Bath Rugby defeated by Wasps second-half fightback

A dominant second-half from home side London Wasps saw Bath Rugby fall to a 29-15 defeat at Adams Park this afternoon.

The game had started brightly for Bath, with Nick Abendanon scoring a superb individual try within a minute of the kick-off.

The fullback dealt with the high-ball from Stephen Jones well, and started weaving his way through the Wasps defence from inside the Bath half. Having raced along the touchline, he darted over in the corner. Stephen Donald couldn't add the touchline conversion, but it was an early advantage to the visitors.

Stephen Jones secured the home side's first points shortly after with a simple penalty, but Bath were maintaining the level of pressure on the home side. Two minutes later and it appeared to get worse for Wasps as Tom Varndell was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on his opposite number, Horacio Agulla.

Bath exerted more pressure, and made the extra man tell with a second try on 15 minutes. A well secured lineout led to a huge driving maul from the Bath pack, and Lee Mears peeled off the back to feed Michael Claassens who dived over in the corner. Donald was successful with the conversion from the touchline, taking the visitors lead to 3-12 approaching the 20 minute mark.

Two penalties from Jones, one of which coinciding with a yellow card for Dominic Day after he was judged to have pulled down James Cannon in the lineout, saw the deficit reduced to three points approaching half-time.

Wasps were spending increasing amounts of time in the visitors 22 however, and after multiple phases stretched the Bath defence to breaking point as Christian Wade crashed over to score. Jones's conversion gave Wasps the lead as the two sides went in at the break.

Half-time: London Wasps 16 – Bath Rugby 12.

Half-time replacement Tom Heathcote, on for Donald, was quickly called into action when Bath were awarded a penalty on 42 minutes. The young fly-half's effort was good, and it reduced the deficit to 16-15. Agulla thought he had scored a few minutes later, only for the try to be ruled out and play brought back for a forward pass.

From then on, Wasps started to up the ante, and Bath needed to be at their strongest in defence. The first real foray into Bath territory of the second half for Wasps led to the TMO being called upon, after it looked as if Zak Taulafo had burrowed his way over. The TMO ruled no try though, and Bath defended the line well, eventually winning the penalty at the scrum and Heathcote being able to kick to touch and clear the immediate danger.

A further two penalties from Jones saw Wasps pull seven points clear, before Chris Bell's try and conversion from replacement Nick Robinson on the 72nd minute sealed the win for Wasps. Abendanon was sent to the sin-bin at the same time for a trip, meaning Bath were reduced to 14 for the remainder of the game. They battled hard until the end to try and salvage a losing bonus point, but the Wasps defence stayed strong and Bath came away empty-handed.

Final score: London Wasps 29 – Bath Rugby 15.

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