Bath Rugby lifted the inaugural Canterbury Cup and made it two wins from two in pre-season with a dominant 14-28 win over Ospreys in Wales.
A soggy Liberty Stadium was the venue for Bath’s second pre-season friendly, and the visitors put on an assured performance, particularly in the first-half when they kept the home side scoreless.
Rhys Priestland struck on 11 minutes to score the first three points of the game, and whilst the tries weren’t as free-flowing as last weekend’s encounter with Bristol, Bath were in control, keeping the Ospreys pinned back in their own half for large periods and nullifying any burgeoning attacks quickly and efficiently.
The pressure finally told on 22 minutes, when another strong set-piece from Bath saw Paul Grant secure clean lineout ball, and the driving maul power over the line. Nick Auterac was on hand to touch the ball down under the crash of bodies on the ground. 0-8.
Priestland added another three points in between Ben Tapuai and Matt Banahan both going close to scoring, extending the lead to 11 as the two sides headed in for the break.
Half-time: Ospreys 0 – Bath Rugby 11.
Another powerful scrum from the Bath pack saw the second-half continue in much the same way the first had, replacement fly-half Josh Lewis stepping up to coolly slot the penalty. 0-14.
Five minutes later, and a well-worked passage of play ended with Banahan crashing over from short range. Beno Obano provided the pass to Lewis, who in turn offloaded to Elliott Stooke. It looked as if the second row was going to score himself, but desperate defence from the Ospreys saw the big man hauled down short of the line. The ball was kept alive and Chris Cook quickly passed to the on-rushing Banahan. Lewis added the extras, taking the lead to 0-21.
Replacement Nathan Charles was on hand to score the third try, latching on to a loose pass by the home side in their own 22 and sprinting for the line. Lewis made it three out of three from the tee to convert the try. 0-28.
As the rain continued to pour, and both sides rung the changes, play became a little more open. Harry Davies had a good chance to extend the lead, but was ruled to have been held up over the line (although photographic evidence after the final whistle showed the ball grounded). Instead, the final two scores went to the home side.
First, Joe Thomas pounced on to a loose ball after a kick ahead from winger Keelan Giles evaded Levi Davis, then Owen Watkin snuck down the right touchline and over the whitewash as time was up. Hook added both conversions to give the hosts some consolation at the final whistle.
Final score: Ospreys 14 – Bath Rugby 28.