A record-breaking home crowd of 12,755 witnessed Bath Rugby make it two from two in the Aviva Premiership with an emphatic 53-26 win against London Welsh at the Rec this afternoon.
The home side scored seven tries (including a brace for both wing Semesa Rokoduguni and centre Jonathan Joseph) in the victory against the Premiership newcomers. The first came in under two minutes as scrum-half Chris Cook - in the first Premiership start of his career - touched down after enterprising work from the clever-passing George Ford and the rampant Carl Fearns. Ford converted the try he started to make it 7-0 to Bath.
If it was thought London Welsh would be a pushover after their heavy opening round loss, that thought was dispelled two minutes later, when the visitors counter-rucked in Bath's 22 and scored through second row Pete Browne. The conversion of fly-half and captain Olly Barkley, on his first appearance at the Rec since leaving Bath in 2012, drew the scores level. 7-7.
Rokoduguni scored the first of his two tries as the opening quarter drew to a close, following quick ball out to his right wing. Ford added the extras. 14-7.
Bath had seemingly complicated their try-scoring efforts after their second try, but Joseph opted to take matters into his own hands after half an hour, chipping through and touching down. Ford then took Bath to two converted scores ahead of Welsh. 21-7.
Again, Welsh endeavoured to bounce back, this time through Stegmann, whose try was converted by Barkley. 24-14.
Ford nudged Bath further ahead on the stroke of half time with a penalty, to give the home team a 13-point lead.
Half time: Bath Rugby 27 - London Welsh 14
Six minutes into the second half, and with Bath camped on the Welsh tryline, Cook was almost tempted to send the ball wide. As it was, he had Leroy Houston on his shoulder, the number eight stepping and diving in for the try, converted by Ford. 34-14.
Welsh now seemed down and out, but one of the best tries of the match (for the neutral) was to come only moments later. Inside his own 22, Welsh wing Seb Jewell passed to his namesake Stegmann, who was somewhat isolated. Jewell wisely stepped back inside and somehow slipped a tackle which allowed him to run almost three quarters of the pitch before a series of passes saw Jewell score under the posts. Barkley converted. 34-21.
It looked like Welsh were going to score another length-of-the-field score from their 22, but it was snuffed out by Rokoduguni, who intercepted a careless pass and sprinted 20m to score. With Ford's conversion on song, Bath now led 41-21.
On the hour mark, an overthrown lineout by Bath gave Welsh flanker Lachlan McCaffrey an easy run to the tryline. The conversion by Barkley drifted wide, and the score was now 41-26.
Rokoduguni made one of the breaks of the day with ten minutes left to play, powering through tackles to give Bath the perfect field position for the increasingly dangerous Joseph to dance over for his second - and Bath's sixth - try. Now it was Ford's turn to miss for the only time in the match. 46-26.
Bath were more prosaic in their final try: their strong scrum gave them a penalty from which the juggernaut Fearns dotted down under the posts. Ford stroked the ball over for the final points of the match.
Final Score: Bath Rugby 53 - 26 London Welsh
13 September 2014
Referee: Matthew Carley
Half Time score: 27-14
- Tries: Cook (1), Rokoduguni (20, 55), Joseph (32, 71), Houston (45), Fearns (76)
- Conversions: Ford (2, 21, 33, 46, 56, 76)
- Penalties: Ford (7, 40)
- Tries: Browne (4), Stegmann (38), Jewell (51), McCaffrey (58)
- Conversions: Barkley (5, 39, 52)