Aled Brew notched a double as Bath Rugby secured a bonus-point 29-13 victory over Worcester Warriors at the Recreation Ground.
The home side got off to a flying start with their first try of the afternoon coming after just nine minutes. After Jonathan Joseph’s kick was charged down in his own half, his midfield partner Ben Tapuai pounced on the loose ball and made a break through the Warriors’ defence. The Australian drew his man before offloading back to Joseph, who fended off the attentions of a couple of defenders to score impressively in the corner. Freddie Burns, who was making his first start since his return to the West Country, added the extras from the touchline. 7-0
The visitors hit back five minutes later through the boot of Jamie Shillcock to take his side within four points on the scoreboard. A minute later, Tapuai was back causing havoc in attack, showing his quick feet to blast through the gap into the Warriors’ 22. However, in the resulting play, Warriors hacked a loose ball up field and it turned into a foot race between Anthony Watson and Jonny Arr. With the ball bouncing just short of the Bath try line, Watson raced past Arr to prevent an obvious try-scoring opportunity. 7-3
Warriors continued to test the resolve of the Bath defence and their efforts were finally rewarded mid-way through the first-half. Jackson Willison combined with Shillcock and the fly-half found the surging Dean Hammond, who finished off a well-worked move. 7-8
With the Warriors having enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, Bath reclaimed control of the game in the last 15 minutes of the half. The Blue, Black and White spent six minutes in the Warriors’ 22 and their persistence was rewarded with Brew diving over in the corner for his first try of the afternoon. 12-8
With the clocking heading into the red, Bath ensured they would go into the break with an 11-point advantage, with Tapuai scoring a deserved try. Zach Mercer picked up where he left off in his Man of the Match performance against Wasps last weekend, and left the Warriors’ defence for dust with a powerful run from half-way. The back rower set Tapuai charging through on the 22 and the centre ensured the half finished with a flourish. Burns added the conversion.
Half-time score: Bath Rugby 19-8 Worcester Warriors
Worcester hit back six minutes into the second-half through Shillcock. After good initial work from the attacking line-out, the fly-half dived over from close range, to reduce Bath’s lead to six points. 19-13
With both teams fighting for the crucial next score, it was Bath who took advantage, with a second score of the afternoon for Brew. After stealing the Warriors’ line-out, Bath ground out the hard yards, pressing for a third try. A moment of quick-thinking from Burns saw the fly-half send a long looping pass out to Brew and the Welsh winger had the simple task of touching down in the corner. 26-13
With 17 minutes left on the clock, Bath were reduced to 14 men when Burns was sent off for a tip tackle on Josh Adams. Despite being a man down, the home side continued to control the game and assert their authority in attack and defence, stamping out any comeback from the Warriors.
With four minutes to play, Josh Lewis added his first points in a Bath Rugby shirt, with a composed penalty from Warriors’ 10m line. Warriors made one last attempt to score, but Bath’s excellent defence held strong to claim the bonus-point victory.
Final score: Bath Rugby 29-13 Worcester Warriors