2019-2020

by BRIAN JENKINS

2019

28th SEPTEMBER 2019 BATH V WORCESTER

Homegrown Gabriel Hamer-Webb and new recruit Lewis Boyce both made their starting debuts at the Rec in the 7-18 defeat against Leicester Tigers in the third round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Leicester controlled possession in the first half scoring two tries and whilst Bath remained focused it was the visitors who capitalised on their opportunities.

Bath had the first scoring opportunity after five minutes, with Freddie Burns attempting a long-range shot at goal. However, the fly-half’s penalty drifted wide to leave the scores level. [0-0]

With 14 minutes on the clock, Leicester got the first points of the game after Bath were penalised for coming in at the side at the breakdown. Tom Hardwick made no mistake from the tee to give his side the lead.  [0-3]

Five minutes later Tigers added to their tally when Greg Bateman made a clean break through the Bath defence to setup a scoring opportunity. The loosehead prop found Tommy Reffell in support and the back rower having the simple task of touching down under the posts.  Hardwick hit the post with the conversion, to leave his side eight points in front. [0-8]

The visitors showed little remorse controlling the possession and their persistence paid off with 13 minutes remaining in the half. It was Ben White, who scored Tigers’ second of the afternoon, as the scrum-half defied the best efforts of the Bath defence to wriggle his way over. Hardwick added the extras to extend his side’s advantage. [0-15]

Bath nearly found their way in for a score of their own shortly before half-time. Josh Bayliss

made a superb jinking run from his own half up into the Tigers’ 22. However, Bath’s progress from the resulting penalty was halted, with referee Andrew Jackson blowing for an infringement at the maul five metres short of the try line.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 0-15 Leicester Tigers

The momentum shifted after the half-time team talks, as Levi Davis continued his rich vein of form scoring his third try in as many weeks. Following some strong pressure in defence, Davis capitalised as the winger jumped into the line to intercept a pass. Leicester had no answer to Davis’ pace, as the 21 year-old ran in from inside his own half to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard. Replacement Rhys Priestland added the extras. [7-15]

With just under 30 minutes to play, Leicester were reduced to 14 men, as Tatfu Polota-Nau was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Will Chudley.

Bath continued to search out a second try spending large parts of the second half in the opposition territory. However, the visitors managed to withstand sustained pressure with some resolute defence.

With 10 minutes remaining, Bath managed to break through the defensive line, as Tom Homer charged through from halfway. The full-back found Davis in support, but the winger was unable to find his earlier burst of pace, as he went down in the 22 clutching his hamstring.

As a result, Davis was forced to leave the field, meaning both sides had to play out the final stages with 14 men.

Tom Hardwick put the result beyond doubt with a drop goal to ensure the points went back to Welford Road.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 7-18 Leicester Tigers

Charlie Ewels led out his team for the first home game of the season, as Bath Rugby secured a bonus-point 36-28 victory over Worcester Warriors at the Rec.

The line-up saw new signings Christian Judge, Josh McNally, Lewis Boyce, Will Stuart and Mike Williams all make their debuts in a game which resulted in a well-earned home win and a performance that provided some great challenge and learnings across the board.

Stuart Hooper’s men opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock, with Worcester penalised for not rolling away. Rhys Priestland signalled for the kick at goal and the fly-half made no mistake from in front of the posts. [3-0]

Just six minutes later, the hosts added the first try of the afternoon through Will Chudley. Full-back Tom Homer made a strong break down the right wing fending off the tackles, before offloading to Will Chudley who was ready and waiting to run the ball in under the posts. Priestland added the extras. [10-0]

Worcester looked dangerous in possession, but Bath’s defence kept the visitors at bay with some hard tackling.

Bath continued their strong start getting over the line once again with 16 minutes played. A dominant rolling maul following the line-out gave Chudley the opportunity to work the ball out to the short side. The impressive Max Clark made a quick and accurate pass to Levi Davis who shot down the wing at speed and crashed over the line for his second try in as many weeks. Priestland was flawless once again from the tee to take the scores to 17-0.

Bath kept the pressure on and Worcester were unable to match the physicality of the Blue, Black and White. With 15 minutes to play in the half, the hosts found themselves in the visitors’ red zone.  A massive drive from the maul saw Bath go over the line, but agonisingly the ball was held up over the line.

Following the five metre scrum, Bath found their way over the line again, but with no TMO in play, the forwards were denied once again.

Bath didn’t relent and the sustained pressure paid off as Stooke powered over the whitewash at close range, just over 10 minutes before the interval. Priestland maintained his 100% kicking record to add some clear daylight between the two sides. [24-0]

It looked like that’s the way the half would finish, but Worcester hit back with three minutes left on the clock. Alan Solomons’ side went through the phases and were rewarded with skipper Marco Mama stepping in side from close range to score. Duncan Weir reduced arrears with the conversion. [24-7]

Half time – Bath Rugby: 24 – 7 Worcester Warriors

The teams came out after half-time with Lewis Boyce coming on for his Bath Rugby debut, with Max Green and Freddie Burns also entering the fray.

Just two minutes into the second half Green was forced off with an injury to his forearm, which saw the versatile de Glanville take to the field in the number nine position.

It was a strong start to the second period for Worcester, who spent large periods camped out in the Bath 22. Some resilient defending saw Bath maintain their 17-point advantage.

 

With 50 minutes on the clock Hooper made a few more changes to his side which saw Tom Dunn and Will Stuart make their first appearances of the season.

With 20 minutes remaining, Melani Nanai capitalised on a loose ball and ran the length of the field. It looked as though he had the score in the bag but de Glanville was hot on his heels and made a spectacular last-ditch tackle, which received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The visitors didn’t have to wait long and two minutes later they got their score, with Ollie Lawrence crashing over the line under the uprights. Weir made it a seven-point score with the resulting conversion. [24-14]

Bath stayed composed and played the game their way, with the forward pack continuing to dominate the set-piece. Following a couple of penalties at the scrum, the referee had no option but to blow for the penalty try – Bath’s bonus-point score. [31-14]

The Blue, Black and White added a fifth of the afternoon through Aled Brew, to all but put the result beyond doubt. Following an attacking scrum, Burns launched a monstrous pass out wide, which found the grateful hands of Brew, to extend Bath’s advantage. [36-14]

With the game drifting into the red, Worcester added two consolation scores. First replacement Ted Hill got in on the act with a solo effort in the Bath 22. The visitors secured their bonus-point, with Francois Hougaard managing to scramble his way over the whitewash.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 36-28 Worcester Warriors

 

5th OCTOBER 2019 BATH V LEICESTER

Homegrown Gabriel Hamer-Webb and new recruit Lewis Boyce both made their starting debuts at the Rec in the 7-18 defeat against Leicester Tigers in the third round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Leicester controlled possession in the first half scoring two tries and whilst Bath remained focused it was the visitors who capitalised on their opportunities.

Bath had the first scoring opportunity after five minutes, with Freddie Burns attempting a long-range shot at goal. However, the fly-half’s penalty drifted wide to leave the scores level. [0-0]

With 14 minutes on the clock, Leicester got the first points of the game after Bath were penalised for coming in at the side at the breakdown. Tom Hardwick made no mistake from the tee to give his side the lead.  [0-3]

Five minutes later Tigers added to their tally when Greg Bateman made a clean break through the Bath defence to setup a scoring opportunity. The loosehead prop found Tommy Reffell in support and the back rower having the simple task of touching down under the posts.  Hardwick hit the post with the conversion, to leave his side eight points in front. [0-8]

The visitors showed little remorse controlling the possession and their persistence paid off with 13 minutes remaining in the half. It was Ben White, who scored Tigers’ second of the afternoon, as the scrum-half defied the best efforts of the Bath defence to wriggle his way over. Hardwick added the extras to extend his side’s advantage. [0-15]

Bath nearly found their way in for a score of their own shortly before half-time. Josh Bayliss

made a superb jinking run from his own half up into the Tigers’ 22. However, Bath’s progress from the resulting penalty was halted, with referee Andrew Jackson blowing for an infringement at the maul five metres short of the try line.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 0-15 Leicester Tigers

The momentum shifted after the half-time team talks, as Levi Davis continued his rich vein of form scoring his third try in as many weeks. Following some strong pressure in defence, Davis capitalised as the winger jumped into the line to intercept a pass. Leicester had no answer to Davis’ pace, as the 21 year-old ran in from inside his own half to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard. Replacement Rhys Priestland added the extras. [7-15]

With just under 30 minutes to play, Leicester were reduced to 14 men, as Tatfu Polota-Nau was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Will Chudley.

