Bath run continues

Sat, 22 Feb 2014 20:12
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Bath extended their record Premiership unbeaten run at the Rec to 12 games in a seven-try thriller with London Wasps.

Bath extended their record Premiership unbeaten run at the Rec to 12 games in a seven-try thriller with London Wasps.

Tries from Anthony Watson, who grabbed two, Nick Abendanon and Kyle Eastmond earned the home side a try bonus point after a match in which momentum swung widely from one side to another.

* In other Saturday action Matt Kvesic scored his first try for Gloucester to end a run of three successive defeats in the Premiership with a 25-20 victory over Harlequins.

Harlequins led 13-7 at the break thanks to a try from Ollie Lindsay-Hague and eight points from the boot of Ben Botica.

* Mark Cueto struck early on his 200th Sale Sharks appearance as they brushed aside Premiership bottom club Worcester Warriors at Sixways.

We look at Saturday's matches!

Bath 32-25 London Wasps

Bath extended their record Premiership unbeaten run at the Rec to 12 games in a seven-try thriller with London Wasps.

Tries from Anthony Watson, who grabbed two, Nick Abendanon and Kyle Eastmond earned the home side a try bonus point after a  match in which momentum swung widely from one side to another.

Wasps were never outfought, taking advantage of Bath uncertainty on the flanks to cross three times through Nathan Hughes, Will Helu and Elliot Daly.

But it wasn't enough as they succumbed to a fourth straight defeat in all competitions despite dominating the second half.

Tom Heathcote, deputising at fly-half for George Ford who was on England duty, was given an early chance to get Bath on the scoresheet when referee Matthew Carley blew up for a late tackle on Ollie Devoto, slotting a straightforward penalty from in front of the posts.

Wasps attacked with vigour but good defence from the home side held them at bay. And Bath were rewarded with another penalty, only for Heathcote to momentarily lose his radar and send the ball wide of the posts on six minutes.

However it wasn't long before the home fans were celebrating, Bath working a quick scrum out to the backs where it was moved swiftly from Nick Abendanon to Kyle Eastmond and then to Anthony Watson who darted over the line out wide.

Heathcote missed with a tricky conversion, and it remained 8-0 after 13 minutes.

Shortly after Joe Carlisle was given the chance to reduce the deficit when Wasps were awarded a penalty and he made no mistake, slotting it between the uprights.

But despite Bath have the better of possession Carlisle was keeping Wasps in the game off the tee, nailing another penalty after Bath were pinged at the breakdown.

Then a late shoulder barge from Andrea Masi on Heathcote allowed the No.10 to send the ball down the line and from an attacking line-out the Bath forwards drew another penalty 20 metres out that Heathcote converted.

When Ashley Johnson broke the Bath defensive line it looked as though the visitors might take the lead but with a two-man overlap but Watson intercepted the ball and raced away to score under the posts. Heathcote knocked over the extras and Bath had a 12-point advantage after 28 minutes.

Wasps refused to lie down and they hit back quickly when scrum-half Charlie Davies took a quick tap penalty in the Bath 22 and the ball was moved wide quickly to Nathan Hughes, who touched down in the corner. Carlisle converted from out on the touchline and the gap was down to seven points.

But Bath hit back straight away, working the ball into the Wasps 22 where a great offload from the floor by Leroy Houston sent Abendanon over in the corner.

Heathcote was successful with a tricky conversion and Wasps, who had Tommy Bell on as a concussion replacement for Elliot Daly, found themselves 25-13 down. Carlisle had a late chance at the end of the first half to reduce the gap but his penalty went wide of the sticks.

From the restart a great clearing kick from Carlisle put Bath under pressure in their own 22, coughing up a straightforward penalty that Carlisle surprisingly missed the posts with.

But Wasps were finding space out wide and good work in midfield from Masi saw the ball moved to Will Helu who used good leg strength to power over out wide, Carlisle knocking over the extras.

Kyle Eastmond struck straight back to claim the bonus point for the home side, Devoto off-loading to the Eastmond cleverly after a great break from replacement Peter Stringer. Heathcote squeezed the conversion inside the posts and Bath added to their lead.

Yet Wasps roared up the other end and confusion in defence allowed the restored Daly to dive over out wide, Carlisle sending the conversion wide.

Heathcote missed with another penalty before Stringer nearly claimed a fifth Bath try, the TMO ruling the No.9 had knocked the ball on in the build-up to the try.

Despite further Wasps pressure they were unable to force their way over the line, Bath holding on to claim their first Premiership double over the Londoners since 2008/9.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Watson 2, Abendanon, Eastmond
Cons: Heathcote 3
Pens: Heathcote 2

For Wasps:
Hughes, Helu, Daly
Cons: Carlisle 2
Pens: Carlisle 2


Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Micky Young, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Will Helu, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell (captain), 11 James Short, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Davies, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Charlie Hayter.

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Peter Huckle
TMO: Trevor Fisher

Gloucester 25-20 Harlequins

Matt Kvesic scored his first try for Gloucester to end a run of three successive defeats in the Premiership with a 25-20 victory over Harlequins.

Harlequins led 13-7 at the break thanks to a try from Ollie Lindsay-Hague and eight points from the boot of Ben Botica.

Gloucester had led through Sione Kalamafoni's early score, though, and applied the pressure to devastating effect at the start of the second period.

First Rob Cook slotted another kick before Kvesic and Dan Murphy crossed for tries and though Dave Ward set home nerves jangling with a late Quins try the Cherry & Whites, down to 14 men, held on.

Gloucester had not won in the Premiership since beating London Irish at the end of 2013 and were behind only two minutes into the match to a Botica penalty.

However, the Cherry & Whites were given a chance to take command once Mark Lambert was sin-binned on seven minutes.

