Bath Rugby came away with a last-minute victory over Wasps Rugby, courtesy of a 78th minute penalty from fly-half Rhys Priestland. Giving them a 18-16 victory against a strong Wasps side at the Rec, in the 5th Round of the Heineken Champions Cup.
The visitors got off to a good start, with the first points of the game going their way, seven minutes in as Bath were penalised for offside on their own 10 metre line. Fly Half, Lima Sopoaga slotted the ball cleanly through the posts, giving his side an early lead. [0-3]
It didn’t take long for the hosts to respond, just two minutes later Darren Atkins offloaded to the returning Taulupe Faletau who showed his class, beating off two defenders on halfway, the Welsh International was brought to ground by Wasps Rob Miller, but was able to pop the ball up to Max Green on his way down, the scrum half showed his pace and powered over the whitewash in the corner. Rhys Priestland conversion drifted wide of the left upright. [5-3]
Wasps got back in front with 14 minutes on the clock, a multitude of penalties against the hosts saw them defending their own try line, Wasps with a line-out five metres out. A well-set maul from Wasps took them to just centimetres out, and after a couple of phases Nathan Hughes crossed the whitewash. The TMO was called into action for a potential knock on, but following deliberation the try was awarded. Sopoaga converted to give his side a five-point lead. [5-10]
In a game of what seemed to be cat and mouse, Bath retook the lead on the 21stminute mark. A Bath line-out just inside their own half was utilized well, Max Green providing fast ball from the first phase to Max Wright, the centre drawing in two defenders before releasing Zach Mercer outside him with a clever, pop pass. The number eight going in to score on a superb attacking line. This time Priestland made no mistake from the tee, adding the extras and putting his side into the lead.
End to end action followed in the second quarter, with neither side able to capitalise on any points. Sopoaga had the opportunity to put his side into the lead going into the interval, however the kick fell short of the uprights. Bath taking a two-point lead into half-time.
Half-time: Bath Rugby: 12-10 Wasps
Wasps came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, attacking the Bath half early on. Bath were penalised for not rolling away just outside their own 22, and Sopoaga added three points to his tally, giving his side a narrow lead after 44 minutes. [12-13]
The Wasps fly-half was shown a yellow card on the 60th minute following a no arms tackle on replacement Jackson Willison. The infringement occurred just inside the Wasps 22, Priestland took the opportunity well and sent the ball through the uprights, his side taking a narrow lead going into the final quarter. [13-12]
Despite being down to 14 men, Wasps managed to collect three points. Rob Miller covering for Sopoaga and slotting a penalty from around 35 metres out, the kick enough to put the visitors back into the lead. [15-16]
Wasps looked to extend their lead on the 72nd minute mark, with Billy Searle taking over kicking duties. His kick fell short of the posts and Bath went on the attack, searching for the valuable points.
The points came, just two minutes from time. Bath picked up a penalty advantage following a scrum, just outside the Wasps 22, the attack came to nothing, so play went back. Priestland didn’t hesitate, pointing straight to the uprights, the penalty sailed through the uprights, to give his side an important lead, with just a minute to go. [18-16]
The full whistle blew as Wasps knocked forward in the midfield, Bath Rugby coming away with an impressive 18-16 victory over a full-strength Wasps side.
Full-time: Bath Rugby 18-16 Wasps Rugby