Bath bag vital bonus-point win against Wasps
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Bath secured a vital bonus point at the Rec to keep their Premiership title aspirations alive, digging deep and scoring three essential tries in the last 10 minutes to floor Wasps 29-17 in a compelling fixture.
Jonathan Joseph put the home side ahead early on, spotting a mismatch in midfield and using his agility to create space on the outside arch to scythe his way to the line. Freddie Burns then added the extras to give the home side a foothold in the first-half.
But it was Wasps to strike next through a flash of Fijian flair. Mesmerising footwork from Gaby Lovobalavu sent Nizaam Carr over to level the scores at 7-7 with 15 minutes played.
After some back and forth exchanges, Lovobalavu once again showed a touch of class to put a thundering Nathan Hughes through a gap with a no-look pass right on the gain-line.
🔥 It’s not over till the fat lady sings 🔥
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 5, 2019
Some electrifying running from fit-again Anthony Watson brought Bath deep into Wasps territory, eventually leading to penalty which Freddie Burns dutifully slotted.
One of the great tries ‘that might have been’ was ruled out, the referee deeming Lovobalavu’s final pass to have travelled forward. However, Rob Miller rounded off the half with penalty to send Wasps up into the sheds 10-17.
The free-flowing tempo of the game continued in the opening exchanges of the second-half, Bath piling on the pressure without making a dent on the scoreboard.
It took until the 70th minute before either try line was threatened, as Bath were held up over the line after some powerful carries from the tight five.
Four minutes later, pressure building, Zach Mercer bundled his way over supported by two latched forwards to bring the game to a nail-biting 17-17 with five minutes to play.
The hosts weren’t done yet though. A mistake from Wasps gave Bath another shot at pulling ahead. The ball finally reaching Ruaridh McConnochie who stood up his opposite man before feeding Joe Cokanasiga, unstoppable from short-range.
There was one final twist to the tale. Zach Mercer once again burrowing over from close range after Bath bravely sought the bonus point in the final minute.
Job done at the Rec, setting up the mother of all final rounds in the Premiership.
Tries: Joseph, Mercer 2, Cokanasiga
Cons: Burns, Davies, Fotuali’i
Tries: Carr, Hughes
Cons: Miller 2
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Sam Nixon, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Elliott Stooke, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Alex Davies, 23 Max Wright.
Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Gaby Lovobalavu, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Rob Miller, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Nizaam Carr, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Craig Hampson, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Ross Neal.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Rowan Kitt