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Last-gasp score for Bath Rugby seals victory at Ricoh Arena

Wasps 23 v Bath Rugby 25

Bath Rugby recorded their second victory of this season’s European Rugby Champions Cup with a last-gasp win over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, 23-25.

With Wasps 23-18 up in the final seconds of the game, fullback Anthony Watson raced over in the corner to draw level. All eyes were on George Ford as he lined up the touchline conversion, but the fly-half took his time and steadied himself, sending the ball straight and true through the middle of the posts to seal the win.

The intent of both teams to play fast, expansive rugby was clear in the opening minutes. First, a superb take in the air from Semesa Rokoduguni saw the winger sprint over the line after two minutes, but referee Jerome Garces had spotted a knock-on so no score was awarded. Moments later Wasps thought they had scored through James Haskell, but the Television Match Official ruled no try. They were awarded a penalty though, and Ruaridh Jackson dutifully sent the ball sailing through the posts to open the scoring. 3-0.

Ford drew the visitors level after a sniping break from Niko Matawalu nearly led to a try for the scrum-half. As it was, he was hauled short but the penalty from Ford got Bath on the scoreboard. 3-3.

A strong defensive tackle from Academy lock Tom Ellis on Jackson created the first try of the game on 14 minutes. The fly-half lost the ball in contact and Jonathan Joseph showed his quick reactions to scoop it up and sprint to the line. Ford added the conversion. 3-10.

Elliot Daly reduced the arrears to four points shortly after with a trademark long-range penalty, before live-wire Matawalu created havoc in the Wasps defence. The Fijian pounced onto a spilt ball from Haskell, but was kept from collecting his own chip ahead. Joe Simpson tried to clear the danger for the home side, only for his kick to find Watson out wide. The fullback gathered and passed to Matawalu, who rampaged down the wing with Matt Banahan on his shoulder. All that was needed was a simple pass inside to the giant winger, who strolled over for the visitors’ second try of the game. 6-15.

Whilst Bath may have had the better of the scoreboard, Wasps weren’t letting them have it all their own way on the pitch. Two successive penalties from Jackson in the closing stages of the half meant there was just a three point gap between the two sides as the half-time whistle blew.

Half-time: Wasps 12 – Bath Rugby 15

Ford extended the lead after the forwards had earnt the penalty at the scrum, but Jackson quickly replied in kind, and the home side  went on to enjoy their most dominant phase of the game. Wave after wave of pressure was soaked up by the Bath defence, before they were stretched too wide and Rob Miller went over in the corner. 20-18.

Replacement Jimmy Gopperth looked to have wrapped-up the victory for the home side with a penalty on the 74th minute, but instead an incredibly tense ending played out, with Bath not willing to settle for a draw when offered the chance to take three points.

Instead, captain and Heineken Man of the Match Francois Louw pointed to the corner. Successive lineout drives were strong from the Bath pack, and Wasps were left with no choice but to stop them illegally – first replacement prop  Lorenzo Cittadini and then flanker George Smith saw yellow, leaving the home side with just 13 men to defend their lead.

With time up on the clock, and Bath again with penalty advantage after Smith’s dismissal, Louw signalled to go for the scrum five metres from the line. With Wasps unable to field a complete front-row, an uncontested scrum was taken, and it gave Bath the platform to spread the ball left and right. A series of pick and goes from the forwards inched Bath closer to the line, before the ball was flung wide to Watson to score. A quick check with the TMO confirmed the try, and then it was just down to Ford to add the conversion and the valuable extra two points.

Final score: Wasps 23 – Bath Rugby 25.

Match details

Ricoh Arena
European Rugby Champions Cup
13 December 2015
KO 17:15

Attendance: 11,319
Referee: Jerome Garces
Half Time score: 12-15

Wasps:
Tries: Miller (58)
Penalties: Jackson (5, 34, 41, 50), Daly (17), Gopperth (74)
Bath:
Tries: Joseph (13), Banahan (21), Watson (84)
Conversions: Ford (13, 86)
Penalties: Ford (11, 48)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Wasps and Bath.

6'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 3 - 0 Bath

Ruaridh Jackson kicks a penalty goal for Wasps.

12'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 3 - 3 Bath

George Ford kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

14'

Try for Bath! Wasps 3 - 8 Bath

Jonathan Joseph scores for Bath.

