All-English Champions Cup affair ends in a draw
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Wasps’ fought back from being 7-21 down at half-time to claim a 35-35 draw at the Ricoh Arena against Premiership rivals Bath.
Making his Champions Cup debut, Joe Cokanasiga got Bath off to a flyer with the 20-year-old powering down the left wing and exchanging passes with scrumhalf Will Chudley and crossing over inside three minutes.
Wasps hit right back, however, with Joe Simpson and Rob Bassett linking up down the blindside off the scrum and giving the latter a simple finish to level things up.
Bath centre Max Wright combined with hooker Jack Walker moments later to give Bath back the lead and Semesa Rokoduguni added another for the West Country outfit, with the wing intercepting a pass 70 metres out and raced to the line to give his side a 21-7 lead at the break.
However, Wasps came firing out of the blocks in the second half with props Kieran Brookes and Zurabi Zhvania bulldozing forward, leaving the latter to offload to Joe Simpson and dot the ball down.
Zurabi was in action once more for Wasps with the Georgian scoring under the posts and moments later Ashley Johnson finished a terrific team try to go ahead.
Charlie Ewels found a gap in Wasps’ defence to level things back up and Springbok Francois Louw gave Bath back the lead with his effort.
But Thomas Young, who was omitted from Wales’ November international squad this week and named Man of the Match, finished off a lovely Wasps move to make it 35-35 with 10 minutes remaining.
Alex Davies – making both his Champions Cup and Bath debut – had a chance to win the game late on with a penalty kick but it went wide and the scores remained level.
Bath travel to the RDS Arena in Round Three to face Leinster, while Wasps head to Toulouse.
Tries: Bassett, Simpson, Zhvania, Johnson, Young
Cons: Sopoaga 5
Tries: Cokanasiga, Wright, Rokoduguni, Ewels, Louw
Cons: Burns 5
Yellow card: Francois Louw (Bath, 32)
Wasps: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Josh Bassett, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Elliot Daly (c), 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Zurabi Zhvania
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Craig Hampson, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Rob Miller
Bath: 15 Darren Atkins, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Max Wright, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Max Green, 22 Alex Davies, 23 Tom Homer
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Éric Briquet-Campin (France)