Bath continued to search out a second try spending large parts of the second half in the opposition territory. However, the visitors managed to withstand sustained pressure with some resolute defence.

With 10 minutes remaining, Bath managed to break through the defensive line, as Tom Homer charged through from halfway. The full-back found Davis in support, but the winger was unable to find his earlier burst of pace, as he went down in the 22 clutching his hamstring.

As a result, Davis was forced to leave the field, meaning both sides had to play out the final stages with 14 men.

Tom Hardwick put the result beyond doubt with a drop goal to ensure the points went back to Welford Road.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 7-18 Leicester Tigers

11TH OCTOBER 2019 GLOUCESTER V BATH

Bath Rugby rocked Kingsholm as the Blue, Black and White dominated in the final 40 to secure a 24-26 win over West Country rivals Gloucester Rugby in the fourth round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Stuart Hooper’s side claimed a bonus-point victory and moved up to second in the group, with games still yet to be played this weekend.

Gloucester were the first to get on the board after just five minutes with Louis Rees-Zammit pouncing over the whitewash following a Bath line-out. Bath were caught out and made a deep pass which went to ground and the Gloucester wing. Lloyd Evans added the extras for the hosts. [7-0]

Gloucester’s shape and defensive purpose put Bath under pressure and with a pick and go from the base of the ruck five meters out, allowed Gloucester to capitalise and add another score. After TMO referral, referee Ian Tempest awarded the try. [12-0]

The hosts kept compiling the pressure and continued to create space to attack the Bath defensive line. But Gloucester added a third with Charlie Chapman dodging his way through to give the Cherry and Whites their third try of the game. Evans found his boot and the ball went sailing through the centre of the sticks. [19-0]

Just moments later the hosts struck again after moving the ball wide with purpose and pace to the right-hand side of the pitch before Jake Morris crashed over. With just 22 minutes on the clock Gloucester had added their bonus-point try. [24-0]

The teams went through the phases and Bath persevered with their game plan delivering a platform to attack with seven minutes left of the half. The visitors were finding the phases to provide the momentum required to get them on the board.

Bath got themselves back into the game after half an hour when the visitors found themselves five meters from the line. A solid Bath scrum saw the forward pack use the driving maul to get over the line. Captain Ross Batty found the ground giving his team some much needed relief. Alex Davies added the extras from the tee. [24-7]

There was a distinct change in style from the Blue, Black and White in the dying minutes of the first-half and just moments after making their first score Bath found themselves over the line again. Levi Douglas supported Will Stuart over the line to score his first try for Bath to narrow the deficit. [24-12]

Half-time – Gloucester Rugby 24 – Bath Rugby 12

In a second period that saw Bath dominate proceedings, Gloucester looked to break the mould and disrupt any chance of the visitors coming away with a result. But the hosts made a long pass into the midfield which allowed Freddie Burns to grasp the ball out of the air and race clear to score under the posts in front of the iconic shed at Kingsholm. Burns converted his score. [24-19]

The hosts put themselves under pressure with some poor handling being the fault to their downfall as Bath’s drive and go got them over the whitewash once more. Bath won the lineout and moved with speed which saw Jack Walker crash over. Burns found his boot and added the extras. [24-26]

The Blue, Black and White delivered a half of dominant scrummaging and driving mauls and scored 26 unanswered points to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Bath maintained the pressure and continued to disrupt Gloucester’s game. Their attempts to regain control came to nothing as the clock continued to count down.

A spectacular come back from the visitors who won the evening by adapting their game in order to disrupt the opposition to bring home the win.

18th OCTOBER 2019 BRISTOL V BATH

A clinical second-half showing from Bristol Bears secured a 43-16 victory over Bath Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership opener at Ashton Gate.

Bristol Bears made their intentions known from the start with a try inside the first few minutes of the game. A powerful run from Nathan Hughes set up the platform for quick ball inside the 22. Play was recycled wide to Charles Piutau, who used his footwork to offload to Luke Morahan, with the winger going over in the corner. [5-0]

Bath got on the board immediately after the restart, with Rhys Priestland slotting a penalty following a Bristol infringement. [5-3]

Bristol added a second on 12 minutes, with Piutau the provider once again as the full-back made a clean line break before offloading to Hughes to finish under the posts. Callum Sheedy added the extra points. [12-3]

The visitors continued to rally and edged closer on the scoreboard with a second penalty of the evening from Priestland to reduce the deficit to six points. [12-6]

Bath got their first try of the evening with less than 15 minutes to play in the half courtesy of some quick thinking from Aled Brew. After stealing the line-out, Brew hacked forward into the Bristol 22. The chase from Max Clark put the retreating Bristol defence under pressure, as the centre marshalled Mat Protheroe to touch deep inside the 22. The driving maul, which had been a big asset over the last four weeks paid dividends once again, as Zach Mercer peeled away from the back to power over from close range. Priestland added the extras to put Bath in the lead. [12-13]

With the clock ticking into the red, Bristol has the final say of the half, using the numbers out wide to put Protheroe through in the corner. Sheedy missed the resulting conversion, with Bristol four points ahead at the interval.

Half-time – Bristol Bears 17-13 Bath Rugby 

Both sides began the second-half as they did the first, with raw power and intensity, but it was Bristol who mounted scoring opportunities in the Bath 22. However, some resilient defence from the likes of Beno Obano, Tom Dunn and Mike Williams kept the Bristol attack at bay in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

It was the home side, who added further ground on the scoreboard with a counter attacking move finished by Piers O’Conor. A length of the field breakaway saw Hughes combine with O’Conor out wide, to provide a simple finish for the centre. [24-13]

Bath hit back immediately with another Priestland penalty, to put his side within eight points. [24-16]

With 14 minutes to go, replacement Lewis Boyce was shown a yellow card for a high tackle, whilst defending his own line. With the man advantage, Bristol went for touch and John Afoa was on hand to go over from the rolling maul in the corner. [31-16]

Bristol sealed the victory three minutes from time, as the home side moved the ball from left to right, with Ioan Lloyd on hand to cross the whitewash. [36-16]

An overlap in the Bath 22 created one final score for Pat Lam’s side, with Luke Morahan the beneficiary, as the Australian crossed in the corner.

Bath return to action next Friday, with Exeter Chiefs the visitors to the Rec.

Full-time – Bristol Bears 43-16 Bath Rugby  

25th OCTOBER 2019 BATH V EXETER

Bath Rugby produced a monumental physical display to secure a hard-fought 13-10 victory over last season’s Gallagher Premiership finalists Exeter Chiefs.

It was an emotional start to the fixture which saw Bath Rugby remember one of their own. Academy player Max McMullen lost his life last week in a tragic accident and the Club, alongside Max’s family and a full house of supporters shared in a one-minute applause to celebrate his life and his love for this game.

Battling torrential rain and swirling winds, the conditions tested both sides in a bruising encounter at the Rec. The hosts opened the scoring after just five minutes following a Chiefs infringement at the breakdown. Rhys Priestland made no mistake from the tee to give his side the early lead. [3-0]

Chiefs hit back 10 minutes later with the first try of the game scored by Jonny Hill. Despite some resolute Bath defence, the visitors mounted phase after phase before Hill managed to break through to cross the whitewash. Joe Simmonds added the extras to put Chiefs in front on the scoreboard. [3-7]

Bath’s defensive effort was there for all to see making 60 tackles in the opening 20 minutes, whilst challenging the Chiefs defence with some clever attacking sets. However, neither side were able to capitalise on their tireless efforts until the Premiership finalists struck with five minutes to play in the half.

After being penalised for a high tackle, Simmonds added another three points to extend his side’s lead. [3-10]

The hosts remained focused and found a crucial score with the clock in the red. Concerted pressure in the 22 resulted in Tom Dunn crashing over to reduce arrears. Priestland’s kick soared through the centre of the posts to send the two teams into the break all square.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 10-10 Exeter Chiefs

The second half saw the horrendous weather conditions continue yet Bath continued to rally, as they piled on the pressure. Seven minutes into the half, Priestland took the opportunity to put his side three points in front with another successful penalty.