14'

Substitution

Leroy Houston replaces Tom Ellis for Bath.

14'

Conversion! Wasps 3 - 10 Bath

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

18'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 6 - 10 Bath

Elliot Daly kicks a penalty goal for Wasps.

22'

Try for Bath! Wasps 6 - 15 Bath

Matt Banahan scores for Bath.

35'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 9 - 15 Bath

Ruaridh Jackson kicks a penalty goal for Wasps.

42'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 12 - 15 Bath

Ruaridh Jackson kicks a penalty goal for Wasps.

42'

HALF TIME

Match score: Wasps 12 - 15 Bath.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

41'

Substitution

Henry Thomas replaces David Wilson for Bath.

49'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 12 - 18 Bath

George Ford kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

49'

Substitution

Lorenzo Cittadini replaces Jake Cooper-Woolley for Wasps.

51'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 15 - 18 Bath

Ruaridh Jackson kicks a penalty goal for Wasps.

56'

Substitution

Rob Webber replaces Ross Batty for Bath.

56'

Substitution

Nathan Catt replaces Max Lahiff for Bath.

59'

Try for Wasps! Wasps 20 - 18 Bath

Rob Miller scores for Wasps.

60'

Substitution

Jimmy Gopperth replaces Ruaridh Jackson for Wasps.

60'

Substitution

Charlie Ewels replaces David Denton for Bath.

65'

Substitution

James Gaskell replaces Bradley Davies for Wasps.

66'

Substitution

Tom Homer replaces Matt Banahan for Bath.

68'

Substitution

Simon McIntyre replaces Matt Mullan for Wasps.

69'

Substitution

David Denton replaces Charlie Ewels for Bath.

69'

Substitution

Alapati Leiua replaces Ben Jacobs for Wasps.

72'

Substitution

Charlie Ewels replaces David Denton for Bath.

72'

Substitution

Dan Robson replaces Joe Simpson for Wasps.

72'

Substitution

Sam Jones replaces Nathan Hughes for Wasps.

72'

Substitution

Rhys Priestland replaces Kyle Eastmond for Bath.

75'

Penalty Goal! Wasps 23 - 18 Bath

Jimmy Gopperth kicks a penalty goal for Wasps.

80'

Yellow Card!

Wasps lose Lorenzo Cittadini for ten minutes.

81'

Yellow Card!

Wasps lose George Smith for ten minutes.

85'

Try for Bath! Wasps 23 - 23 Bath

Anthony Watson scores for Bath.

87'

Conversion! Wasps 23 - 25 Bath

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

87'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Bath.

Final score: Wasps 23 - 25 Bath.

Wasps Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Ruaridh Jackson004012
Rob Miller10005
Elliot Daly00103
Jimmy Gopperth00103
Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
George Ford022010
Matt Banahan10005
Jonathan Joseph10005
Anthony Watson10005
Wasps v Bath
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PMatt
Mullan
1Max
Lahiff
P    
    HAshley
Johnson
2Ross
Batty
H    
    PJake
Cooper-Woolley
3David
Wilson
P    
    LJoe
Launchbury
4Tom
Ellis
L    
    LBradley
Davies
5Dave
Attwood
L    
    FLJames
Haskell
6Matt
Garvey
FL    
    FLGeorge
Smith
7Francois
Louw
FL    
    8Nathan
Hughes
8David
Denton
8    
    SHJoe
Simpson
9Nikola
Matawalu
SH    
4   FHRuaridh
Jackson
10George
Ford
FH 2 2
    WCharles
Piutau
11Matt
Banahan
W1   
    CBen
Jacobs
12Kyle
Eastmond
C    
1   CElliot
Daly
13Jonathan
Joseph
C1   
    WSailosi
Tagicakibau
14Semesa
Rokoduguni
W    
   1FBRob
Miller
15Anthony
Watson
FB1   
Replacements
    REd
Shervington
16Rob
Webber
RH    
    RPSimon
McIntyre
17Nathan
Catt
RP    
    RPLorenzo
Cittadini
18Henry
Thomas
RP    
    RLJames
Gaskell
19Charlie
Ewels
R8    
    R8Sam
Jones
20Leroy
Houston
RL    
    RSHDan
Robson
21Chris
Cook
R    
1   RFHJimmy
Gopperth
22Rhys
Priestland
RC    
    RCAlapati
Leiua
23Tom
Homer
RW