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Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 18 Wasps 24

George Smith was delighted with the way Wasps raised their game as they made it five straight Aviva Premiership Rugby victories to move into the top four in the table.

The Australian openside was outstanding once again as Wasps emerged victorious at the Rec with a 24-18 victory over Bath Rugby.

Frank Halai scored two tries, while Simon McIntyre also crossed, and although they didn’t manage a bonus point, Smith was pleased with the effort of the team.

“We’re really pleased with the win,” he said.

“I thought in the first half we were probably in third gear and didn’t really have that intensity spike.

“But I thought we came out in the second half and got some good points. It sort of put us where we wanted to be. We’re very happy to come here to Bath and get the win because we want to consolidate ourselves in the top six and I think we’re doing that these days.

“I think the guys have good vision out there in the back three. They are really potent in their attack so we don’t want to put the harness on them. We see opportunities there in the next few games.

“With the conditions today it was quite windy but we’re still getting those wins and that’s what we need in the Six Nations period. We’re trotting along nicely but we’re not going to rest on our laurels.”

While Wasps are now well-placed in their play-off challenge, Bath are finding themselves increasingly distanced in the race for a top four spot.

They struggled in the opening stages of both halves, and coach Mike Ford admits that will have to change if they are to start winning again, even if they managed a late try from the impressive Amanaki Mafi to at least secure a losing bonus point.

“We didn’t touch the ball until there were 19 minutes left of the first half and we couldn’t get into the game really,” said Ford.

“We started poorly defensively and I think that brought them into the game. With the confidence they’ve got at the moment, they seemed to grow pretty quickly.

“We got ourselves back into the game. If Matt Banahan scores that try just before half-time we go in leading but he didn’t. We had a poor start to the second half again so I’m really concerned about our starts to the halves.

“Their second try was a bit bizarre going down the touchline. But we’re disappointed because we’ve lost at the Rec again and the fans have been brilliant, even then they were very supportive when we got that last try.

“The boys are very disappointed in the changing rooms but we’ve need to get ourselves picked up for next week.”

Bath Rugby: Homer, Rokoduguni, Banahan, Devoto (Clark 41), Agulla (Williams 73), Priestland, Cook (Evans 50), Lahiff (Obano 73), Webber (Batty 48), Wilson (Thomas 48), Ewels (Garvey 50), Day, Houston (Mercer 76), Louw, Mafi
Not used:
 
Wasps: Piutau C, Wade, Daly, Piutau S, Halai, Jackson (Gopperth 50), Robson, McIntyre (Bristow 62), Johnson (Festuccia 56), Cooper-Woolley (Cittadini 62), Davies (Cannon 56), Myall, Young, Smith, Hughes (Reider 62)
Not used: Stevenson
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Homer, Mafi
Conversions: Homer
Penalties: Priestland 2
 
Wasps
Tries: Halai 2, McIntyre
Penalties: Daly, Jackson, Gopperth
 
Referee: Tom Foley
Attendance: 13,322

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