A late Dan Robson try sealed a 30-22 victory for Wasps over Bath Rugby at the Ricoh Arena.
Ollie Fox was thrusted into action for his Gallagher Premiership debut, with Chris Cook ruled out through a bug, which had affected other members of the squad earlier in the week.
It was a tentative opening, but Bath got the first points on the board through Rhys Priestland. After going mounting the phases, Wasps were penalised for offside and the fly-half notched a close-range penalty with just three minutes on the clock. [0-3]
Moments after Lima Sopoaga had struck the post with a penalty attempt, but Bath doubled their lead with 24 minutes on the clock. Priestland stepped up and made no mistake with his effort from in front of the posts.
With the game heading into the final 10 minutes of the half, Sopoaga made up for his earlier miss after Bath were pinged for holding on. [3-6]
The New Zealand international drew his side level three minutes later, as the fly-half slotted a routine penalty following a deliberate knock-on. [6-6]
The scoreboard kept ticking over, but it was Bath who found themselves back in the lead after a good period of possession inside the Wasps half. After referee Adam Woodthorpe had blown for an offside, Priestland maintained his 100% record from the boot to give his side a three-point advantage. [6-9]
There was just time for Wasps to have their say with the first try of the afternoon, as the clock ticked into the Red. Second rower Will Rowlands broke through a Bath tackle in the 22 and clambered his way over to score under the posts. Sopoaga’s conversion put Wasps four points in front at the interval.
Half-time – Wasps 13-9 Bath Rugby
Bath came out with urgency in the second half, as they looked to build on their first half showing.
Eight minutes in, Zach Mercer bundled over for his second try of the season. It was Freddie Burns, who set the momentum for the move, as the full-back cleverly kept in Sopoaga’s kick to touch inside his 22. Priestland then sent a high ball into the Wasps half, which was gathered by the leaping Semesa Rokoduguni, who soared into the danger zone. Despite being hauled to touch, Bath stole the resulting line-out and continued to plough away at the Wasps line.
Following a series of phases and intervention from the TMO, it was Mercer, who grounded the ball under a pile of yellow shirts. Priestland added the extras to regain the lead. [13-16]
Another Priestland penalty saw Bath move into a six-point lead with just under half an hour remaining at the Ricoh Arena.
Wasps continued to rally and Brad Shields was the beneficiary following a well-executed move from the scrum. Dai Young’s side powered into the Bath 22, and after going close in the corner, the England international edged his way over the line. Sopoaga’s kick ensured his side had a one-point advantage going into the last 15 minutes.
With seven minutes to go, Wasps got their crucial try, as the Coventry-based side capitalised on the numbers out wide. Replacement Tom Cruse made a half-break on the right wing before finding Dan Robson with the offload, which gave Sopoaga the easy conversion attempt. [27-19]
Rhys Priestland added another penalty to his tally with just over a minute to play, to put Bath within losing bonus-point range. Despite a valiant effort to attack from the restart, Sopoaga ensured Bath would leave empty handed with a successful kick from the tee.
Bath will now welcome Northampton to the Rec next Saturday, as they look to end Saints’ unbeaten start to the Gallagher Premiership campaign.
Full-time – Wasps 30-22 Bath Rugby
2 November 2019
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Half Time score: 13-9
- Tries: Rowlands (42), Shields (64), Robson (71)
- Conversions: Sopoaga (43, 66, 72)
- Penalties: Sopoaga (28, 31, 84)
- Tries: Mercer (47)
- Conversions: Priestland (47)
- Penalties: Priestland (3, 23, 35, 52, 79)