Bath Rugby secured a home Semi-Final in the Anglo-Welsh Cup courtesy of a hard-fought 19-32 win over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.
Ospreys were first of the mark with the opening try coming after 11 minutes. With penalty advantage looming, Luke Price opted for the kick to the corner. The fly-half’s kick found the grateful arms of winger Dewi Cross, who crossed the try line to score. Price added the extras to give the home side an early lead. 7-0
Bath hit back with two quick-fire penalties from Josh Lewis, to close the gap to one point with 20 minutes on the clock. 7-6
Two minutes later, the Welsh side went over the whitewash for the second time. The hosts used the catch and drive to good effect, and Sam Cross went over to give his side a six-point lead. 12-6
With the game heading into the final 10 minutes of the half, Bath went over for their first try of the evening. Max Green showed his quick thinking with a tap and go from a penalty inside the Ospreys 22. The forwards then took over, driving Bath to within a few metres of the line. With the try line in sight, Levi Douglas powered his way over, and Lewis ensured his side would go into the half-time break with a narrow lead.
Half-time – Ospreys 12-13 Bath Rugby
Bath were quick out of the blocks in the second-half, which resulted in a second try of the game for the Blue, Black and White. A superb break from Josh Bayliss sent Bath steamrolling into the Ospreys 22, before Lewis found Matt Banahan with a superb inside pass to score. 12-18
With 18 minutes to play, Ospreys found their way back in the game through James Hook. Sustained pressure from the home side paid off, as the experienced centre managed to ground the ball in the corner, despite the best efforts of the Bath defence. 19-18
Ospreys weren't in the lead for long, as Bath showed their fighting spirit to get themselves back in front. The move started with a clever kick through from Banahan deep into the Ospreys 22, which was well chased down by Darren Atkins. The fullback managed to bundle his opposite man over the try line, which resulted in a five metre scrum. That set the tone, as Bath forced Ospreys into four consecutive penalties, which led to a penalty try. 19-25
It was a similar story moments later as Bath continued to attack the Ospreys set-piece. A second penalty try was quick to follow and the Blue, Black and White put a bit of daylight on the scoreboard. 19-32
Bath played out the closing stages to secure a home Semi-Final at the Rec to be played on the weekend of 9th-11th March.
Full-time – Ospreys 19-32 Bath Rugby
Aviva Premiership Rugby returns to the Rec next Friday, as Bath Rugby host Northampton Saints. Tickets are still available for the fixture by clicking here.
Image courtesy of Huw Evans / Ospreys Rugby
2 February 2018
Referee: Steve Lee
Half Time score: 12-13
- Tries: Cross (12, 22), Hook (61)
- Conversions: Price (13, 62)
- Tries: Douglas (32), Banahan (44)
- Conversions: Lewis (32)
- Penalties: Lewis (16, 19)