Some excellent game management from the fly-half saw the Blue, Black and White win the territorial battle and nullify the attacking threat of Rob Baxter’s side.

The defining moment in the game came 13 minutes from time, as Exeter looked to find a crucial score. After gathering the ball just outside his own 22, Alex Cuthbert glided past the Bath defenders and looked almost certain to dot down in the corner. Fast on his shoulder was Zach Mercer, who forced the Welsh winger into touch with the help of Freddie Burns, who had replaced the injured Jamie Roberts moments earlier.

Bath continued to show their grit and application from the preparation during the week in a game where discipline was key. With four minutes to play, the hugely impressive pack won a scrum penalty, which put Bath back into the Chiefs half. A superb break from Chris Cook from the resulting line-out saw the replacement scrum-half offload to Josh Bayliss, who put Bath on the front foot in the 22. The 14,290 crowd were quick to get behind the Blue, Black and White as they had done all the game to drive the team over the line.

With 80 seconds to play, JP Doyle signalled for a Bath penalty in front of the sticks. Sensing the close nature of the contest, captain Charlie Ewels called for the scrum. The decision paid dividends, as Bath continued to pile the pressure on the Chiefs defence. With the victory in the bag, the ball was played out to Priestland, who fired the ball into the stands for a well-deserved victory.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 13-10 Exeter Chiefs

2nd NOVEMBER 2019 WASPS V BATH

A late Dan Robson try sealed a 30-22 victory for Wasps over Bath Rugby at the Ricoh Arena.

Ollie Fox was thrusted into action for his Gallagher Premiership debut, with Chris Cook ruled out through a bug, which had affected other members of the squad earlier in the week.

It was a tentative opening, but Bath got the first points on the board through Rhys Priestland. After going mounting the phases, Wasps were penalised for offside and the fly-half notched a close-range penalty with just three minutes on the clock. [0-3]

Moments after Lima Sopoaga had struck the post with a penalty attempt, but Bath doubled their lead with 24 minutes on the clock. Priestland stepped up and made no mistake with his effort from in front of the posts.

With the game heading into the final 10 minutes of the half, Sopoaga made up for his earlier miss after Bath were pinged for holding on. [3-6]

The New Zealand international drew his side level three minutes later, as the fly-half slotted a routine penalty following a deliberate knock-on. [6-6]

The scoreboard kept ticking over, but it was Bath who found themselves back in the lead after a good period of possession inside the Wasps half. After referee Adam Woodthorpe had blown for an offside, Priestland maintained his 100% record from the boot to give his side a three-point advantage. [6-9]

There was just time for Wasps to have their say with the first try of the afternoon, as the clock ticked into the Red. Second rower Will Rowlands broke through a Bath tackle in the 22 and clambered his way over to score under the posts. Sopoaga’s conversion put Wasps four points in front at the interval.

Half-time – Wasps 13-9 Bath Rugby 

Bath came out with urgency in the second half, as they looked to build on their first half showing.

Eight minutes in, Zach Mercer bundled over for his second try of the season. It was Freddie Burns, who set the momentum for the move, as the full-back cleverly kept in Sopoaga’s kick to touch inside his 22. Priestland then sent a high ball into the Wasps half, which was gathered by the leaping Semesa Rokoduguni, who soared into the danger zone. Despite being hauled to touch, Bath stole the resulting line-out and continued to plough away at the Wasps line.

Following a series of phases and intervention from the TMO, it was Mercer, who grounded the ball under a pile of yellow shirts. Priestland added the extras to regain the lead. [13-16]

Another Priestland penalty saw Bath move into a six-point lead with just under half an hour remaining at the Ricoh Arena.

Wasps continued to rally and Brad Shields was the beneficiary following a well-executed move from the scrum. Dai Young’s side powered into the Bath 22, and after going close in the corner, the England international edged his way over the line. Sopoaga’s kick ensured his side had a one-point advantage going into the last 15 minutes.

With seven minutes to go, Wasps got their crucial try, as the Coventry-based side capitalised on the numbers out wide. Replacement Tom Cruse made a half-break on the right wing before finding Dan Robson with the offload, which gave Sopoaga the easy conversion attempt. [27-19]

Rhys Priestland added another penalty to his tally with just over a minute to play, to put Bath within losing bonus-point range. Despite a valiant effort to attack from the restart, Sopoaga ensured Bath would leave empty handed with a successful kick from the tee.

Bath will now welcome Northampton to the Rec next Saturday, as they look to end Saints’ unbeaten start to the Gallagher Premiership campaign.

Full-time – Wasps 30-22 Bath Rugby

9th NOVEMBER 2019 BATH V NORTHAMPTON

Bath Rugby were spurred on by a raucous home crowd, as they scored three times on their way to victory with a dominant forward display over Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday.

It was a cold and wet start to the Saturday afternoon clash which saw Bath Rugby’s Will Chudley cross the whitewash after going eight points down, but with an added Priestland penalty the hosts were up at half-time.

A dominant second period from the Blue, Black and White allowed Will Stuart and Zach Mercer to score during a rampant second period at the Rec.

Northampton began their Premiership campaign with three straight victories, and the visitors oozed confidence as they looked to continue their form. Chris Boyd’s men started well and replicated their pressure game as they opened the scoring in the first minute of the game.

Rory Hutchinson the beneficiary after charging down Priestlands kick which allowed Northampton a dream start. James Grayson’s effort at the posts was edged left of the target. [0-5]

Eight minutes later Bath were penalised for holding on and this time Grayson managed to add the points for his side. Off the top of the laces he guided the ball through the centre of the sticks giving Saints an eight-point lead with just nine minutes on the clock. [0-8]

The conditions dictated how the game was being played, a wet surface meant that play remained narrow and the set piece took dominance during the first-half. Bath however remained solid in their platform and continued to use it to apply pressure on Saints.

Following Semese Rokoduguni’s early departure in the game, Gabriel Hamer-Webb shone against a side that were undefeated with a tough task of keeping Taqele Nayaravoro at bay, to which the 18-year-old succeeded.

With just over half of the first forty minutes passed, the hosts won their scrum and were strong in the resulting drive. Some quick ball from Max Wright, Aled Brew and Will Chudley created space for Rhys Priestland and Tom Ellis to gain solid ground. Bath recycled the ball to Chudley and the scrum-half worked his magic following his instrumental involvement in the first break. He was rewarded with a solo try just to the left of the posts. Priestland added the extras allowing Bath to get back into the mix on the scoreboard. [7-8]

A further ten minutes passed before any more points were collected. A penalty was awarded to Bath after Saints’ Ben Franks made a no arms tackle. Priestland pointed for the posts and claimed two for his team meaning the Blue, Black and White took the lead for the first time with 31 minutes on the clock. [10-8]

The stats were even on all counts from possession and the penalty count to the 100% record on the set piece. Bath however, were on top as the teams went in for half-time.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 10-8 Northampton Saints

Bath began the second-half keeping the ball in possession which allowed the hosts to keep the pressure going forward in the scrum. However the sides efforts were cut short as Aled Brew was shown the red card for a dangerous tackle.

Bath responded with great character and just minutes after going down to fourteen men Will Stuart crashed over the whitewash. Saints had given away two penalties and Bath were ruthless in their attack. The hosts had a scrum five meters out and used the maul to drive over the line with 50 minutes on the clock. [15-8]

Ten minutes later Saints responded as they collected another score. It looked like Tom Wood was held up, but referee Ian Tempest went to the TMO who adjudged that there was no reason not to award the score. The battle at the Rec remained close as Saints nudged the scores to within two at 60 minutes. [15-13]

Heading into the final quarter, Saints were put under immense pressure as the Bath forwards dominated eight scrums in a row. The hosts were uncompromising and delivered an outstanding platform and possibly the most important play of the game. Saints were down to 13-men following a yellow card for Ben Franks. Just moments later the crowd erupted with a standing ovation with Saints being given a warning as Paul Hill was given a yellow, with Northampton down to 13-men.

With less than ten minutes remaining Mercer peeled off the back of the scrum and darted over to score under the posts. Priestland added the much-needed extras. [22-13]

Bath kept to their systems well to bring Saints down. The belief was there as the squad played for each other and the supporters in the final minute to bring home an outstanding win at the Rec.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 22-13 Northampton Saints

Bath Rugby switch their attention to the Heineken Champions Cup next weekend with Ulster Rugby the visitors in round one.

