Early Christmas bonus for hot Bath

With Toulouse securing victory in Newport, a solid win was essential if Bath Rugby were to hang to the French giant's coat tails and entertain realistic ambitions of qualifying for the Heineken Cup as either pool winners or progressing as one of the two best runners-up.

After a disappointing defensive display against Glasgow at the Rec a week ago, it was also important for the West Country side to return to the mean form of the autumn period and bring some early Christmas cheer to the Rec faithful.

On both counts Bath Rugby delivered, proving just why they are, on their day, one of the toughest teams in the competition. Despite Glasgow's intent to hustle and harass their opponents, Bath stuck to their guns, conceding just one try, while Matt Banahan's brace laid the foundations for another five-point haul.

The visitors wasted no time in putting three points on the scoreboard as Glasgow were penalised for not rolling away inside their own 22 after just two minutes. Butch James converted the opportunity and Bath slipped into an instant lead. However, the lead was to be short lived as Scotland international Dan Parks made an equalising kick after five minutes.

Determined to take control of the match, Bath went on the attack and after some good interplay between Michael Claassens, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu and Butch James, kicked ahead for Banahan to chase and the giant winger won the race to the corner to grab the opening try. James failed the conversion, but Bath had eight points in the bag after as many minutes.

Glasgow have proven over the two legs that they have plenty of heart and playing like for like and point for point, a strong drive from the Warriors took them deep into Bath Rugby's danger zone and Colin Gregor rewarded his team with five points of their own. The conversion by Parks took them into a 10-8 lead after 11 minutes.

It was to prove a turning point in the half as Glasgow, in the ascendancy, took the Game to the 1998 champions. Playing with the same fluidity as they had a week previously, Glasgow worked themselves into a good position once more, forcing an infringement from the Bath defence. Parks, returning to the side after missing the encounter at the Rec, wasted no time in slotting the ball directly between the sticks to extend the hosts lead to 13-8 at the interval.

The second half started with Bath looking to seize the initiative and the visitors wasted no time in creating an opportunity. Fuimaono-Sapolu came close after Joe Maddock, Nick Abendanon and Michael Claassens had caused havoc..

The excellent work was not rewarded with a try, but five minutes later the breakthrough came as Abendanon and James paved the way for Shaun Berne to cross the line for his second try in as many weeks. The score was a relief to the Bath fans as the scores were levelled, but the conversion was missed by James to leave the scores levelled.

Despite having their Heineken ambitions quashed at the Rec, Glasgow refused to buckle and it took an almighty defensive effort from the men in black, white and blue to keep the Warriors at bay. However, the Scots moved into the lead once more as Parks kicked another penalty after 51 minutes.

Continuing with nail-biting intensity and a see-sawing scoreline, a lineout inside Glasgow's 22, was won by replacement Jonny Faamatuianu who slipped the ball to scrum half Claassens for another break out. After excellent work from James, Fuimaono-Sapolu and Abendanon, Matt Banahan was set free to for Bath's third try as the giant Jersey man bombarded over for a superb score - Banahan 'nose' the way.

Glasgow refused to ease with the pressure and work their way into Bath's 22 again. Abendanon had to make a couple of try-saving tackles, but an offence by James at 66 minutes gave Ruaridh Jackson an open invitation to made a right-footed penalty kick from 42 metres that tiptoed Glasgow back into the lead with a point.

With Danny Grewcock stealing a lineout and Bath's pack working in overdrive, Bath worked their way back into the Glasgow 22. Michael Claassens, remaining the terrier on the pitch that Bath fans so enjoy, made a swift pass to Samoan centre Fuimaono-Sapolu to collect and after finding Lee Mears, Banahan was offered the ball to finish for the try. Although he was denied a hat-trick, the winger had the vision to pass the ball over the tackles to find Maddock for the important bonus-point try and the lead. James landed the conversion, and held out for the remaining eight minutes to ensure that Bath preserved their 100 percent record over Scottish team in the Heineken Cup.

We would like to thank all of the Bath Rugby supporters who travelled to Glasgow. You were all seen and heard and it meant a great deal to the team. Thank you.

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