Shocking Bath well-beaten again
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Bath’s losing run was extended to five games on Saturday.
Harlequins secured a deserved 28-15 victory at The Rec.
Director of rugby Stuart Hooper saw his team hammered 48-3 by Bristol Bears eight days earlier and they were again well beaten after producing a shocking first-half performance.
* in other Saturday games Northampton Saints beat Wasps 22-17, Leicester Tigers routed Worcester Warriors 41-24 and London Irish edge Gloucester 32-26.
Wasps 17-22 Northampton Saints
Chris Boyd was not impressed with the performance of Northampton despite a 22-17 win over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena making it three successive victories in the Premiership for the Saints.
The visitors built up a 22-0 interval lead with tries from Shaun Adendorff, Sam Matavesi and Taqele Naiyaravoro, to which James Grayson added two conversions and a penalty, as Wasps had forwards Kieran Brookes and James Gaskell sent to the sin-bin.
But Wasps staged a spirited rally in the second half to run Saints close with Rob Miller and Tommy Taylor scoring their tries. Jimmy Gopperth converted one with Jacob Umaga adding a penalty and a conversion. But Northampton director of rugby Boyd was far from happy and said: “In the first 30 minutes we were reasonably good, the second 50 we were rotten.
“We were pretty decent in taking advantage of them going down to 13 men but after that, we were incredibly poor as our decision-making went to pieces and individuals went off score. It’s a good time to review that game as we took a backward step after last week’s good win at Gloucester.
“It was a classic game of two halves as we had the rub of the green and the penalties in our favour in the first half but after the interval, it was a role reversal. After a very poor run of results, I believe we’ve just about dug ourselves out of a hole but a winning run of three games is not a major achievement.
“We could have easily lost that game in the final moments but our defence in keeping them out just before half-time was pivotal.”
Wasps fell to a second home defeat in succession with their director of rugby Lee Blackett making seven changes from last week’s 49-17 mauling at the hands of Harlequins. Blackett said: “We were miles better than last week. We had greater speed and intent but our execution wasn’t very good. We easily had enough opportunities to score but didn’t take them and in the end, our ill-discipline proved costly.
“It’s frustrating as the 14 points we conceded when we were down to 13 men had a big effect on the game and they scored their points a bit easier than we did. It would be great if we had a few of our international players back but their absence gives other players opportunities to impress.”
Tries: Miller, Taylor
Cons: Gopperth, Umaga
For Northampton Saints
Tries: Adendorff, Matavesi, Naiyaravoro
Cons: Grayson 2
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Matteo Minozzi, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Sam Wolstenholme, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Gabriel Oghre, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Tim Cardall, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Ben Harris
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Theo Vukasinovic, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Jacob Umaga, 23 Michael Le Bourgeois
Northampton Saints: 15 Tommy Freeman, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 James Grayson, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Shaun Adendorff, 7 Lewis Ludlam (cc), 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller (cc)
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Tom James, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Ahsee Tuala
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant Referees: George Selwood, Rob Warburton
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Bath 15-28 Harlequins
The losing Bath run was extended to five games as Harlequins secured a deserved 28-15 Premiership victory at The Rec. Director of rugby Stuart Hooper saw his team hammered 48-3 by Bristol Bears eight days earlier and they were again well beaten after producing a shocking first-half performance.
Harlequins backed up their impressive win at Wasps with another success thanks to tries from Alex Dombrandt, Aaron Morris and Danny Care. Hooper must now be fearful for his job because even though Bath scored through Tom Dunn and Tom De Glanville, Harlequins never really looked like losing.
Bath were forced into a late change before kick-off with Josh McNally ruled out. Ethan Staddon came in for his first start with scrum-half Ben Spencer taking over the captaincy. Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland and his opposite number Marcus Smith swapped early penalties, but Quins’ first try was an absolute peach. Louis Lynagh, Mike Brown and Care were all involved in the attack.
