Bath Rugby claimed their second win on the bounce with a hard-fought 17-15 victory over Northampton Saints at the Rec.
It was a pretty scrappy opening first quarter of the game, with the torrential conditions impacting on both sides. Northampton got the first points on the scoreboard through Cobus Reinach for the first try of the afternoon. Piers Francis capitalised on a loose ball in the midfield before storming into the Bath 22, with Reinach pouncing on his own kick through to open the scoring. Dan Biggar added the conversion to put Saints into the lead with 19 minutes on the clock. [0-7]
Northampton continued to press the Bath defence, as they looked to extend their advantage 10 minutes later with the attacking scrum on the 22. Reinach looked for Andrew Symons from the set-piece, but the pass was intelligently read by Burns. From then on it was a foot race, but there was only one winner, as the playmaker ran the length of the pitch to finish under the sticks. The fly-half converted his own try to bring the sides level. [7-7]
Neither side were able to take advantage of any openings in the closing 10 minutes first half, with the score deadlocked at 7-7 going into the interval.
Half-time - Bath Rugby 7-7 Northampton Saints
Burns added to his tally 15 minutes into the second half, to put Bath in front for the first time in the game. It was Semesa Rokoduguni, who setup the scoring opportunity with a chip over the Saints defence on the right wing. A solid chase from Taulupe Faletau saw Bath bundle Saints into touch before referee Karl Dickson awarded the penalty at the resulting breakdown. Burns made no mistake from the tee, giving his side a three-point lead after 55 minutes. [10-7]
Bath extended their advantage in the 63rd minute to the delight of the 14,150 crowd packed into the Rec. It was Burns, who was at the centre of the move once again, as he opened up the space to attack out wide. Despite skewing his chip over the top, the fly-half re-gathered the ball and offloaded to the supporting Elliott Stooke. The second rower showed his passing range, launching a ball into the hands of Joe Cokanasiga, who ran in his third try in two games. [17-7]
Northampton weren't ready to give up without a fight, as they went through multiple phases in the Bath 22. The pressure paid off, as Dan Biggar slotted three points to take his side within seven points on the scoreboard. [17-10]
The visitors continued to mount attack after attack, and 30 seconds before the final whistle, Saints found their way back in the game. Alex Mitchell darted through the Bath defence and found Tom Collins, with the winger crossing in the corner to leave Biggar with the difficult conversion from the touchline. The Bath support held their breath as the Welsh international stepped up, and fortunately his kick hit the post, which gave the Blue, Black and White their second victory on the trot.
Full-time – Bath Rugby 17-15 Northampton Saints
22 September 2018
Referee: Karl Dickson
Half Time score: 7-7
- Tries: Burns (28), Cokanasiga (62)
- Conversions: Burns (29, 63)
- Penalties: Burns (54)
- Tries: Reinach (18), Collins (78)
- Conversions: Biggar (19)
- Penalties: Biggar (72)