Joe Cokanasiga scored twice on his home debut, as Bath Rugby romped to an impressive 45-12 win over Scarlets at the Recreation Ground.
It was a strong start from Bath, with their opening try coming inside the first five minutes. It was good work from Rhys Priestland, who opened up the Scarlets defence, before offloading to Taulupe Faletau who made in-roads into the Scarlets half. After several phases of attack, Henry Thomas powered his way over the line for the first try of the game. Priestland slotted the extras to give Bath an early advantage in wet conditions at the Rec. [7-0]
Scarlets responded immediately, with the visitors piling the pressure on the Bath defence. After several collapsed mauls, Taulupe Faletau was sent to the sin-bin by referee Greg Macdonald.
The man advantage paid off, as Sam Hidalgo-Clyde used quick ball from a scrum to put Rhys Patchell through the gap in the Bath defence and over the whitewash. The fly-half converted his own try to draw the Welsh side level on 16 minutes. [7-7]
Bath were back in front six minutes later through Jack Wilson. A line-out on the Scarlets 22m line presented Bath with a prime attacking opportunity. The ball was shifted from right to left, with Tom Homer unselfishly sending Wilson in for a try. [12-7]
The Blue, Black and White continued to impress and were rewarded for their dominance with their third try of the half. After being held up over line, Bath continued to pile on the pressure and it paid dividends with Dave Attwood crashing through the Scarlets defence to score from close range. Priestland converted to give Bath a handsome lead going into the interval.
Half time: Bath Rugby 19-7 Scarlets
Bath came out of the blocks quickly, with a fourth try coming within three minutes of the second half getting underway. It was Zach Mercer, who started the move, as the flanker drew in the defender before offloading to Jackson Willison. The centre quickly moved the ball out to fellow new signing Cokanasiga on the Scarlets 10 metre line. The towering winger charged down the left flank, running over Patchell, before touching down impressively under the sticks. [26-7]
Scarlets got their second try on the board inside the last 20 minutes, with another well-worked move from the forwards. The Bath defence were powerless to stop a strong driving maul and Werner Kruger was on hand to touch the ball down. [26-12]
Bath ensured the Rag Doll would be returning to the West Country, when replacement Michael van Vuuren got his name on the scoresheet. A well-worked line-out saw Bath edge closer to the line, and it was the hooker, who found himself under a pile of bodies to score. [33-12]
The scoring wasn’t done and Bath profited once again with Cokanasiga going over for his second of the game. As Scarlets looked attack, the winger stepped into the line and intercepted on halfway before showing his speed to run in under the posts. [40-12]
It got even better with the clock heading towards the red, as Levi Davis slid in to score Bath’s seventh try of the evening and close out an unbeaten pre-season campaign. [45-12]
Full-time: Bath Rugby 45-7 Scarlets