Bath Rugby U18 kicked off their Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League campaign with an impressive 64-7 victory over Exeter Chiefs U18 at the Rec.
It was a bright opening for the home side, with two quick fire tries coming inside the opening 10 minutes. Pressure on the Chiefs’ breakdown provided the first scoring opportunity which was taken well by the Blue, Black and White. Pegged back in their own 22, Chiefs’ looked to clear their lines, but their kick was charged down by Bath hands. Bath quickly pounced on the loose ball and recycled the ball out wide, which was eventually finished off by back rower Will Hendy. The extras were added by George Worboys. [7-0]
A second try soon followed, as Bath broke superbly from deep before Owen Dudman released Worboys just outside the 22 to give the full-back an easy run-in under the posts. Worboys picked himself up from over the whitewash to extend his side’s advantage from the tee. [14-0]
The frenetic pace continued from the hosts and a third try was not long in the waiting. Bath used the catch and drive to devastating effect, as the pack went from the edge of the 22 to a matter of metres out. Hooker John Stewart spotted the opportunity and dived over the line to add further points to the scoreboard. Worboys’ conversion was missed to the left of the posts. [19-0]
With the game approaching the mid-way point of the half, Bath added a fourth try which came after some quick thinking from number eight Nahum Merigan. After Bath were awarded the free-kick from the scrum on the Chiefs’ 22, Merigan took the quick tap to put his side on the front foot deep inside the danger zone. The ball was offloaded to the Diego Periel, who offloaded superbly to his midfield partner Max Ojomoh to score. Worboys made no mistake from the routine conversion from in front of the posts. [26-0]
There was still time for Bath to come away with one final try before the interval. Silky footwork from Hendy in the midfield opened up the space for Jack Bertinet. The prop quickly offloaded to Orlando Bailey, who finished off a well-worked move.
Half-time – Bath Rugby U18 33-0 Exeter Chiefs U18
Bath were quickly among the points in the second half, as they increased their advantage at the Rec. An excellent steal at the line-out saw Bath spread the play from right to left with the finishing touch provided by Gabriel Hamer-Webb. [38-0]
Chiefs continued to front up against a relentless Bath attack, but the Blue, Black and White continued to assert their attacking game on their counterparts. After showing patience to get into the 22, Bath’s persistence was rewarded as Xavier Hastings found Jamie Guest with a sublime offload to score. [45-0]
Hendy, who was one of the game’s stand-out performers had a hand in Bath’s next try. The back rower showed his carrying skills down the right wing before the ball was sent out to the left wing. A long looping pass from Periel was well gathered by Hamer-Webb, who scored his second of the half. Worboys added the touchline conversion. [52-0]
Chiefs grabbed a consolation try with the game heading into the closing moments. It was winger Ben Fenton, who snuck in to score in the corner. [52-7]
Bath quickly responded to Chiefs’ effort with one of their own. It was another offloading masterclass from the home side, as Bailey sent replacement Archie Stanley in to score from close range. [59-7]
There was still time for one final flurry into the Chiefs' 22. The foundations of the move were created by Gabriel Goss, who took Bath from their own half into the 22 with a scinitalating run. After going through a number of phases, Worboys crossed to cap an impressive performance from the team at the Rec.
Full-time – Bath Rugby U18 64-7 Exeter Chiefs