Bath Rugby got their Heineken Cup campaign back on track with a 6-22 bonus point victory over Aironi Rugby in Viadana.
Bath started brightly, getting speed and width on the ball as they attacked the Aironi line. With 11 minutes gone on the clock, the visitors scored the first points of the game, with a debut try for winger Tom Biggs. A secured line-out from Andy Beattie saw the ball pass quickly through the hands of the back line, finding Biggs on the wing, who kicked through and won the foot race to touch down in the corner. Olly Barkley missed the tricky touchline conversion. 0-5
Aironi get their first points on the board following a penalty for an infringement at the ruck, which fly-half Ludovic Mercier duly converted, taking the score to 3-5.
Bath quickly came back however, scoring another well worked try just a minute later, 23 minutes into the game. After securing the ball from a scrum, the ball worked its way to Nathan Catt, who broke up the wing, offloaded in the tackle, and found Taylor, who charged forward, and passed to Matt Carraro, who went over from short range. 3-10
Some strong defending from Bath was required soon after, as Aironi worked their way into the Bath half. Number 8, Nick Williams, broke through the line, only to meet Man of the Match, Nick Abendanon, who stopped the big forward in his tracks. The ball was secured by Bath and sent back down field, out of the danger zone.
With five minutes remaining of the first half, Bath scored their third try of the match. Coming off the back of a scrum once again, Michael Claassens found Sam Vesty, who quickly moved the ball onto Barkley. Carraro broke through the middle, passed to Abendanon, who cut a brilliant line across and up the pitch, and passed to Carraro on the right wing, who had to juggle to keep the ball in play. After he had offloaded to Matt Banahan, the ball found its way back to Abendanon who strolled over the line, and touched down between the posts, setting up an easy conversion for Barkley to add the extras. 3-17
A moment of uncertainty ended the first half, with a loose ball finding its way over the Aironi line, Biggs nearly got a hand to it, but just missed the ball following a tackle from the Aironi full back. Referee referred it to the TMO, who judged no try, but Bath still had a healthy lead going in at half time.
The home side were first to get more points on the board in the second half, finally turning pressure into points, as Mercier again stepped up to kick a penalty in front of the posts. 6-17
The all-important bonus point try came with ten minutes left on the clock, after Aironi's wing, Giulio Toniolatti, fielded a high ball from Bath, secured it, only to slip and fall into touch, giving Bath the lineout. A surging driving maul followed, which proved unstoppable, as Luke Watson burrowed over to secure the extra bonus point, and seal the victory for the visitors, 6-22.