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Two-try Houston helps hoist Bath Rugby to third

A brace of tries from Leroy Houston helped Bath Rugby to a bonus point 14-29 win against London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon, which moves the Club to third in the Aviva Premiership table.

Bath had gone close to scoring twice before in the opening minutes, but they were only able to land the first blow in the eleventh: a rolling maul allowing the tailgating Rob Webber to touch down in the corner. The wind being as strong as it was, Tom Homer's conversion attempt in the face of the elements fell just short. 

Houston then scored a superb solo effort, taking the ball at the front of Bath's lineout in the home 22 and sprinting up the wing - not before palming off a defender - to score Bath's second try. The force of the wind again managed to take the power out of Homer's conversion attempt, blowing the ball back and denying Bath a further two points. 0-10. 

Welsh responded in the 26th minute when, awarded a penalty in front of Bath's posts, they took a quick tap and, after some heavy defensive hitting from Bath, centre Nic Reynolds found a gap to score. Fly-half Tristan Roberts converted to make it 7-10. 

Bath weren't able to make their set-piece dominance tell at the close of the second half, in spite of repeated scrum penalties awarded to them around the halfway mark, and the first half ended as the rain took a torrential turn. 

Half time: London Welsh 7 - 10 Bath Rugby  

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Bath had Welsh under the cosh inside the home 22. At the Welsh throw-in, Bath were quick to steal the ball, hooker Rob Webber and blinside Carl Fearns making good yards before Sam Burgess broke through two tackles to score. Homer converted. 7-17. 

Bath continued to assert their superiority at the scrum, and as the final quarter approached, they opted again and again to pack down as Welsh were penalised. After three such penalties at the same scrum, Houston powered through for his second try of the match. The conversion was missed. 7-22. 

The visitors struck a hammer blow by scoring almost immediately after the restart, when Fearns intercepted a pass inside the Welsh half, quickly popped to Matt Garvey, who found Alafoti Faosiliva to score the bonus point try. This time, with the wind at his back, Homer calmly slotted the two-pointer. 7-29

Welsh's final response came, fittingly, from their standount player, number eight Opeti Fenua, who barged over in the 75th minute. Replacement Will Robinson made the impressive kick of the afternoon from the touchline to add the extras. 

Full time: London Welsh 14 - 29 Bath Rugby

 

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