Rokoduguni double seals win for Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby kicked-off this season's LV= Cup crusade with a 36-15 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.

Man of the Match Semesa Rokoduguni scored twice on his debut, with Matt Banahan also crossing for his second try of the season and Tom Heathcote scoring 21 points with a 100% kicking display from the tee.

Bath exerted pressure in the Dragons half from the start, and within two minutes Heathcote had slotted the first of his eight kicks after Bath were awarded a penalty.

Newport hit back on the six minute mark with a try from Ross Wardle and conversion from Steffan Jones after they worked to spread the defence too far. 3-7.

Bath responded clinically, building phases patiently and working their way into the Dragons territory. A turnover from Olly Woodburn led to a good break from Heathcote who neatly offloaded to Rokoduguni on his shoulder. The winger raced away from the Dragons defence, scoring just to the left of the posts. Heathcote added the conversion, and Bath had restored their lead. 10-7.

Heathcote and Jones traded penalties to keep the visitors within three, before the Bath fly-half took full advantage of Newport's indiscipline with a further three penalties before half-time, the last one coming on the stroke of half-time following a yellow card to Newport's Ian Nimmo following a late tackle on Heathcote. 22-10.

Bath came out from the second half and continued to control the game, taking full advantage of the extra man with a great team try in the first five minutes.

Anthony Perenise, Ollie Devoto and Rokoduguni were all heavily involved in the build up as the ball was spread first one way and then the other across the pitch. Josh Ovens broke the line and delivered a well-timed pop pass for the rampaging Matt Banahan to run onto. The big centre powered his way through the Dragons tacklers and over the line to touchdown between the posts. Heathcote converted. 29-10.

Newport were trying hard to find a way into the game, and it looked as if Wardle had scored again out wide after a good period of play but Bath replacement Richard Lane had managed to drag his opposite number into touch before he planted the ball down.

On 65 minutes Newport were again reduced to 14 men after their captain, Jevon Groves, was sent to the sin-bin after a number of infringements in the 22. Bath again started to build pressure, working patiently in the red zone to try and find a way through the stubborn defence of the visitors.

The break came on the 72nd minute after quick work from the lineout saw the ball moved quickly into the middle of the field, where Rokoduguni was on hand to shrug off two Newport defenders and fly over the line between the posts. Heathcote was again on target with his conversion, extending the Bath lead to 36-10.

Newport hit back with four minutes to go with a consolation try from Dan Evans, but by then the victory was secured for the home side.

Final Score - Bath Rugby 36 - Newport Gwent Dragons 15.

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