  1. Zach Mercer, 7. Josh Bayliss, 6. Tom Ellis, 5. Charlie Ewels (C), 4. Josh McNally, 3. Will Stuart, 2. Tom Dunn, 1. Beno Obano; 9. Will Chudley, 10. Rhys Priestland, 11. Aled Brew, 12. Jamie Roberts, 13. Max Wright, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 15. Freddie Burns

Replacements

  1. Jack Walker, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Elliott Stooke, 20. Mike Williams, 21. Chris Cook, 22. Jackson Willison, 23. Gabe Hamer-Webb

16TH NOVEMBER 2019 BATH V ULSTER

Bath Rugby kicked off their Heineken Champions Cup campaign this afternoon, but it was Ulster Rugby who ground out a 16-17 victory at the Rec.

Bath had the first scoring opportunity five minutes into the game, with Ulster penalised just inside their own half. Rhys Priestland stepped up and connected well, but the fly-half’s long-range effort swayed just wide of the uprights. [0-0]

Just under 10 minutes later, the visitors scored the opening try of the game against the run of play. A charged down kick saw John Cooney capitalise and the scrum-half proceeded to hack the ball forward and gather to dot down under the sticks. Cooney, who was a pivotal figure throughout for last season’s quarter-finalists converted his own score. [0-7]

Bath enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, with their defensive effort epitomised by some crunching tackles from Beno Obano. Their patience was rewarded 26 minutes in with Freddie Burns notching a monstrous kick just shy of the halfway line. [3-7]

The Blue, Black and White found themselves within a point moments later, after the Pro14 outfit were penalised for offside after play had moved into the 22. Burns pointed to the sticks and slotted the routine penalty to reduce arrears. [6-7]

It looked like Ulster would extend their lead in the red, but Cooney uncharacteristically missed a penalty from just to the right of the posts to leave the tie closely poised at 6-7.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 6 Ulster Rugby 7

Ulster came out of the blocks firing in the second-half and were agonisingly close to their second try of the game 10 minutes in. The chance was orchestrated by Luke Marshall, who broke through the Bath defence, with a subsequent offload finding Cooney. However, with the try line at his mercy, the scrum-half was unable to hold on to the ball five metres from the try line.

Seven minutes later they got their reward for the persistent efforts in attack. Full-back Will Addison put a neat kick down the touch line which allowed Rob Lyttle to run on to the ball and score in the corner. Cooney made no mistake to add the extras to put his side eight points in front. [6-14]

Bath responded well and found themselves back in the game with less than 20 minutes remaining. The ball was shipped wide to Jonathan Joseph, who in turn found Gabe Hamer-Webb out wide. Hamer-Webb, who was part of the Bath Rugby programme at Beechen Cliff School last year, soared past Addison to score with his first touch. Burns put his side within a point. [13-14]

Shortly after the try, the hosts had the opportunity to go in front for the first time in the game, with Priestland setting his sights on another long-range penalty. The fly-half kept cool under pressure to ensure a tense finale at the Rec. [16-14]

With 10 minutes to go, Cooney had the opportunity to put his side back in the lead, and the Heineken Man of the Match made no mistake from 15 metres out.

A Bath Rugby infringement gave Cooney the opportunity to put his side back in the lead from close-range and he made no mistake just 15 metres out. [16-17]

The Blue, Black and White diligently worked the ball deep into the Ulster Rugby half as the clock went into the red. Chris Cook found Zach Mercer with a clever offload just outside the 22, with the number eight gathering momentum in the danger zone. Mercer looked to find Semesa Rokoduguni out wide from less than 10 metres out, but Jacob Stockdale and Cooney halted the move to secure the points for the away side.

Bath Rugby will now travel to Harlequins on Saturday 23rd November for round two of the Heineken Champions Cup at Twickenham Stoop.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 16 Ulster Rugby 17

23rd NOVEMBER 2019 HARLEQUINS V BATH

In a game that Harlequins managed to apply pressure and enjoy field position more frequently than their visitors, the early lead that they built in the first half of nine points was never recovered with the 15-9 win for the home team resulting in just a losing bonus point for Bath.

Quins displayed a clinical kicking show to keep notching the scoreboard, ultimately punishing Bath on a cold and wet night at The Stoop. The hosts scored five penalties to the visitors three, in a gritty arm wrestle in round two of the Heineken Champions Cup.

The first points went to the hosts, a penalty at the scrum meant that Marcus Smith had a chance at three points with just two minutes on the clock. His kick sliced through the uprights and Quins found themselves in the lead. [3-0]

Six further minutes passed and Quins added to their tally with another penalty kick. Gustard’s men gained a penalty at the breakdown, Smith pushed the kick through the posts from 35 metres out with just ten minutes gone on the clock. [6-0]

Bath’s defence was well organised and the visitors were competing well at the breakdown. The conditions started to worsen, and Bath were holding the hosts out, having small periods of possession but the territory remained with Quins.

Bath found space to attack with ten minutes on the clock with a Freddie Burns and Ruaridh McConnochie combination, but Quins defence halted the visitors attempts.

Quins got their third kick at goal with 14 minutes on the clock after Bath were penalised at the breakdown for clearing a player past the ruck. Smith nailed his kick, this time from 40m out.

In a first-half with no trys and both teams failing to get in to either 22, it was simply errors and Smith’s accuracy providing the opportunity for Quins. [9-0]

With 22 minutes gone, the hosts moved close to the Bath try line, another period of strong Bath defence held out, and the ball spun forward to give Bath a scrum. The visitors dug in and held their ground well and a free kick meant Freddie Burns was able to clear the ball taking play back to the half-way.

In what was tense and low scoring game, it was pressure and penalties that allowed Harlequins to get a grip on the game in the first 25 minutes.

Bath endured a number of Harlequins attacks and had to field kick after kick from the boot of both Danny Care and Marcus Smith, as the opposition half backs put the ball in the air and plugged space in the Bath backfield.

The pressure that had resulted in a few early infringements gave Harlequins a chance to build their lead in the first half, in an otherwise uneventful first half.

Struggling for field position and with only small amounts of possession to call their own in the first 40 minutes, Bath headed into half-time with some questions to answer, yet knowing they had seen anything special from the hosts.

 HALF TIME 

HARLEQUINS 9 – 0 BATH RUGBY

Bath came out of the blocks with intent and immediately drove play into the Quins 22 for the first time but it was dampened by the Quins defence.

At 45 minutes Quins made a break and it looked like they might crash over but Marcus Smith was bought to ground just meters out as Bath continued to defend well.

Four minutes later, Quins then found another three. A penalty from a scrum out meant they had chance to kick at goal and they did just that adding to their tally with 49 minutes past. Smith slotted the ball on the tee and clipped it over the posts. [12-0]

With 11 minutes of the second-half passed Bath finally got on the scoreboard from a penalty kick. Freddie Burns found his laces to help his side get back into the game. [12-3]

Bath delivered their biggest attack of the game at 57 minutes but an inaccurate pass stopped them in their tracks. Bath managed to take a penalty from the play and Burns successfully found two from two. [12-6]

At this stage there were still no trys and really only one threatening phase of play from either team.  Bath continued to shift the momentum but it was a huge wrestle with little reward.

Twenty minutes passed before the next points were found. This time a long-range penalty kick to Quins for Bath not rolling away meant that Smith delivered a further three for his side with 74 on the clock. [15-6]

At 75 minutes Quins Elia Elia was shown a yellow and the hosts were down to 14 men for the final five minutes.

The final score of the game went to Bath and it was another penalty. Burns kicked at goal to find three for his side with just two minutes to go. [15-9]

Ultimately, the lack of continuity in attack and having been unable to find a foothold through any single area of the game, Bath were never far away from Harlequins on the scoreboard, but never looked certain to challenge the oppositions defence.

In challenging conditions and with a lot at stake in terms of competition points in the Champions Cup, Bath left the Stoop both frustrated and disappointed with their lack of game control and their inability on the night to apply pressure through their attack or kicking game.