Brown could have scored but found Care who popped up to Dombrandt. Smith improved the effort from underneath the posts before dancing through midfield in thrilling fashion. Smith continued his fine start with a penalty to put Harlequins 13-3 up but was then forced off with a blood injury to be replaced by James Lang who immediately kicked three points.
Harlequins were dominant. Dombrandt had a second try ruled out for Joe Marchant blocking the Bath defence from stopping him reaching for the line. It did not stop Quins wing Morris from soon diving over despite Zach Mercer attempting to scrag him high. Smith did not return, but that did not stop his team. Bath were awful and on a rare visit to the opposition 22, they gave away a scrum penalty.
Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni went through a gap at the start of the second half and it looked like Hooper had handed them a rocket at the break. Hooker Dunn went over from close range and Priestland converted, but any hope of a Bath revival was hit by Rokoduguni seeing yellow for a deliberate knock on.
Care immediately dived over to score and Josh Matavesi joined Rokoduguni in the sin bin for a high shot on the former England scrum-half as he scored. Lang converted anyway. Going down to 13 men was never going to help Bath although they did at least stay in the fight until Rokoduguni and Matavesi returned to the field.
Harlequins pushed for a bonus-point score in the final 10 minutes and the only disappointment for them on another promising afternoon was the fact a fourth try did not arrive. De Glanville did grab a late Bath consolation, but the conversion was missed by Tian Schoeman which meant Bath went home with nothing yet again despite incessant late pressure.
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Tries: Dunn, De Glanville
Tries: Dombrandt, Morris, Care
Cons: Smith, Lang
Pens: Smith 2, Lang
Bath: 15 Tom De Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 Mike Williams, 4 Josh McNally (c), 3 Christian Judge, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Kieran Verden, 19 Ewan Richards, 20 Ethan Staddon, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Will Muir
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Will Evans, 6 Archie White, 5 Stephan Lewies (c), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Glen Young, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 James Lang, 23 Tyrone Green
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Simon Harding, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Leicester Tigers 41-24 Worcester Warriors
Argentina hooker Julian Montoya scored two tries as Leicester bulldozed their way to a morale-boosting 41-24 victory over Worcester that was built on forward power. Four of their five tries at Welford Road came from driving mauls the Warriors simply found no way of repelling as the Tigers picked up their third Premiership victory of the season.
Jasper Wiese also touched down twice, while Worcester’s wait for a first win since the opening weekend of the campaign went on. It was a landmark day for Worcester fullback Chris Pennell, who was making his 250th appearance for the club and was given a guard of honour by his team-mates on his way on to the field.
Leicester began on the front foot and, after a chip to the corner, Zack Henry knocked over the first points of the game after nine minutes with a simple penalty. Despite having most of the possession, the Tigers had their lead wiped out by a superbly-struck penalty by Duncan Weir from just inside the Leicester half.
Parity for Worcester did not last long, however, as Leicester scored the first try of the afternoon in the 22nd minute when Montoya broke off a driving maul to barge his way over, with Henry converting. The Leicester forwards then made up for a forward pass from Matias Moroni by winning a penalty from the resulting scrum, which Henry kicked to extend the lead to 13-3 at half-time.
Things did not get any better for Worcester in the second half as they lost Graham Kitchener to the sin bin seven minutes after the restart. Leicester immediately made the most of their man advantage as a driving maul powered its way over, giving Montoya an armchair ride to his second try of the game.
By the time Kitchener returned to the field, the Tigers had stretched even further clear, Wiese managing to bundle his way over under the posts following a succession of drives for the line. Worcester finally had something to cheer in the 57th minute when replacement prop Richard Palframan struck from similarly short-range, with Jamie Shillcock adding the extras.
Leicester then went back to their trusted driving maul to claim the try bonus point, with Tom Youngs this time the man to ground the ball over the line. The Warriors were then handed their second try as Oli Morris ran in following his interception, but the Tigers quickly hit back with yet another pushover score as Wiese claimed his second.
