Bath Rugby scored seven tries in their opening fixture of the LV= Cup at Rodney Parade, to secure a bonus point 16-46 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.
Bath scored their first within just two minutes of the start, with debutant Olly Woodburn the scorer. The visitors had patiently worked their way up the field from the collected kick-off, and a final break from the returning Matt Banahan, on his 100th appearance for the Club, gave Woodburn the pass for his first try in Bath colours, as the Academy winger touched down in the corner. 0-5.
Dragons fly-half, Matthew Jones was quick to take advantage when Bath were penalised however, and from 48 metres out, struck a huge kick to get the home side on the scoreboard. 3-5.
Bath maintained control of the game however, and minutes later, Banahan was strolling under the posts for a try of his own. A successful lineout saw the ball driven up the pitch hard and fast by the forwards, with the ball being spun outwide to fly-half, Tom Heathcote, who slipped a pass inside to Banahan who ran in the try. Heathcote added the conversion, extending Bath's lead to 3-12.
As before however, the Welsh side were fighting hard, and after another penalty from Jones, they took the lead for the first, and only, time in the match, as South African winger Tonderai Chavhanga made something out of nothing. From 45 metres out, the pace-man, after leaping over a pile of bodies, sprinted clear of the chasing defence, and touched down for the Dragons' only try of the game. Jones added the extras, taking the score to 13-12 after 16 minutes of play.
The lead was short lived however, as Bath once more seized possession. From the restart, the ball was quickly worked forward, and as the ball was worked through the phases, it found Jack Cuthbert on the outside who surged forward, before offloading to Tom Biggs, who shot past the Dragons defence and slid over in the corner. 13-17.
Bath maintained the pressure on the home side, not letting them out of their own half for the majority of the first half. An exchange of penalties between the two fly-halves in the last ten minutes were the only other two scores of the first half, and as the two teams went in the break Bath were holding onto a four point lead, 16-20.
Bath started the second half with the same speed, purpose and determination as they had the first. Matt Carraro burst through the middle and over the line to claim the bonus point try, following great breaks from Mark Lilley and Woodburn. Heathcote added the extras, seeing Bath take an 11 point advantage. 16-27.
Bath continued to play a tight, well-organised game, keeping the pressure constantly on the home side. Will Spencer was next to get on the score sheet, adding a try to a strong debut performance from the Academy lock. Heathcote was once more on target with the boot. 16-34.
A yellow card for Dragons lock, Robert Sidoli, was shown shortly after Spencer's try, on 49 minutes, and the visitors took advantage of the extra man. They patiently worked through the phases, building the pressure once more on the Dragons, eventually making the advantage count as Heathcote picked out Cuthbert in space on the wing who ran in and touched down unopposed. The fly-half added the conversion, extending Bath's lead once more. 16-41.
Bath's seventh and final try came courtesy of yet another debutant, Anthony Perenise. The Samoan prop had only been on the pitch a matter of moments, adding yet more power to a scrum that had been impressive all game, before he powered over from short range to add the final points with just over ten minutes left.
A spirited fight from the Dragons came, but the Bath defence stood firm, and the home side were unable to penetrate, and when the ball was kicked out for the last time, Bath had inflicted the Dragons' equal worst ever home defeat on them. Final score 16-46.