FULL TIME

HARLEQUINS 15 – 9 BATH RUGBY

Francois Louw, 7. Josh Bayliss, 6. Elliot Stooke, 5. Charlie Ewels (C), 4. Josh McNally, 3. Christian Judge, 2. Jack Walker, 1. Lewis Boyce; 9. Chris Cook, 10. Freddie Burns, 11. Ruaridh McConnochie, 12. Max Wright, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 15. Antony Watson

Replacements

  1. Tom Dunn, 17. Beno Obano, 18. Will Stuart, 19. Matt Garvey, 20. Rhys Davies, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Jamie Roberts

29TH NOVEMBER 2019 BATH V SARACENS

Owen Farrell scored 20 points as reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens battled past Bath Rugby to secure a 12-25 victory at the Rec.

In a game that saw nine players from the Rugby World Cup Final feature across the starting line-ups, it was a game filled with international talent on a cold evening under the Friday night lights.

Bath started with a force and a drive, taking the game to Saracens from the off and making their intentions clear to the visitors.

Saracens coming into the game with, what many would consider, their strongest line-up were tested at every possible opportunity by a Bath team keen to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat against Harlequins.

Early pressure at scrum time from the Bath pack forced the error from Saracens and provided Rhys Priestland with the first chance to open the scoring with just three minutes played. The Welsh fly-half made no mistake, as he gave the Blue, Black and White the early lead. [3-0]

In the early exchanges Bath showed real endeavour against a team renowned for its defence. However, six minutes after Priestland’s successful kick, Farrell made light work of the kick from 35 metres out following an infringement at the ruck. [3-3]

The cold conditions were making handling tricky, but Bath capitalised on an offside with Rhys Priestland was once again immaculate from the tee to put his side back in front. [6-3]

After a slow start by their standards, Saracens were not going to be shaken off easily and Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over with another successful kick at goal with the game only 17 minutes old.

After a period of sustained pressure, Bath got their just rewards with the visitors penalised for a Maro Itoje trip on Will Chudley at the ruck with 10 minutes to go in the half. Priestland knocked over the kick with minimum fuss to maintain his 100% record. [9-6]

With the game slowly heading towards the interval, Saracens began to show the quality which saw them win the double last season. From the kick off, Mark McCall’s men pushed and probed with a series of defence splitting breaks and some fine handling sent Scotland international Sean Maitland over the line to push Saracens into the lead for the first time.  Owen Farrell was on point with his conversion to extend the visitors lead to four. [9-13]

Saracens were growing in confidence as the half drew to a close, and despite Bath constantly battering at the Saracens defensive door, a penalty at the scrum in front of the posts gave Owen Farrell the chance to add another three points.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 9-16 Saracens

Saracens came out firing at the start of the second half, with a high defensive line forcing the error from Bath. Owen Farrell took his tally to 14 points with the successful penalty. [9-19]

Bath may have been down by 10 points, but they continued to show resilience and fight epitomised by a phenomenal break by Tom Homer.  After a period of concerted pressure, Itoje was caught off his feet at the breakdown and Priestland duly stepped up and notched another three points to reduce the deficit to seven. [12-19]

From the resulting kick-off, Bath were unable to retain possession and were caught offside, allowing Owen Farrell to make the kick and restore Saracens 10-point advantage with just over 20 minutes to play. [12-22]

Imperious from the tee, Farrell scored another quickfire penalty to give his side a commanding lead with 17 minutes left on the clock in a Man of the Match display from the fly-half. [12-25]

A cynical foul from Itoje saw the England international yellow carded after a barnstorming break from Jamie Roberts with less than 10 minutes remaining. Bath persisted to find the score, which would take them back into losing bonus-point territory.  Despite testing the Saracens line, the visitors proved a tough nut to crack and were unable to find the breakthrough.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 12-25 Saracens

6th DECEMBER 2019 BATH V CLERMONT AUVERGNE

Bath Rugby were beaten 34-17 after a dominant second-half display from Clermont Auvergne in Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup at the Rec on Friday evening.

In a tightly contested opening period, the Blue, Black and White employed a resilient defensive display and put Clermont on the back foot, as both sides looked to get a hold of the game.

Bath Rugby got their reward after 13 minutes, the ball went through five phases and after portraying a great deal of patience, the sides persistence paid off as Rhys Priestland found his way over the whitewash. The fly-half opened up a gap in the Clermont defence after a show and go from the 22 and the Welsh international crashed over unopposed in the corner. Priestland then converted his own score giving his side an early lead. [7-0]

The hosts kept momentum flowing with their attacking game and just five minutes later looked to add a second. However, after some scrambling defence from the French giants, with Nick Abendanon forcing a knock-on in contact.

Clermont responded well as the French giants added a score of their own. George Moala wriggled his way over the whitewash after showing great strength from ten meters out. Camille Lopez levelled the scores after 27 minutes of play. [7-7]

In a tightly contested affair, Bath looked to add to their score as Priestland went through for what looked to be his second of the game, but referee Andrew Brace called back play as the Blue, Black and White were deemed to have obstructed in the build-up.

Clermont contained a number of attacking threats during the opening 40 minutes and Bath were unable to build a lead. The hosts dominated possession and territory during the first period but that did not show on the scoreboard as the two sides went into half-time.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 7-7 Clermont Auvergne

Clermont looked to gain the lead just five minutes into the second-half, as fly-half Camille Lopez sat in the pocket and his attempted drop-goal from 30-yards out went shy of the uprights. [10-10]

Just one minute later Clermont were however then able to take the lead after a lapse in concentration let the hosts down from the breakdown. Greg Laidlaw slotted his effort through the sticks with ease. [7-10]

The hosts responded well just three minutes later with some fantastic expansive rugby. Bath Rugby were rewarded for their persistence after Brace awarded a penalty against Clermont for not rolling away. Priestland levelled the scores from 15-yards out. [10-10]

After 53 minutes on the clock, Bath’s discipline took its toll and Clermont were on hand to take advantage after Bath were caught offside. Laidlaw again went for the posts and gave his side the lead. [10-13]

Shortly after Laidlaw had another chance to add to Clermont’s lead but this time, the Scotland internationals kick was dragged wide of the posts. [10-13]

The French side continued to keep compiling the pressure and with 15 minutes left of play, Samuel Azeala came off the wing and crashed over following an excellent break through and offload from Moala. Laidlaw added the extras to extend the lead to seven points. [10-20]

In as many minutes, Azeala played a pivotal role in an exuberant attack from Clermont to add another try. The wing received the ball from Fritz Lee and after being brought down two meters short, he popped the ball unselfishly to Alexandre Lapandry to score. Laidlaw extended his sides lead. [10-27]

Clermont sealed the result with their fourth try of the game to secure a bonus-point win as Azeala found his way over for his brace. Laidlaw added another to add to his impressive tally in the second-half. [10-34]

With five minutes left, Jonathan Joseph crashed over the whitewash after some solid build-up play. Priestland added two from the tee. [22-34]

Full-Time – Bath Rugby 17-34 Clermont Auvergne

Bath Rugby travel to Clermont Auvergne next Sunday in the return tie of the double header in Round Four of the Heineken Champions Cup.

 

  1. Francois Louw (C), 7. Josh Bayliss, 6.Mike Williams, 5. Elliot Stooke, 4. Josh McNally, 3. Will Stuart, 2. Tom Dunn, 1. Beno Obano; 9. Chris Cook, 10. Rhys Priestland, 11. Ruaridh McConnochie, 12. Jamie Roberts, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 15. Tom Homer

Replacements

  1. Jack Walker, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Matt Garvey, 20. Rhys Davies, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Freddie Burns, 23. Aled Brew

 

15th DECEMBER 2019 CLARMONT AUVERGNE V BATH

Clermont Auvergne put on a scintillating display to come away with a 52-26 win over Bath Rugby, with the visitors being the only side to score four tries against last season’s Challenge Cup winners at the Stade Marcel-Michelin this season.

The Yellow Army were well supported in a packed-out Stade Marcel-Michelin, as the French crowd spurred their side on to score eight tries, with Bath Rugby claiming a bonus-point which provided an unbelievable stage for Round 4 of the Heineken Champions Cup.

