Bath Rugby forwards coach Toby Booth singled out the leadership of Charlie Ewels after the youngster led his side to a comfortable win over London Welsh in their opening LV= Cup fixture.
The England U20s lock skippered a youthful Bath side to a 47-7 victory at the Rec despite previously starting one game for the senior team as they beat Welsh for the second time this year.
Fellow academy product Max Northcote-Green twice dotted down as Olly Woodburn, Matt Banahan, Richard Lane, Marcus Garratt also scored in addition to a penalty try.
Bath’s had wrapped up a bonus point by the time the whistle blew for half-time and they ultimately matched their seven-try tally from September’s Aviva Premiership Rugby triumph over the Exiles.
There were 13 changes from the team that day and Booth could barely contain his delight at the professional display by his largely inexperienced side.
“We can be very proud of the performance because we were pretty dominant from the outset,” he said. “We spoke beforehand about the fundamentals of the game.
“We were very solid up front but we knew that we had to get a grip of the game before we could kick on.
“You have to start with the captain. I'm sure there were a few eyebrows raised – especially when you look at the personnel around him.
“That was a strategic decision. We are trying to develop people for the long-term as well as for the short-term.
“Charlie captained the A League side very well – he's got good leadership potential. We thought we'd reward him for that but we didn't expose him too much and there were some serious 'lieutenants' kicking around to help him out.
“I thought he captained the side exceptionally well. Sometimes that can affect your own performance but, two weeks running, he has produced very solid performances. That bodes well for us as a club.”
Former Bath winger Nick Scott provided a moment of cheer for Exiles fans when he went over in the corner after 60 minutes but that score provided brief respite in a long game for the visitors.
The match was over as a contest before half-time as London Welsh went into the interval 30-0 down but their second-half display was much-improved.
And assistant coach Ollie Smith was keen to focus on the positives from after the interval even though his team’s losing streak in all competitions now sits at nine games.
“We played with some fluidity to our attack and got to the gain line and actually put Bath under a little bit of pressure,” he said.
“Unfortunately, if you concede 30 points in the first half, then it's always going to be very tough.
“It was frustrating being penalised so much at scrum time. It was our own mistakes and our own fault that we conceded so many points.
“Bath are a good side and if you gift them tries you're making life really hard for yourself. And that's been the story of our season so far, really.”
Bath Rugby: Arscott; Woodburn (Lane, 69), Banahan, Devoto, Agulla (Clark, 67); Henson, Cook (Young, 46); Auterac (Catt, 46), Batty (Dunn, 50), Palma-Newport (Orlandi, 50), Ellis (Garratt, 69), Ewels (c), Northcote-Green (Woolstencroft, 60), Mercer, Sisi.
London Welsh: Elder; Crane, Reynolds, May (c), Scott (Field, 65); Roberts (Robinson, 55), Lewis (Rowley, 65); Henn (Cooper, 65), Morris (Britton, 43), Aholelei (Vea, 43), West (McNally, 53) Down, Browne, Vella, Pienaar.
Not used: Browne
Tries: Northcote-Green 2, Woodburn, penalty, Banahan, Lane, Garratt
Conversions: Henson 3
Penalties: Henson 2
Referee: Dave Procter
Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets.