There was nothing to split Bath Rugby and Wasps, as the two sides fought out a 35-35 draw at the Ricoh Arena in the second round of the Heineken Champions Cup.
Bath scored the first try of the game after just three minutes, with Joe Cokanasiga finishing off a flowing counter attacking move. Following good work from Tom Ellis to turn the ball over on halfway, Bath quickly moved through the gears. The ball was shipped out to Max Wright, and the centre cleverly drew the defender before offloading to Joe Cokanasiga outside him. The winger showed his pace and power as he rampaged his way into the 22, before cutting inside to find Will Chudley. The scrum-half switched with Cokanasiga, and the 20 year-old made light work of the Wasps defence to score his fourth try in six games for his new club. Freddie Burns made no mistake in slotting the extras. [0-7]
Wasps responded with a try of their own 14 minutes later to level up the scores. The home side found themselves with an attacking scrum on the Bath 22 and took advantage of the numbers out wide from the set piece. Joe Simpson went down the blind side and found Josh Bassett, who dotted down in the corner. Lima Sopoaga made it a seven-point score with the conversion. [7-7]
Bath were quick to regain control on the scoreboard, as they added their second try of the afternoon three minutes later. Chudley popped to Max Wright in the midfield, and the centre cut through the Wasps defence before offloading to the supporting Jack Walker. The hooker did well to draw the defenders before releasing the ball back out to the instigator of the move, Wright, who provided the finish. Burns made it two from two from the boot to extend Bath’s lead. [7-14]
Bath added a further score 11 minutes before the break. As Wasps looked to build on a attack close to the 22, Semesa Rokoduguni stepped into the line to intercept a pass from Willie Le Roux. The winger had pace to burn, as he ran in from 70m to add a third try for the Blue, Black and White. Burns continued his perfect afternoon from the tee with a successful conversion. [7-21]
With eight minutes to play in the half, Bath were reduced to 14 men with Francois Louw shown a yellow card for a tip tackle. Despite constant pressure from Wasps in the closing stages of the half, the Bath defence held firm to go into the interval in the lead.
Half-time - Wasps 7-21 Bath Rugby
It was an explosive start to the second half for Wasps, with Joe Simpson touching down two minutes after the break. Several quick carries from the Wasps pack, took play into the 22 before the backs came into play. A looping pass from Elliot Daly found Josh Bassett out wide on the right flank, and the winger took his side within touching distance of the try line. The ball was quickly recycled to Zurabi Zhvania, who cleverly popped the ball to Simpson, who dived over to score. [14-21]
Wasps continued to grow in confidence and levelled the scores just five minutes later. Bassett once again showed his trickery beating a few defenders to put his side within touching distance of the line once again. After a few phases Zhvania delivered the killer blow, as the prop bundled over from close range. Sopoaga ensured their was nothing to separate the two sides on the scoreboard with the kick. [21-21]
Wasps took the lead for the first time on the 50th minute mark. The hosts showed their attacking intent on halfway, as good hands from the backline secured front foot ball in the Bath 22. Simpson then found the charging Ashley Johnson, who showed his strength to power through the tackles and cross the whitewash. [28-21]
Bath needed a response to the relentless Wasps attack, and it came five minutes later. Walker turned provider once again with a clever offload just outside the 22, which saw Ewels go unopposed through the Wasps defensive line to put Bath back on level terms. [28-28]
The tries kept on coming, with Bath getting on the act once again with the ninth try of the game came with less than 15 minutes to play. After Burns slotted a penalty to the corner, Bath used the catch and drive to devastating effect. After bringing down the maul, Bath capitalised on the penalty advantage with Francois Louw using his experience to put Bath back in front. Burns added the straight forward conversion. [28-35]
The back and forth continued, as Wasps replied with a try of their own. After fielding a Bath clearance on halfway Elliot Daly made a telling break through the line and released Simpson who accelerated deep into the Bath 22. The scrum-half spotted Thomas Young outside him and sent the flanker in for the score. Sopoaga conversion brought the scores level with just 10 minutes left to play. [35-35]
Alex Davies had a late opportunity to snatch the win with a difficult kick out wide, but his effort drifted agonisingly wide of the posts.
Full-time - Wasps 35-35 Bath Rugby