The hosts who are unbeaten by an English team at the Stade Marcel-Michelin since 2008, took just four minutes to put their first score on the board. Clermont put together a well-constructed maul which set up the platform for a powerful peeling run from Hooker John Ulugia, who proved too much for Bath’s defensive line from close range. Morgan Parra added the extras and it was evident the impact of what the yellow army have on their side. [7-0]

Just six minutes later, Clermont scored their second from International centre David Penaud who went over in the corner after evading two defenders. Clermont fired the ball down the blind side as Penaud finished well from the move. Parra nailed the ball through the sticks to extend the score. [14-0]

Clermont continued to fire on all cylinders as the Bath defence found it hard to contain them. The physical side were dominating the breakdown and it took just four more minutes before they scored their third. Alvereti Raka went over after Ben Whitehouse played advantage to the hosts following a brilliant kick from Lopez. The powerful wing did not need a second invitation and leapt higher than Freddie Burns to catch the ball, dotting it down by his feet. Parra kept his record clean and made it 21-0 with under 15 minutes of the half passed. [21-0]

The hosts were causing havoc and with 20 minutes on the clock the Stade Marcel-Michelin erupted again when Clermont collected their four try-bonus point. After three reset scrums George Moala dived over in the corner following a swift move from the backs. Their kick sailed marginally wide. [26-0]

Clermont were baying for blood but the visitors finally made their first score at 24 minutes. Jack Walker went over after a strong set piece and an even stronger maul. A solid bit of scrummaging got Bath off the mark. Freddie Burns added the extras. [26-7]

The French side were dominating and with just 29 minutes passed Raka worked his magic and went over again. The giant wing crashed on to the ball in the try area after a brilliant grubber kick by Parra gave him the opportunity. [33-7]

At 32 minutes, the hosts earnt their sixth to the delight of their 19,000 strong army of support. A length of the field run from Clermont saw Moala crash through the standing defensive line. Parra converted. [40-7]

Bath found some relief just before the teams went in for half time talks as Ruaridh McConnochie went over under the sticks after a strong phase of play by the Clermont line. Chris Cook shipped the ball wide to catch the hosts off guard and McConnochie went through untouched. Burns added the extras as the clock stopped. [40-14]

HALF TIME – CLERMONT AUVERGNE 40 – 14 BATH RUGBY

The teams ran back out and it took just four minutes for Clermont to capitalise on their next set of points. Their seventh try of the game was found by Camille Lopez following a tap and go. Parra continued to add further to their long line of scores. [45-14]

Bath responded well five minutes later when Tom Dunn crashed over following another strong set piece. The forwards used a solid driving maul to go over at close-range for their third try of the game. Burns sliced his effort through the centre of the uprights. [45-21]

At 58 minutes Clermont were awarded a penalty for a hostile interaction between Elliot Stooke and Parra. The hosts kicked to the corner but were brought into touch by the Bath defence following the line out.

Bath were managing to slow the Clermont’s rampant attack in the second-half and it wasn’t until 72 minutes when the next points were scored. A powerful maul five meters from the Clermont line gave Josh Bayliss the chance to drive over the whitewash at close-range. The fourth try gave Bath a bonus-point but the conversion by Burns hit the posts. [45-26]

Clermont were unrelenting and with four minutes left to go of the game they did it again. This time McIntyre found the score, following a superb display from Raka and Penaud. Laidlaw converted. [52-26]

Bath came away defeated by a superior Clermont in a 12-try encounter at the Stade Marcel Michelin. The first-half display was not good enough for the Blue, Black and White who made error upon error giving a massively powerful Clermont the opportunity to get ahead of the game. The second-half display changed the pace of the game and Bath were able to capitalise on more moments and opportunities, but it wasn’t enough as Clermont Auvergne sealed a result at the Stade Marcel-Michelin

Bath Rugby travel to face London Irish before Christmas on Sunday 22nd December in the Gallagher Premiership.

 22ND DECEMBER 2019 LDN IRISH V BATH

Stuart Hooper’s side ran in a total of six scores courtesy of Beno Obano, Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni, Will Chudley Tom Homer and a penalty try, whilst in reply London Irish got a score through Adam Coleman.

Anthony Watson returned to the starting line-up for Bath following an injury sustained in November and lock Elliott Stooke made his 100th appearance for the Blue, Black and White.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to put the ball over the whitewash, Beno Obano was on hand to open the scoring.

From a Rhys Priestland penalty, Bath put pressure on from the line-out, which allowed the forwards to put the Exiles on the back foot. After recycling the ball quickly, Will Chudley found Obano who crashed his way over. Priestland added the extras. [0-7]

After just eight minutes, Anthony Watson took advantage after the ball came loose from London Irish hands and the wing hacked the ball forward from halfway and slid over to score. [0-12]

The Exiles put their first score on the board after 16 minutes when they won a penalty at the scrum. Stephen Myler cashed in for three points for his side. [3-12]

However, just six minutes later Bath did it again to add further daylight between the scores. Semesa Rokoduguni raced over in the corner securing the third of the day for the Blue, Black and White. The visitors had power, pace and dynamism as their forwards dragged London Irish over the line. Bath recycled the ball and found their wide channel with JJ making a neat line before finding Rokoduguni who dotted the ball down in the corner with ease. [3-17]

After 26 minutes there was a twist in the tale when Bath were awarded a penalty try. Tom Homer and Rokoduguni harrowed after the loose ball, before full-back James Stokes hesitated allowing Homer to dive on top. However, Irish no. 8 Albert Tuisue dived in over the ball and failed to release. Referee Karl Dixon consulted the linesmen and the TMO, who after a short discussion awarded the penalty try for foul play and showed Tuisue a yellow card. [3-24]

Try number five for Bath was found on 30 minutes, a fantastic set of offloads supported Chudley to crash over the whitewash. The ball was juggled through the hands of Rokoduguni before Joseph brought it forward and passed to the scrum-half. Priestland added two more. [3-31]

There was to be no let-up from Hooper’s men on the stroke of half-time, who very nearly added a sixth try through their forwards. It went to TMO but came off as no try. However, whilst London Irish had battled well, they were out muscled and out played by an unyielding Bath defence who were 3-31 up at half-time.

Half-time – London Irish 3-31 Bath Rugby

The second-half needed some patience but Bath continued to dominate in all areas of the game.

Tom Homer intercepted and ran the full length of the pitch for a breakaway sixth try. London Irish were camped out on the Bath line but even after a number of pick and go’s, the Bath defence remained solid. The forwards were pinning Irish back and the Exiles chose to go out wide as Myler put in a cross-field kick. However, Homer was lying in wait and stole the pass to race 75 yards unopposed to crash over the line through the centre of the posts. Priestland converted. [3-38]

Shortly after, the hosts finally broke the deadlock and got their first try of the game at 58 minutes, Adam Coleman made an intelligent line after breaking the Bath defence for the first time. Myler converted. [10-38]

Bath went down to 14 men when Christian Judge was shown a yellow for a dangerous tackle with 62 minutes on the clock.

Bath Rugby saw out the final minutes to secure a strong performance against London Irish. The side stuck to their game plan and structures to deliver the result following an incredible amount of preparation, effort and hard-work. The Blue, Black and White maintained strong discipline and outstanding rigour in defence to earn a win on the road in Round Six of the Gallagher Premiership.

The side now prepare to face Sale Sharks at the Rec on Saturday 28th December with a six day turn around.

Full-time – London Irish 10-38 Bath Rugby

15. Tom Homer, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11.Anthony Watson, 10. Rhys Priestland (C), 9. Will Chudley: 1. Beno Obano; 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Elliot Stooke, 6. Tom Ellis, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Josh Bayliss,

Replacements

16. Jack Walker, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Matt Garvey, 20. Rhys Davies, 21. Chris Cook, 22. Freddie Burns, 23. Aled Brew

28th DECEMBER 2019 BATH V LDN IRISH

Bath Rugby edged out Sale Sharks in a 16-14 nail-biter at the Rec, with Taulupe Faletau and Francois Louw returning to strengthen the forward pack which proved the difference.

In a gritty midfield battle, Bath Rugby brought home the result to secure four points taking them up to fifth in the table.

