Six Bath Rugby Academy players helped Team Bath to a last-gasp victory over Cardiff Met to maintain their hold on top spot in BUCS Super Rugby.
Jasper Spandler, Mackenzie Graham, Thompson Cowan, Ethan Staddon and Byron Lloyd-Gilmour all started with Will Jeanes coming on as a replacement as the university hit a late penalty to seal a 20-17 victory.
Bath took the lead via an Alfie Garside penalty on 15 minutes and they extended their advantage midway through the first half.
After Cardiff scrum-half Rory Morgan was sin binned for a late tackle, Bath kicked to the corner with Spandler throwing expertly to Graham. The maul was halted by Cardiff but some strong phases led to Staddon powering over.
The conversion took the game to 10-0 and although Cardiff were physical in their response, Bath’s maul defence stood firm just shy of the half-time whistle to leave the Welsh team pointless at the interval.
Cardiff did get on the scoreboard first in the second half via a penalty, however it was Bath who continued to dominate up front. Graham again was the jumper at the line-out and hooker Spandler manoeuvred the maul to the line for his 13th try of the season.
At 17-3, the game looked done and dusted. It was far from that.
Met hit back late on with a forward try in the corner and the conversion reduced the gap to seven. Then with just a minute left on the clock, Number 8 Benji Williams picked up a loose ball in the midfield and rampaged to the line to send the home contingent into raptures.
The extras made it 17-17 with just seconds left on the clock.
From the restart, Bath retrieved possession and hammered the Cardiff line in search of the winning points. Cardiff infringed in their defence of their own try line and Bath punished them for it as Garside clipped over an easy three points to win a mouth-watering contest.