inroads but it was Beale who dived over when Cipriani and Willie le Roux spread the ball left and with Gopperth's conversion it was 24-3. The final 10 minutes saw Bath briefly threaten as Anthony Watson finally got into the game, while up the other end Wasps chased a fourth try and a bonus point but 24-3 was how it stayed.
Tries: Wade, Beale 2
Cons: Gopperth 3
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 David Denton, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Will Homer, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Kristian Phillips.
Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Willie Le Roux, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Alex Rieder, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Jack Willis, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Guy Armitage, 23 Josh Bassett.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Ross Campbell, Simon McConnell
TMO: David Sainsbury
Gloucester 27-30 Harlequins
Gloucester raced out of the blocks with a try inside five minutes after a 50-metre break from Halaifonua and Sharples dotted down with his try converted by Billy Burns, on his return from injury.
Visser had Harlequins' first try of the afternoon when he dived over in the corner after 23 minutes but Tim Swiel missed the extras. And Harlequins had the lead with half an hour played as their own counter attack saw good work from Joe Marchant and Visser before Mulchrone went over.
Swiel's conversion made the score 12-7 to the visitors but the hosts pulled three points back through a Burns penalty soon after. That effort was cancelled out just before half-time as Gloucester were penalised at the scrum and Swiel restored Harlequins' five-point lead at the break.
Halaifonua brought Gloucester level after an excellent kick-chase from the hosts which saw the ball stolen and worked out to Halaifonua who crossed and Burns added the conversion from the touchline.
And Sharples had his second try soon after following a driving maul from the hosts, before Heinz peeled away and a neat offload from Jacob Rowan put the Gloucester wing through.
Burns was successful with the extras and a 56th-minute penalty from the flyhalf made it 27-15.
But Harlequins weren't finished, as they won a penalty as Gloucester prop Richard Hibbard was shown a yellow card with just 10 minutes to go. James Chisholm's 72nd minute try under the posts brought the visitors back within a single score at 22-27.
Harlequins had a dramatic try bonus point as they earned a turnover in their own half before Marland Yarde charged away before setting up Ross Chisholm to pull them level. Lang missed the vital conversion that would have put his side ahead but made no mistake with a final minute penalty to give his side the victory.
Tries: Sharples 2, Halaifonua
Cons: Burns 3
Pens: Burns 2
Tries: Visser, Mulchrone, Chisholm 2
Cons: Swiel, Lang
Pens: Swiel, Lang
Yellow card: Richard Hibbard (Gloucester, 71)
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 David Halaifonua, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Lewis Ludlow, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Sione Kalamafoni, 21 Callum Braley, 22 James Hook, 23 Henry Trinder.
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Matt Hopper, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Dave Ward (captain), 6 James Chisholm, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Matt Shields, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Luc Jones, 22 James Lang, 23 Alofa Alofa.
Referee: Greg M Garner
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, Matthew O'Grady
TMO: Trevor Fisher