Harlequins scored with the last play of the game to secure a 29-31 victory over Bath Rugby at the Rec.
The visitors controlled the opening 10 minutes with 99% of the possession, which eventually resulted in the first try of the game. Bath fought valiantly in defence, as Harlequins went through multiple phases on the Bath line. It was Chris Robshaw who broke through from close range to score. James Lang increased his side lead to seven points from the tee with eight minutes played. [0-7]
The North London based side doubled their lead just four minutes later through Joe Marchant. Alex Dombrandt capitalised on the loose ball in the midfield and hacked forward and Marchant gave chase to score under the posts. Lang added the extras to give his side a commanding lead with just 12 minutes on the clock. [0-14]
A penalty kick from distance from Rhys Priestland put Bath on the scoreboard on the 16-minute mark to reduce the deficit. [3-14]
After the penalty, Bath began to fight their way back into the game, as they started to take control of possession and territory. A lightning break from Freddie Burns, was the catalyst for the Blue, Black and White’s first score. The full-back stepped two defenders on halfway before shipping the ball inside to Will Chudley. The scrum half hacked the ball into the Harlequins 22 and pressure at the breakdown secured turnover ball. Bath shipped the ball out quickly and the ball found its way to Jonathan Joseph to score his first try of the season. [8-14]
Bath closed the gap further with 10 minutes left in the half, as Priestland found his target once again from the tee. [11-14]
Harlequins hit back four minutes later with their third try of the game with a flowing move finished by the in-form Alex Dombrandt. With play on the Bath 10 metre line, the London side recycled the ball out wide with Ben Tapuai combining with Mike Brown. The full-back cleverly offloaded to Marchant, who found Dombrandt on his inside to score under the posts. [11-21]
Bath had the final say of the half, as some late pressure paid off with a crucial score. The home side remained patient through the phases and their efforts were rewarded as Nathan Catt burrowed his way over from close range. Priestland’s kick missed the target, but Bath went in to the interval just five points adrift. [16-21]
Half-time - Bath Rugby 16-21 Harlequins
Bath continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Some good work from replacement Miles Reid at the breakdown force a penalty, and Priestland made no mistake with the boot. [19-21]
Bath took the lead for the first time in the game seven minutes later and it was Priestland who added to his tally with another successful penalty. [22-21]
The lead was extended with 15 minutes to play, as Ross Batty crossed the whitewash on his return to action. Ruaridh McConnochie made a scintillating break down the right wing from halfway, but was stopped a metre short of the line. However, the former sevens man showed great awareness to pick out Batty to score. Priestland extended the lead to eight with his conversion. [29-21]
Harlequins were not going to let their winning streak end without a fight, and six minutes later they closed the gap. Brown was at the heart of the move once again as he found Marchant out wide, and the centre continued his rich vein of scoring form. [29-26]
It was heartbreak for Bath Rugby, as Nathan Earle went over with the clock deep in the red. The visitors disrupted the ball at the line-out mid-way inside the Bath half and quickly found their way into the 22. After some patient work through the phases, the ball was spread wide to the right wing, where Nathan Earle stepped his man, to ensure his side left with the points.
Bath will welcome reigning champions Saracens to the Rec next Friday, as they look to bounce back from an agonising defeat.
Full-time – Bath Rugby 29-31 Harlequins
2 March 2019
Referee: Matthew Carley
Half Time score: 16-21
- Tries: Joseph (25), Catt (40), Batty (63)
- Conversions: Priestland (64)
- Penalties: Priestland (15, 30, 43, 50)
- Tries: Robshaw (7), Marchant (11, 70), Dombrandt (32), Earle (80)
- Conversions: Lang (8, 11, 33)