The opposition arrived with a powerful group of forwards to challenge Bath at the set piece however it was fly-half, Rhys Priestland who opened the scores with nine minutes on the clock. Bath were awarded a penalty when Sale’s, James Phillips was caught offside. Priestland added an extra two points with a successful effort in front of the posts. [3-0]

Six minutes later Priestland stretched Bath’s lead out to six after another penalty was given when Sale failed to roll away in the tackle. [6-0]

During the first 40 minutes both sides put in a raw and gritty midfield battle. The Blue, Black and White delivered a near perfect defensive effort which saw Sale secure nothing by way of points. However, it was clear to see that neither side were really able to dominate in any one part of the game and the teams went in with Bath just six points ahead.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 6 – 0 Sale Sharks

The second-half looked like it would play out in the same manner with two heavy sets of players packing down and a back line waiting to fire. However, just five minutes in the first try of the game was found. Tom Homer kicked a superb up and under and claimed his own kick. He offloaded to Chris Cook who recycled quickly to Priestland running a good line towards the corner. The fly-half found Jonathan Joseph who then ran a brilliant line in the opposite direction to score. Priestland added extras. [13-0]

Nine minutes later Sale returned the favour and after a very well executed driving maul Akker van der Merwe went over the whitewash from close range. The following kick by Du Preez sailed through the uprights. [13-7]

Another try was found by the opposition just two minutes later. Sale were dominating the collisions which allowed Bryon McGuigan to find space to crash over after a number of pick and go’s. The kick by Du Preez was good which saw the visitors take the lead for the first time in the game. [13-14]

Bath found some light relief with ten minutes to go when they were awarded a penalty for a no arms tackle. The offence took place 45-meters out and the Rec held their breath as Priestland pointed for the sticks. Moments later the flags went up and the crowd erupted with cheer as the kick sliced through. The hosts had taken the lead again by a margin of two with 70 minutes on the clock. [16-14]

As the game went into the dying moments, it was clear that the men in Blue, Black and White had unsettled a quality Sale side to secure a home win. Bath Rugby held onto possession well and forced a penalty which allowed Cook put the ball into touch as Craig Maxwell-Keys’ whistle blew. A big win for Bath, and a big four points.

Bath Rugby now head to Kingsholm to face Gloucester Rugby in a West Country derby on Saturday 4th January for Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 16-14 Sale Sharks

  1. Tom Homer, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11.Anthony Watson, 10. Rhys Priestland (C), 9. Will Chudley: 1. Beno Obano; 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Elliot Stooke, 6. Tom Ellis,  7. Francois Louw, 8. Taulupe Faletau,

Replacements

  1. Jack Walker, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Matt Garvey, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Chris Cook, 22. Freddie Burns, 23. Aled Brew

2020

4th JANUARY 2020 GLOUCESTER V BATH

A physical second-half performance from Gloucester saw the local rivals secure bragging rights after beating Bath Rugby 29-15 at a packed-out Kingsholm for Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership.

The visitors brought a strong contingent for derby day, but the outcome didn’t go to plan, and the performance was not what the Blue, Black and White had prepared to play. The back line, which saw Francois Louw, Sam Underhill and Toby Faletau play as a combination for the first time in two years caused the hosts big problems in moments however, the second half slipped away as Bath Rugby let Gloucester back in the game after a strong first-half.

The first five minutes of play saw a brilliant start for Bath who were winning the collisions, however it was Gloucester who found the first points. Jason Woodward seized an opportunity and found a good score in the corner. The full back, who was enjoying his first game back, moved the ball with purpose and saw a gap between the Bath defence. After recycling the ball he found space to get over the whitewash. The conversion was well struck by Danny Cipriani who added the extras with ease. [7-0]

Three minutes later, Bath were awarded a penalty for Gloucester not rolling away, Priestland went for the posts and found three points which kept the scores tight. [7-3]

At 17 minutes, it looked as though the visitors were going to get their first try of the game. Some fantastic hands from Bath saw them on the Gloucester try line, however they were held up. The play continued and whilst the lads in Blue, Black and White may not have got the try the resulting play saw them win a penalty. Gloucester were found offside at the ruck which allowed Priestland to find his boot and another three for his team. The kick was never in doubt, and Bath took the scores back to within one. [7-6]

Four minutes later some silky hands from Bath’s backs and forwards took them into Gloucester’s 22. Following a series of tackles the hosts were penalised for not releasing, and Priestland kicked from the tee in front of the posts to give Bath the lead for the first time in the game. [7-9]

Moments later it looked like Bath would further their lead. The visitors won a penalty at the scrum thanks to the strength of their forward pack. Gloucester were penalised for collapsing and Priestland kicked for goal from the halfway mark, it made the distance but drifted wide of the posts. [7-9]

During the first 40 minutes Bath were winning collisions and were strong at the breakdown meaning they headed in to the changing room with their tails up and a slender two point lead.

HALF TIME GLOUCESTER RUGBY 7 – 9 BATH RUGBY

Both teams came out firing, but it was deja vu as Ackermann’s men found their way over the whitewash five minutes into the second half. Gloucester turned Bath over off the back of a lineout and after a little kick though Bath were found offside. Gloucester made the most of the resulting line out, just five metres out. The cherry and whites made a strong drive for the line putting Bath under pressure and following a stream of pick and go’s they broke through Bath’s strong defensive line and were awarded the try. Cipriani missed the conversion which kept the scores tight, but Gloucester now had the lead. [12-9]

It was a game of cat and mouse as Bath levelled the scores just four minutes later when they were awarded a penalty for Gloucester not rolling away. Priestland found the top of his laces and it was a level playing field with 49 on the clock. [12-12]

Six minutes later, the visitors found another three to take the lead again. Some fantastic hits from Bath forced the turnover. Gloucester were then found offside in the following play setting Priestland up for another kick at goal. His kick was accurate nudging Bath in front at 55 minutes on the clock. [12-15]

Two minutes later there was some confusion as JJ thought he was through to secure a score for Bath. However, play was pulled back for penalty against Bath and Gloucester had a chance to clear their lines. [12-15]

It turned out to be a key moment in the game as just minutes later Gloucester went on the attack and put the burners on full. Gerbrandt Grobler charged toward the line to the delight of a packed Kingsholm and Billy Twelvetrees added the extras putting the hosts back in the lead. [19-12]

At 61 minutes the tight margins that had dominated the first two thirds of the game were stretched blown out of the water when Gloucester’s, Ruan Ackermann dived over. The hosts were managing to convert their pressure into points and Twelvetrees’ kick was good to further their lead. [26-15]

The following 20 minutes of play saw Bath push and push to get back into the game but  Gloucester were a team transformed at half time. Bath had let them get on top by failing to dominate the collisions as they had done so well in the first half. Billy Twelvetrees added a late penalty to confirm the Cherry and Whites as the victors. [29-15]

A frustrated and disappointed Bath left Kingsholm this evening following a defeat to a strong defensive side who made inroads through their marauding forwards and pacy backs. The visitors did well to force a number of penalties but physically lost out, ultimately losing the key battles.

10TH JANUARY 2020 HARLEQUINS V BATH

Bath Rugby fell short after Harlequins edged out the Blue, Black and White 25-19 in Round 5 of the Heineken Champions Cup after putting in a pulsating second-half performance.

The hosts took the lead just six minutes into the game following an all familiar driving maul from close range. Jack Walker peeled away from the maul after the Harlequins defence managed to split the attack, but it was too little, too late for the visitors as the hooker crashed over. Freddie Burns added the extras. [7-0]

Harlequins looked to level the scores shortly after, but a promising attack led by two thunderous runs from Paul Lasike. The visitors’ move was then cut short after Joe Marler, who made his 200th appearance for Quins, knocked the ball forward.

However, the visitors got their reward for persistent efforts at the Bath line. James Chisholm crashed over after from close range after a replica of the Bath score down the opposite end, a strong driving maul. Brett Herron added the extras to level the scores after twelve minutes. [7-7]

Harlequins soon got their second of the game after Aaron Morris pierced the Blue, Black and White with a darting run on the wide channel before offloading to the oncoming Gabriel Ibitoye, who couldn’t be stopped in a 20-metre footrace. [7-12]

After a sustained spell of pressure from the hosts, the Blue, Black and White again came close from another driving maul just five metres out but the London-based side kept Bath at bay, earning a penalty for going off feet into the ruck, allowing Harlequins to clear.

