Bath Rugby back to winning ways with bonus point victory

Bath Rugby moved up to sixth in the Aviva Premiership table with a five try, 40-25, bonus point win over London Welsh at the Recreation Ground this afternoon.

The home side started the game in a confident manner, keeping the visitors penned back in their own 22. The pressure told within two minutes, as Matt Banahan latched on to a superb miss-pass from Stephen Donald, powered his way through the Welsh defence and dived over the line.

Donald couldn't find his range for the touchline conversion, but within seven minutes, the home side had another try.

Welsh infringed in the 22, and instead of taking the three points, Donald sent the ball into touch for the lineout. Day securely gathered the ball and passed down to Carl Fearns, who peeled in front of the lineout to barge his way over from short range. Donald's conversion came back off the post, but the home side had set-up a 10 point lead within 10 minutes of the kick-off.

After the quick start, the Exiles began to work their way back into the game. Donald extended the lead with a penalty on the 21 minute mark, but  three penalties from Welsh scrum-half Alex Davies inside seven minutes saw them claw themselves back into the game. 13-9.

It looked as if Bath were going to be pegged back before the half-time whistle sounded, but for a moment of magic from Great Western Wines Man of the Match, Semesa Rokoduguni.

The flying Fijian received a pass from Donald on the 10m line, and cantered through the defence to score between the posts. Donald added the extras, and as the two sides went in at half-time, Bath held a 20-9 lead.

Welsh were quick to try and start chipping away at it in the second-half though, and Davies added another three penalties to make for a nerve-jangling 20 minutes for the Bath faithful.

Donald stretched the lead further shortly before being replaced by Tom Heathcote, before Rokoduguni produced another scintillating moment that set the Rec alight.

Collecting the ball from the restart on his own 10m line, the Army star broke the line and sprinted away down the right-hand touchline. He had Agulla in support, and when it looked as if the Welsh defence were finally going to catch him, he offloaded to the Argentinian who sailed over the line to touchdown for the bonus point try. Heathcote added the conversion, extending the score to 30-18 with 15 minutes left to play.

The Exiles kept plugging away, and the pressure eventually told on the 70th minute when Seb Jewell crashed over from short-range. Davies added the extras, and the Welsh were back within five points going into the last ten minutes.

Under pressure, Bath found their rhythm again, and when Heathcote was blocked he slotted the resulting penalty with ease. 33-25.

As time ticked away, Bath kept the pressure on. A quick lineout saw the ball come safely down into the hands of replacement Michael Claassens and the scrum-half sniped his way through to the try-line for the final score of the game. Heathcote added the extras, and sealed a strong, if slightly nervy, win for the home side.

Final score: Bath Rugby 40 – London Welsh 25.

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