Bath Rugby fell short after Harlequins edged out the Blue, Black and White 25-19 in Round 5 of the Heineken Champions Cup after putting in a pulsating second-half performance.
The hosts took the lead just six minutes into the game following an all familiar driving maul from close range. Jack Walker peeled away from the maul after the Harlequins defence managed to split the attack, but it was too little, too late for the visitors as the hooker crashed over. Freddie Burns added the extras. [7-0]
Harlequins looked to level the scores shortly after, but a promising attack led by two thunderous runs from Paul Lasike. The visitors’ move was then cut short after Joe Marler, who made his 200th appearance for Quins, knocked the ball forward.
However, the visitors got their reward for persistent efforts at the Bath line. James Chisholm crashed over after from close range after a replica of the Bath score down the opposite end, a strong driving maul. Brett Herron added the extras to level the scores after twelve minutes. [7-7]
Harlequins soon got their second of the game after Aaron Morris pierced the Blue, Black and White with a darting run on the wide channel before offloading to the oncoming Gabriel Ibitoye, who couldn’t be stopped in a 20-metre footrace. [7-12]
After a sustained spell of pressure from the hosts, the Blue, Black and White again came close from another driving maul just five metres out but the London-based side kept Bath at bay, earning a penalty for going off feet into the ruck, allowing Harlequins to clear.
As the clock closed in on half-time, it was the hosts that clawed themselves back into the game with young wing Gabe Hamer-Webb scoring his second try in the Heineken Champions Cup Pool stage. The hosts absorbed the pressure from Harlequins before shipping the ball out wide and with huge overlap, the 18-year-old cruised over. Burns added the extra two to give Bath the lead going into half-time. [14-12]
Half-time – Bath Rugby 14-12 Harlequins
Harlequins were the first to get on the board after the hosts were penalised for a high tackle. Brett Herron pointed for the sticks and made no mistake in slotting his effort cleanly through the uprights. [14-15]
The visitors added their third score of the game after 55 minutes on the clock. A clean break from outside the 22 led by Morris, who broke clear before offloading to Alex Dombrandt, and the powerful backrow went in under the posts. Herron added the extras. [14-22]
Bath responded immediately, and after pressure from the driving maul, scored courtesy of the returning Jackson Willison. After the maul was stopped, Ollie Fox recycled the ball quickly to the centre to go over in the corner. [19-22]
The Blue, Black and White looked to have the edge in the Harlequins 22, before Tevita Cavubati suddenly looped round the back of the defence and found a gap to round off a phenomenal break. The powerful Fijian lock sent Gabriel Ibitoye charging towards the Bath line but after some terrific tracking back from the Bath defence, Josh Bayliss was able to come away with the ball before Burns cleared the hosts’ lines.
In the dying embers of the game it was Bath who showed real grit and determination going forward but were left frustrated as Herron extended his sides lead after Bath were penalised at the breakdown and the visitors were able to put the result beyond doubt as the game came to an end. [19-25]
Full-time – Bath Rugby 19-22 Harlequins
Bath Rugby will now travel to Ulster Rugby in the final round of the Heineken Champions Cup at the Kingspan Stadium.