As the clock closed in on half-time, it was the hosts that clawed themselves back into the game with young wing Gabe Hamer-Webb scoring his second try in the Heineken Champions Cup Pool stage. The hosts absorbed the pressure from Harlequins before shipping the ball out wide and with huge overlap, the 18-year-old cruised over. Burns added the extra two to give Bath the lead going into half-time. [14-12]

HALF-TIME – BATH RUGBY 14-12 HARLEQUINS

Harlequins were the first to get on the board after the hosts were penalised for a high tackle. Brett Herron pointed for the sticks and made no mistake in slotting his effort cleanly through the uprights. [14-15]

The visitors added their third score of the game after 55 minutes on the clock. A clean break from outside the 22 led by Morris, who broke clear before offloading to Alex Dombrandt, and the powerful backrow went in under the posts. Herron added the extras. [14-22]

Bath responded immediately, and after pressure from the driving maul, scored courtesy of the returning Jackson Willison. After the maul was stopped, Ollie Fox recycled the ball quickly to the centre to go over in the corner. [19-22]

The Blue, Black and White looked to have the edge in the Harlequins 22, before Tevita Cavubati suddenly looped round the back of the defence and found a gap to round off a phenomenal break. The powerful Fijian lock sent Gabriel Ibitoye charging towards the Bath line but after some terrific tracking back from the Bath defence, Josh Bayliss was able to come away with the ball before Burns cleared the hosts’ lines.

In the dying embers of the game it was Bath who showed real grit and determination going forward but were left frustrated as Herron extended his sides lead after Bath were penalised at the breakdown and the visitors were able to put the result beyond doubt as the game came to an end. [19-25] 

 FULL TIME HARLEQUINS 25 BATH 19

Bath Rugby will now travel to Ulster Rugby in the final round of the Heineken Champions Cup at the Kingspan Stadium.

18th JANUARY 2020 ULSTER V BATH

It was a fresh start to proceedings on Saturday afternoon as Ulster Rugby stepped up to take on Bath Rugby in front of a full house at the magnificent Kingspan Stadium in the sixth round of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Ulster Rugby oozed confidence and their form looked strong as they opened the scores within the first five minutes of the game.

Their backs were in the mood to cause some damage, some fantastic off loads from their back three set up a line out just five metres from the Bath line. The Ulster forwards used their formidable rolling maul to set up Marcell Coetzee to crash over the line with just five minutes on the clock. The referee went to the TMO, checking for a knock on but the try was was awarded to give Ulster the perfect start. John Cooney’s sent his conversion sailing through the uprights to add the extras. [7-0]

Ten minutes later following some probing from Bath on the halfway line, Ulster were pinged for not rolling away and Freddie Burns kicked to the corner. From resulting line out Bath retained possession and Freddie Burns spotted a gap on the right wing, seeing his opportunity, he launched a cross-field kick that found Ruaridh McConnochie lying in wait. The England international gathered the ball, just, to squirm over the line to deservedly, bring Bath back into the game. Freddie Burns added the extras making it a converted try a piece with 18 minutes on the clock. [7-7]

It was a furiously contested first half with the Bath forwards stepping up and showing just how much this game meant to them. Both teams were probing for the crucial score to put them ahead at the break but there was nothing to separate them as the half time whistle sounded.

HALF-TIME Ulster Rugby 7-7 Bath Rugby

Ulster came out of the blocks with a sense of urgency about them that we hadn’t seen in the first half, they were making big hits at the ruck and their backs were looking slick. They crossed the whitewash within the first minute of being back out on the field. The instant impact was delivered following some slick hands and fantastically quick feet from the men in white which allowed Robert Baloucoune to scorch over in the corner. The ever-reliable John Cooney saw the home side stretch their lead out with a great kick from the touchline. [14-7]

Bath however, again showed that they were here to play and win. They attacked hard from the scrum to earn themselves a penalty as Ulster were penalised for not rolling away. Freddie Burns opted for the posts with 46 minutes on the clock and he made the kick look easy. Bath were back in it with the penalty closing the gap to four points.[14-10]

Two minutes later some wonderful play from Ulster saw them go over again. Their speed ball movement across the backs was superb, with runners causing havoc in the Bath defensive line. Will Addison was the beneficiary as he found his way to the line with a combination pace and power. John Cooney couldn’t quite find the accuracy for the conversion. With 30 minutes of the game remaining, Ulster had a lead of nine points. [19-10]

The game was being played at a breathless, end to end pace. Bath fought to get back into the Ulster 22 after some aerial tooing and froing. Ulster managed to clear to touch in order to slow things down and catch their breath. Bath however continued to push in order to find their way to the try line, after some lovely hands, the move broke down in the next phase of play as Bath couldn’t hold on to the ball on a crash ball move. Ulster had the scrum to relive the pressure.

The hosts ran everything they had back at Bath but it was the visitors who were to capitalise. Bath didn’t stop seeking a way back into the game and they found it with 66 minutes on the clock.  The men in Blue, Black and White had a line out five metres from the Ulster line after Ulster had taken the  ball back into their 22. It gave Bath the impetus they needed. From the line out the Bath forwards set up a rolling maul and Ross Batty barrelled over for the crucial score to bring them back into it with just over 10 minutes left. Freddie Burns missed the conversion but the gap was back to four points. [19-15]

The action didn’t stop there, Ulster knew they needed a win to qualify and Bath were looking for that deciding score to set them up for next weeks game against Leicester Tigers. John Cooney, the livewire scrum-half was targeting every gap he could see. As he was making the move to set Ulster on their way once more, he was tackled by a combination of Sam Underhill and Ross Batty. Unfortunately the referee, deemed Ross Batty to have made a no arms tackle and he sent the Bath man off after reviewing the TMO footage.

With John Cooney going off, Billy Burns stepped up to slot the penalty and extend Ulster’s lead to seven points. [22-15].

As the clock was ticking down, both teams were going for it, Gabe Hamer-Webb who had a terrific game made a darting 50 metre break in the final minute, unfortunately for Bath that was to be their last chance to snatch a draw. In a pulsating match, Bath showed what they’re capable of, however Ulster were the team to take the victory in front a delighted home crowd.

25th JANUARY 2020 BATH V LEICESTER

Bath Rugby put on a strong defensive performance to edge Leicester Tigers out 13-10 in Round 9 of the Gallagher Premiership.

A brace from full-back Tom Homer provided the hosts with a crucial four points, which keeps Bath Rugby in sixth place, just two points adrift of Gloucester in fourth.

The hosts gained an early advantage with Rhys Priestland pinning Leicester in the right areas of the field and the Blue, Black and White were able to breach the whitewash just four minutes into the match. Referee Wayne Barnes played advantage to the hosts and Chris Cook saw the space out wide, with Homer benefitting in the corner. [5-0]

In a tightly contested midfield battle, both sides began to adopt a kicking game in an attempt to gain good field position.

The visitors put on the pressure during the latter end of the first-half with some good play from their forward pack, with Will Spencer carrying well. Leicester managed to keep battering the Bath try line but after some incredible defence, and 15 consecutive phases from the visitors, the hosts came away unscathed.

However, following all their hard work, Barnes went back for the penalty advantage and Tom Hardwick took full advantage, drilling his effort through the posts from 10 metres out to close the gap. [5-3]

The two sides headed down the tunnel on an even keel with Bath just edging the tie at the break.

Half-time – Bath Rugby 5-3 Leicester Tigers 

The two sides came out the with the same intensity but it was the hosts again who edged themselves further into the lead with a penalty from the boot of Priestland. [8-3]

After failing to get themselves over the whitewash in the first-half, Leicester came close just 50 minutes into the game. Hardwick dictated play by pinning Bath deep into their own 22 and the forward pack did the rest in the 22, but Tigers had the ball held up over the line from a powerful driving maul with Bath’s defence holding strong.

Following the first failed attempt, the visitors kept the ball rolling from a five-metre scrum. After the forwards brought the ball close, it was scrum-half Ben White who pounced over the whitewash from close range to level the scores at the hour mark. Hardwick converted his effort to give Leicester the lead for the first time. [8-10]

Just nine minutes later the hosts responded in the best way possible: aw try in the corner as the Rec erupted. Homer was again on the scoresheet and the beneficiary of some quick play out wide. Will Chudley and Freddie Burns opened up the line allowing the full back enough space to crash through two tackles and dive over in the corner. [13-10]

Bath applied pressure in the dying moments of the game and came close to scoring a third, but the visitors held out in true fashion as the Blue, Black and White secured a crucial four-point win over their age-old rivals at the Rec.

Full-time – Bath Rugby 13-10 Leicester Tigers

Bath Rugby have a two week break from games before heading on the road to face Worcester Warriors on Saturday 15th February.

 

 

This page was added on 07/01/2020.

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