Taulupe Faletau and Semesa Rokoduguni score two tries apiece as Bath Rugby secured their place in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Semi-Final with a 34-20 victory against Brive at the Recreation Ground.
Rhys Priestland and Gaetan Germain exchanged penalties in the opening 20 minutes before the game exploded into life. It was Priestland that was the architect of Bath’s opening try with 21 minutes on the clock, as the fly-half bamboozled his way through the Brive defence. The Welsh international dummied left before breaking through the hole and offloading to his half-back partner Kahn Fotuali’i. The scrum-half used his quick hands to good effect, sending Faletau over for his first try for the Club. 10-6
Six minutes later, the Blue, Black and White were over the whitewash again with a well-worked team try. Rokoduguni got the move going bursting through the tackles of four Brive defenders. The ball was swiftly recycled from right to left with a clever flick pass from Jonathan Joseph found his international teammate Anthony Watson, who sent birthday boy Tom Homer through in the corner. 15-6
The Bath pressure continued and their third try of the afternoon followed shortly after. A rampaging run down the left wing from the returning Zach Mercer set up the move, before the ball was quickly spread to the influential Joseph, whose clever footwork gave space for Rokoduguni to score his 50th try for the Club. 20-6
Half time – Bath Rugby 20-6 Brive
It only took a few minutes of the second half for Bath to add more points to their tally. After good work from Tom Ellis and Fotuali'i, Matt Banahan sent a clever pass into the path of the on-rushing Faletau, who scored his second of the game. 27-6
Brive were not finished and found themselves back in the game with two quick-fire tries from back rower Fabien Sanconnie. The first came from a pick and go at the back of the scrum, with the French international managing to force his way over from close range. 27-13
Sanconnie’s second came off the back of some solid work at the maul, with the number eight left bringing the French side back into contention with 25 minutes left to play. 27-20
Brive continued to press, but were unable to find their way past an inspired Bath defence, as they looked for a crucial score. With four minutes remaining, Rokoduguni ensured that Brive would head back to France empty-handed with an unbelievable solo try. The winger looked like he had been tackled by the first man, but wrestled free and evaded seven defenders to ensure Bath’s place in the semi-final.
Final score - Bath Rugby 32-20 Brive