Wasps well-beaten by Bath at the Ricoh Arena

Wasps’ 150th anniversary celebrations ended in disappointment, as they slipped to a third consecutive defeat and a second home loss in succession.

9 - 25
Wasps Bath Rugby

Sun 1st October 2017
3:00 pm

Ricoh Arena Stadium Aviva Premiership As it happened

They also suffered further injury blows, with Nathan Hughes and Brendan Macken both limping off and Paul Doran-Jones being carried off on a stretcher. They were never able to find their rhythm against a Bath side whose defence kept them tryless for the first time in nearly 18 months.

After Bath kicked off, Wasps controlled possession through over two minutes of play, with Christian Wade enjoying two early chances to break down the right. The opening passage of play ended with a Wasps knock-on just inside the Bath half. A dominant Wasps scrum earned them a penalty, which Nathan Hughes took quickly, only to be called back to the mark. Jimmy Gopperth went for the posts and his low-trajectory kick sailed over to open the score.

Bath posed their first attacking threat after eight minutes, with Anthony Watson coming through the middle at speed. After the ball was worked out to Semesa Rokoduguni, play came back infield and the Wasps defence forced a knock-on just outside their 22.

Wasps ran the ball from the scrum, with Elliot Daly beating his man to break out of the 22. Wasps moved play back out to the right, where Christian Wade was in space. The potential scoring pass was knocked on by Rhys Priestland’s outstretched hand, but he was spared a yellow card as the TMO had ruled that Nathan Hughes had led with the arm into Taulupe Faletau’s tackle earlier in the move. Priestland landed a fine penalty to level the scores.

Bath were penalised directly from the restart, when Jack Walker was adjudged to have obstructed the Wasps chasers. From 37 metres out directly in front of the posts, Jimmy Gopperth restored the Wasps' lead with 13 minutes played.

Bath were immediately gifted an excellent attacking opportunity when Gopperth kicked out on the full, after the ball had been passed back into the 22. Bath won the lineout and moved the ball out, but Gopperth made up for his error with a well-timed steal, allowing Joe Simpson to clear to halfway.

Bath moved the ball quickly from the lineout and a powerful charge by Taulupe Faletau split the Wasps defence to take play deep into the 22. A penalty ensued and Priestland levelled the scores. Bath were again unable to claim the restart and Will Rowlands pounced on the loose ball to set up an attack on the left. Thomas Young joined the move, but his offload failed to reach Josh Bassett and sailed harmlessly into touch.

A long Elliot Daly penalty found touch on the Bath 22 and the visitors conceded another penalty, which Jimmy Gopperth sent to the right corner. The lineout drive made several metres before being stopped just short of the line. The ball was moved out wide, then back across the field before play was called back for another penalty, which was kicked to touch at the left corner. This time, Wasps lost the lineout, before conceding a penalty, which Priestland put into touch a few metres inside the Wasps half.

After Bath put together a sustained period of possession to set up the position for  Priestland to land a neat drop goal and put his side 9-6 ahead after 29 minutes.

After a promising attack down the left, Wasps turned down another kickable penalty to go for the corner. Bath were penalised at the line out, Gopperth went for the posts and his kick levelled things again at 9-9.

Bath were soon back on the attack and Priestland sent a grubber kick towards the corner. Rob Miller did well to gather, but Wasps were penalised at the breakdown. Bath went for the corner and took the ball through a series of phases, setting up Priestland for another drop at goal. Instead, he chipped to the corner and Joe Simpson was forced to carry the ball over, after gathering just short of the line. Bath won the scrum, but untidy ball led to a poor pass and Max Clark knocked on.

Wasps were then forced into a substitution when Nathan Hughes, who had twice undergone treatment for a leg injury, made way for Ashley Johnson. Halftime came two minutes later, with the two sides still tied at 9-all after an opening half which had never really taken off.

After an early charge by Ashley Johnson, Bath had their first opportunity in the second half after Christian Wade covered back to gather a rolling ball inside his 22. He passed inside to Jimmy Gopperth, but the fly-half was unable to gather and the referee ruled that the ball had been knocked forwards. Bath won the scrum and took the ball through a series of phases, before Thomas Young was penalised at the breakdown and Priestland had a simple kick from in front of the posts to put Bath back in front.

Before the restart, Brendan Macken limped off to be replaced by Juan De Jongh. Two minutes later, Wasps were penalised at a maul following a line out 20 metres inside the Wasps half, out near the left touchline. Freddie Burns, who had replaced Rhys Priestland, landed his kick to stretch the lead to 15-9. Burns soon had another chance to go for goal, when the Bath scrum won a penalty, almost exactly where he’d taken his previous kick. This time, the ball passed narrowly to the left of the posts.

Wasps had a chance to pull back three points, with a penalty just inside the Bath half, six metres in from the left touchline. Elliot Daly went for the posts, but his kick drifted wide.

Wasps were enjoying plenty of possession, but the Bath defence was denying them any space and they were unable to find any attacking fluency. When the home side finally began to find some momentum, Jack Willis made ground down the middle before Josh Bassett found some space on the left, but the ball was lost in contact just inside the Bath 22.

With ten minutes left, Wasps put together their most sustained period of possession, taking them deep into the Bath 22, but the ball was eventually spilt and Bath were able to clear downfield. Jimmy Gopperth was then unable to gather a long kick downfield and knocked on a few metres outside the Wasps 22.

The Bath forwards produced a powerful shove to win a penalty 30 metres out and a few metres in from the left touchline. Freddie Burns’s successful kick gave them a nine-point lead with time running out.

The visitors then delivered the knockout blow, when Semesa Rokoduguni beat the defence to Jonathan Joseph’s kick-ahead to slide over in the right corner. The try was awarded after lengthy consultation with TMO. Before Freddie Burns went for the conversion, Paul Doran-Jones was carried off on a stretcher.  Burns then landed the kick to take his side 16 points clear with only two minutes left to play. The visitors safely negotiated the closing moments to record their first Premiership win at The Ricoh Arena.

Wasps Line ups

  1. Simon McIntyre
  2. Tom Cruse
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. Joe Launchbury
  5. Will Rowlands
  6. James Haskell
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Nathan Hughes
  9. Joe Simpson
  10. Jimmy Gopperth
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Brendan Macken
  13. Elliot Daly
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Rob Miller
  16. Ashley Johnson
  17. Ben Harris
  18. Paul Doran-Jones
  19. Marcus Garratt
  20. Jack Willis
  21. Craig Hampson
  22. Juan de Jongh
  23. Marcus Watson

Bath Rugby Line ups

  1. Beno Obano
  2. Jack Walker
  3. Henry Thomas
  4. Charlie Ewels
  5. Luke Charteris
  6. Zach Mercer
  7. Sam Underhill
  8. Taulupe Faletau
  9. Chris Cook
  10. Rhys Priestland
  11. Aled Brew
  12. Max Clark
  13. Jonathan Joseph
  14. Semesa Rokoduguni
  15. Anthony Watson
  16. Tom Dunn
  17. Nick Auterac
  18. Anthony Perenise
  19. Elliott Stooke
  20. James Phillips
  21. Darren Allinson
  22. Freddie Burns
  23. Ben Tapuai