Bath Rugby stormed to a 25-46, six-try win over Worcester Warriors at Sixways Stadium, with Paul Grant, Matt Garvey, Anthony Watson, James Phillips and Kahn Fotuali’i all crossing the whitewash.
It was a composed start from Bath, who controlled the opening exchanges and patiently built phases, testing their opposition’s defence. Rhys Priestland took the lead for his side after seven minutes with a penalty after Worcester infringed at the lineout. 0-3.
Another period of sustained pressure followed, with Jonathan Joseph and Watson both looking threatening, before Priestland slotted another three points to double the lead. 0-6.
Worcester fullback Chris Pennell missed two penalties – one long range effort, one more straight-forward – before he got the home side on the scoreboard at the third attempt after 27 minutes. 3-6.
With five minutes left of the half, Tapuai carved through the Worcester defence, setting up the first try of the evening for Grant. Chris Cook was on hand to pop the pass to the back rower, who crashed through the defence and over the line. Priestland added the conversion, before Pennell added a further three points for the hosts on the stroke of half-time.
Half-time: Worcester Warriors 6 – Bath Rugby 13.
Whilst Bath had calmly controlled the first-half, the game exploded into life after the break, with captain Garvey next to add to the scoreboard.
Watson sparked the break, with Aled Brew and Henry Thomas both keeping the move alive. Garvey got his hands on the ball, and shrugged off the defence to barge his way over the line. Priestland converted. 6-20.
The visitors turned defence to attack, the onrushing line forcing Worcester into kicking the ball, and Cook gratefully ran it back at them. He found Watson in support, and the fullback sprinted away for the third try of the evening. Priestland was again on target with the extras. 6-27.
The hosts looked threatening when they did have ball in hand. They turned down a kickable penalty in the Bath 22, instead going for touch, and their decision proved right after two phases as David Denton crashed over from short range. Pennell found his target with the conversion. 13-27.
Two minutes later, and Bath had the bonus point try courtesy of Man of the Match, James Phillips. They turned the ball over and charged up field, with the big lock finding himself in space in the 22. He rampaged through the four men in defence to dive over the line. Replacement Freddie Burns converted. 13-34.
The final 10 minutes of the game were approaching, but Bath maintained the pressure as Fotuali’i – on for Cook – scored the first of his brace, touching down behind the posts after charging down Jamie Shillcock’s kick. Burns added the simple conversion. 13-41.
Worcester kept fighting to get something from the game, and after Phillips was shown a yellow card, they made the extra man count – replacement hooker Joe Taufete’e going over from short range from the lineout. Pennell converted. 20-41.
It was a breathless final five minutes. Fotuali’i added his second after a strong break from Mercer and sublime behind-the-back pass from replacement James Wilson allowed the scrum-half to dart over the line.
The Samoan’s try was swiftly followed for a third for the home side – Perry Humphreys going over out wide after a quickly taken scrum penalty.
Final score: Worcester Warriors 25 – Bath Rugby 46.
Don’t forget you can see Bath back in action at the Rec next Friday for their huge European Rugby Champions Cup game against Scarlets, kick-off 19:45.
Tickets are still available online here and over the phone on 0844 448 1865.
5 January 2018
Referee: JP Doyle
Half Time score: 6-13
- Tries: Denton (57), Taufete'e (71), Humphreys (78)
- Conversions: Pennell (57, 72)
- Penalties: Pennell (27, 40)
- Tries: Grant (33), Garvey (43), Watson (52), Phillips (59), Fotuali'i (66, 76)
- Conversions: Priestland (34, 44, 53), Burns (60, 67)
- Penalties: Priestland (7, 14)