Wasps pick up another four points on the road

Wasps’ 13th win of the season left them five points clear of Exeter Chiefs at the top of the Aviva Premiership table. 


 

 

3 - 24
Bath Rugby Wasps

Sat 4th March 2017
3:00 pm

Recreation Ground Stadium Aviva Premiership Highlights As it happened

The visitors dominated the game from start to finish and the only slight disappointment was not to secure a bonus point, but four points at the Rec is not to be sniffed at. Wasps now have three more wins than their nearest rivals, which could prove crucial when the final positions are decided.

Wasps had a chance right from the kick off, after Jimmy Gopperth gathered and fed Ashley Johnson. He charged through a gap and crossed halfway before passing to Kurtley Beale, who was just unable to hold his pass, with space outside him.

Wasps came close to the opening score after seven minutes, following a sustained attack begun by a delightful dummy by Willie Le Roux over on the right wing. Play went out wide on the left before coming back across the field for Christian Wade, but he was forced into touch at the corner. A minute later, Ashley Johnson couldn’t quite hang on to a sharp pass, just short of the line, after a driving lineout moved infield.

Alex Rieder’s impressive run, combining footwork and pace, took play deep into the Bath 22. The attack was stopped, but Wasps retained possession and moved play out to the right, where it was Rieder again who provided the scoring pass for Christian Wade to go over for his twelfth Premiership try of the season. Jimmy Gopperth added the conversion.

With Bath relying heavily on a kicking game, the Wasps back three were seeing plenty of the ball, but it was a high kick which set up the home side’s first chance of the game, after Willie Le Roux was isolated having taken the high ball well, and Wasps were penalised. Bath went for the lineout and Adam Hastings broke through the middle to create an overlap for David Denton on the left. He went for the corner but a superb piece of defence by Christian Wade forced him into touch, just before he could ground the ball.

After 24 minutes, Wasps added a second try from a breakdown in midfield. Joe Simpson switched the direction of the attack and sent Tommy Taylor bursting through a huge gap. He found Kurtley Beale in support and the full-back came back on scorching angled run to round the defence and cross for a fine score, which Jimmy Gopperth converted, to put Wasps 14-0 ahead.

Beale came close to a second try after Wasps attacked from a scrum in front of the posts. He joined the line at speed but was unable to hang on to Danny Cipriani’s quick pass, with Christian Wade in space outside him.

Five minutes from half-time, Wasps thought they had stretched their lead after a breakaway attack down the left, involving Thomas Young and Alapati Leiua, ended with Jimmy Gopperth going over in the corner, only for the TMO to rule that the final pass had drifted forwards.

With just over a minute left before the break, James Gaskell hobbled from the field and his place was taken by Will Rowlands. By now Wasps had created several openings but on occasion handling errors, not helped by the greasy conditions, prevented them from capitalizing.

A handling error as Wasps tried to clear from their 22, gave Bath a final chance to apply pressure. They won a free kick when the scrum went down and went for another scrum, with time up. This time, they won a penalty and Tom Homer landed a simple kick to make the half time score 14-3 - a promising position, but not a true reflection of forty minutes of Wasps’ domination which could have yielded at a couple more tries, to make the game safe.

In the first minute of the second half, Will Rowlands charged down Chris Cook’s clearance inside the Bath 22, Wasps stole the lineout, but then conceded a turnover.

Seven minutes into the half, Ashley Johnson was obstructed as he chased Jimmy Gopperth’s hoisted kick on the Bath 10-metre line. Gopperth’s precise kick restored the 14-point advantage. Wasps were then immediately on the attack again, when Christian Wade sent a delicate kick down the touchline and his chase forced Bath to run it into touch. Frustratingly, the ball was knocked on in the lineout, seven metres from the line.

A storming charge by Taulupe Faletau, down the left wing, led to a penalty just outside the Wasps 22. Bath went for the corner and drove for the line. When play moved infield, Wasps defence which looked strong all afternoon, held firm and were rewarded with a penalty in the shadow of the posts.

When play switched to the other end of the field, Danny Cipriani’s well-placed kick to the corner was not controlled by the Bath defence and Ashley Johnson was tantalisingly close to gathering the ball after a tremendous chase, as it bounced dangerously, just short of the line. From the scrum, Wasps made a series of close-range drives for the line. They controlled the ball through a series of phases, which took them infield, before releasing the backs.

Danny Cipriani and Willie Le Roux combined skillfully with quick hands to enable le Roux to flick the pass on to Kurtley Beale, who raced in for his second try of the afternoon. Jimmy Gopperth converted to put Wasps 24-3 ahead, leaving them with 13 minutes to go for the bonus point.

Straight from the restart, Will Rowlands went charging downfield making the best part of 30 metres. Wasps recycled quickly and moved the ball out to the left, but possession was turned over. Wasps continued to find gaps in the tiring defence, but were unable to find the final pass. The result leaves them five points clear at the top of the Premiership table, with five games left to play.

Bath Rugby Line ups

  1. Nathan Catt
  2. Ross Batty
  3. Max Lahiff
  4. Luke Charteris
  5. Charlie Ewels
  6. Tom Ellis
  7. Dave Denton
  8. Taulupe Faletau
  9. Chris Cook
  10. Adam Hastings
  11. Anthony Watson
  12. Ben Tapuai
  13. Max Clark
  14. Semesa Rokoduguni
  15. Tom Homer
  16. Michael Van Vuuren
  17. Beno Obano
  18. Kane Palma-Newport
  19. Elliott Stooke
  20. Zach Mercer
  21. Will Homer
  22. Rory Jennings
  23. Kristian Phillips

Wasps Line ups

  1. Matt Mullan
  2. Tommy Taylor
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. Matt Symons
  5. James Gaskell
  6. Ashley Johnson
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Alex Rieder
  9. Joe Simpson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Willie Le Roux
  12. Jimmy Gopperth
  13. Alapati Leiua
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Kurtley Beale
  16. Carlo Festuccia
  17. Simon McIntyre
  18. Martin Moore
  19. Will Rowlands
  20. Jack Willis
  21. Dan Robson
  22. Guy Armitage
  23. Josh Bassett