There was still time for the visitors to strike again, as Perry Humphreys was put into the corner by Shillcock’s pass, but not enough for them to snatch a bonus point of their own.
For Leicester Tigers
Tries: Montoya 2, Wiese 2, T Youngs
Cons: Henry 5
Pens: Henry 2
For Worcester Warriors
Tries: Palframan, Morris, Humphreys
Cons: Shillcock 3
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Richard Wigglesworth (c), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Calum Green, 4 Tomás Lavanini, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Luan de Bruin
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 George Martin, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Kini Murimurivalu
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nick David, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Gareth Simpson, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Matt Kvesic (c), 6 Marco Mama, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Marc Thomas
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Ted Hill, 21 Sam Lewis, 22 Francois Hougaard, 23 Jamie Shillcock
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Wayne Falla
TMO: Trevor Fisher
London Irish 32-26 Gloucester
A Blair Cowan double set the stage for London Irish as they squeaked past Gloucester 32-26 at the Brentford Community Stadium to move up to sixth in the Premiership and ruin the first trip back to his old club for visiting boss George Skivington.
The game got off to a flyer with four tries in the opening fifteen minutes – the hosts getting on the board inside the opening thirty seconds. Willi Heinz’s kick was charged down by Adam Coleman who was stopped just short of the line, only for Cowan to finish the job by diving over from a yard and Paddy Jackson added the extras.
Right from the restart, the visitors were on the board, Ollie Thorley challenging the kick-off, Jordy Reid winning possession and palming the ball to Henry Trinder to touch down in the corner despite the best efforts of Nick Phipps. Billy Twelvetrees’ conversion brought the scores level.
Less than five minutes later, Jackson’s looping pass left found a wide-open Ollie Hassell-Collins five metres from the line and he darted to the corner to restore Irish’s lead. Alex Craig was the next to score, Reid breaking through and offloading to the lock who had the simple task of diving over from close range and Twelvetrees’ conversion gave Gloucester their first lead of the game.
After that fast start, neither side posed a threat to each other’s try lines. The hosts came closest when Ciaran Knight was sent to the sin-bin on the stroke of half-time for multiple infringements at a rolling maul, but the home side couldn’t take immediate advantage and they went into the break trailing.
They took advantage less than five minutes after the restart though, Cowan getting his second try of the day after a well-worked lineout routine to give the hosts the lead back. Agustin Creevy was the next on the board, picking up the ball from the back of a rolling maul and barrelling through to the line to extend the hosts’ lead and secure a bonus point.
Gloucester had hope though soon after, Mark Atkinson touching down from close range after a short spell of pressure, although they faced a nervy moment as referee Ian Tempest had to consult the TMO for a potential knock-on in the process.
Twelvetrees’ conversion cut the lead to just one point but Tom Parton gave the hosts the breathing room they needed inside the last 10 minutes, running in untouched following a blistering run through the line by Hassell-Collins from inside his own half.
Jackson found his kicking boots when it counted to push the Irish lead past a score and he added a penalty soon after to put the game out of reach of Gloucester. A late consolation try from Alex Craig gave the visitors a losing bonus point but they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
For London Irish
Tries: Cowan 2, Hassell-Collins, Creevy, Parton
Cons: Jackson 2
Tries: Trinder, Craig 2, Atkinson
Cons: Twelvetrees 3
London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Ben Donnell, 21 Sean O’Brien, 22 Ben Meehan, 23 Theo Brophy Clews
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Santiago Carreras, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Alex Craig, 3 Ciaran Knight, 2 Henry Walker, 1 Jamal Ford-Robinson
Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Oliver Atkins, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Giorgi Kveseladze, 23 Kyle Moyle
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Dean Richards, Paul Dix
TMO: Graham Hughes
Sources: PA & RugbyPass