Quins actually added the next points, Botica again slotting a penalty, but James Hudson, patched up after a blood injury, produced a rampaging run to get Gloucester on the board.

The 32-year-old lock barraged through the Quins line and produced a superb off-load that allowed Sione Kalamafoni to cross the try line.

Cook converted to put Gloucester 7-6 ahead and Quins' saw injury added to insult when Tim Molenaar limped off on his Kingsholm return.

Yet on the half-hour mark, Harlequins retook the lead when scrum-half Karl Dickson took a quick penalty and off-loaded for full-back Ollie Lindsay-Hague to fly over.

Botica converted to extend the lead to 13-7 and the visitors held firm to take the lead into half-time despite Gloucester pressure on their line.

Gloucester continued to press at the start of the second half with Shane Monahan and Mike Tindall, on his 200th Premiership appearance, both breaking the line.

The pressure finally told when Harlequins were penalised and Cook converted a penalty to reduce the deficit to 13-10.

And Gloucester were back in front when they won a line-out just short of the Quins line and drove over with Kvesic emerging having scored his first try for the club.

Cook failed narrowly with the conversion attempt but the hosts now led 15-13 and from another set-piece on 56 minutes, the Cherry & Whites extended their lead.

From a five metre scrum, the ball was fed to Murphy who powered his way over and Cook made no mistake with the conversion.

Harlequins' woes were increased on the hour mark when Louis Grimoldby was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and Cook punished the visitors with the resultant penalty to put Gloucester 25-13 up.

Tindall then got a standing ovation as he was replaced on his 200th appearance to be replaced by Freddie Burns.

With just over five minutes to go Gloucester's nerves were frayed when replacement Yann Thomas was sent to the bin and Quins pushed over the line, Ward taking the credit and Botica converting.

That reduced the home side's lead to 25-20 but they held on to secure a first Premiership victory of 2014.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Murphy
Cons: Cook 2
Pens: Cook 2

For Harlequins:
Lindsay-Hague, Ward
Cons: Botica 2
Pens: Botica 2


Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall (captain), 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliot Stooke, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Will James, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Steph Reynolds.

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Ugo Monye, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Paul Sackey, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Louis Grimoldby, 23 Jordan Burns.

Yellow cards: Louis Grimoldby (Harlequins, 60), Yann Thomas (Gloucester, 74)

Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Robin Goodliffe

Worcester Warriors 12-24 Sale Sharks

Mark Cueto struck early on his 200th Sale Sharks appearance as they brushed aside Premiership bottom club Worcester Warriors at Sixways.

Sale were in control from early on, when Cueto's try added to a Danny Cipriani penalty, and kept the home side, who have enjoyed a recent upturn in form, frustrated throughout.

Cipriani added two more penalties and converted Dan Braid's try before Mariano Galarza grabbed a pair of scores for Worcester - but Worcester's wait for an Premiership win goes on.

Cipriani drew first blood inside two minutes, sending a penalty between the posts, but a Tom Brady fumble inside his own 22 soon had Sale under pressure.

However, Sale soon broke into the hosts' half and some powerful forward work allowed Johnny Leota to selflessly offload to Cueto who crossed over on his landmark appearance.

Cipriani's conversion flew wide but he soon made amends, sending a penalty sailing through the uprights from the halfway line after 13 minutes.

Warriors began to assert themselves and Johnny Arr fell narrowly short of the try line, before an unusually wayward Chris Pennell sent a pair of penalties wide.

The home side continued to force Sale into mistakes at the breakdown, with Pennell this time opting to kick for touch twice in quick succession.

And Worcester soon came close to grabbing a try as Pennell linked up neatly with Alex Grove but Josh Drauniniu's resulting chip-and-chase was thwarted by a Sale defender.

Ravai Fatiaki was next to come close, crashing through before being held up narrowly short of the line near the right touchline, before Agustin Creevy appeared to bundle over the line.

The decision was sent up to the TMO, with just four minutes to the break, and the Warriors were denied their reward after the hooker was deemed not to have grounded the ball.

Fly-half Ryan Lamb, who signed from Leicester Tigers just a fortnight ago, replaced Paul Warwick at the break but his opposite man soon extended Sale's lead with a third successful penalty.

Sale's pack then took the initiative and, after applying some heavy pressure inside the Warriors' 22 it was Dan Braid who finished off a powerful rolling maul, with Cipriani adding a simple conversion.

Pennell turned down two more kickable penalties in search of that elusive try and it finally arrived after 62 minutes, through Galarza - but the full-back missed yet another kick.

Replacement fly-half Nick McLeod soon slotted a penalty but Worcester would have more joy before the final whistle when, after a lengthy TMO decision, Galarza was awarded a second score.

Lamb duly converted to bring Worcester within 12 points of the visitors but they could not find another try to pinch an unlikely bonus points.

The scorers:

For Worcester:
Galarza 2
Con: Lamb

For Sale Sharks:
Cueto, Braid
Con: Cipriani
Pens: Cipriani 3, Macleod


Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 George Porter, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Jeremy Su'a, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Dean Hammond.

Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Viliami Fihaki, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Mark Jennings.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Simon McConnell, Andrew Pearce
TMO: David Grashoff

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Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 17 12 0 5 61
Wasps 17 11 1 5 54
Saracens 17 11 0 6 53
Newcastle Falcons 17 11 0 6 50
Leicester Tigers 17 10 0 7 47
Gloucester 17 9 1 7 46
Bath 17 9 0 8 45
Sale Sharks 17 8 0 9 43
Harlequins 17 7 0 10 36
Northampton Saints 17 6 0 11 31
Worcester Warriors 17 5 0 12 27
London Irish 17 2 0 15 15