Perfect 10 from Bath Rugby secures quarter-final place

Bath Rugby secured their place in the quarter-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup after a ten-try, 69-10 victory against Pau at the Recreation Ground.

It took just 60 seconds for Bath to register their first try of the afternoon, with Tom Dunn scoring his second try in two games. After a great initial break from George Ford, the play went through the phases before the ball found Dunn, who showed his strength to fend off two of the Pau defenders to score. George Ford added the extras with an excellent kick from the touchline. 7-0

It wasn’t long before the Blue, Black and White were back on the scoreboard again, with the visiting side spending long periods camped in their 22. After Zach Mercer and Jonathan Joseph twice went close to the whitewash, it was Paul Grant who broke through the Pau defence finishing from close range for his first try for the Club. 14-0

A moment of brilliance followed after 22 minutes, when Jonathan Joseph sent a chip into the corner off the outside of his boot, which was expertly gathered and finished off by his England international teammate Anthony Watson. 22-0

After long spells defending their own line, Pau were close to a try themseves before Tom Homer took advantage of a stray pass from the French side. With play switching from right to left in the Bath 22, Tom Homer came into the line to intercept before running the length of the field for a bonus-point try. 29-0

Things went from bad to worse for the away side after 36 minutes, when they were reduced to 14 men with flanker Giovanni Kueffner given a yellow card. However, they managed to put their first points on the board just before the half-time whistle from the boot of fly-half Brandon Fajardo. 29-3

Half-time: Bath Rugby 29-3 Pau

The second half started in similar vein to the first, with the jinking Joseph setting the foundation to a flowing move, which was finished off by Paul Grant for the number eight’s second try of the afternoon at the Rec. 34-3   

Kahn Fotuali’i was next to show his instincts after some good work from the Bath pack. Against the feed, the dominant forward line overturned possession at the scrum before Fotuali’i sent Watson through the gap unopposed to double the winger’s tally. 41-3

After George Ford was given a rousing reception from the home supporters, his replacement, Rhys Priestland instantly made his mark with some quick-thinking, which left the Pau defence motionless. The Welshman used the kick and chase to spectacular effect as he crossed under the posts. 48-3

There was finally a cheer from the visiting fans, when winger Mosese Ratuvou bundled his way over to take the scores to 48-10 after 61 minutes.

The jubilation was short-lived as the influential Homer found space behind the retreating Pau defence, to offload to Zach Mercer, who deservedly got his name on the scoresheet following another strong performance at flanker. 55-10

With four minutes to play, the Bath crowd were treated once again to the dancing feet of replacement centre Ben Tapuai as he bamboozled the Pau defence to bring up nine tries for the Blue, Black and White. 62-10

There was still time for one final try, as Ross Batty continued his fine scoring run in the competition, rumbling over from the back of a driving maul to end an impressive afternoon’s work at the Rec. 69-10.

Final score: Bath Rugby 69-10 Pau

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