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Bath Rugby 24 Cardiff Blues 13 Bath Rugby 24 Cardiff Blues 13

Match Summary

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Bath Rugby 24 Cardiff Blues 13

Gavin Henson emerged from the bench to make sure Bath Rugby booked a place in the LV= Cup semi-finals with a convincing victory over Cardiff Blues.

Alafoti Fa’osiliva started the ball rolling for the hosts before Micky Young clinched a second try in the first half, though Simon Humberstone kept the visitors in the match with two penalties.

However, Henson grabbed his maiden first-team try for Bath soon after the break and another replacement in Guy Mercer secured a bonus-point.

The Blues did find the whitewash through Dan Fish late on but it was only enough for a consolation try.

Bath were looking to press home their advantage at the top of Pool 3 as Dom Day led out a strong Bath outfit including a new partnership of Matt Banahan and Ollie Devoto at centre.

Meanwhile for the Blues, Wales centre Owen Williams was welcomed back to midfield after missing action since mid-October through injury.

Amid gusty conditions at The Rec it was the visitors who hit first, loose-head Anthony Perenise giving away a cheap penalty for fly-half Humberstone to nail an inch-perfect kick into the wind.

But it proved to be a short-lived lead as Bath formed a menacing rolling maul from the lineout and flanker Fa’osiliva was at hand on the try-line to apply the finishing touches.

Midway through the half Humberstone missed a chance from the tee for the Welsh region, but it was Bath, through interplay between Banahan, Tom Biggs and Ryan Caldwell, who were looking the most menacing.

However the second try came through another incisive maul and it was the home side again, scrum-half Young scooping up the ball after it popped out to barrel over.

Heathcote, who failed in his first conversion attempt, made no mistake this time and despite the conditions Bath were still sensing blood as a scintillating break through Fa’osiliva nearly reaped rewards.

The Blues were starting to click into gear themselves and a long ball punted into touch deep in Bath territory eventually yielded another three-pointer for Humberstone.

Indeed, Cardiff went into the break just a converted try away yet Bath’s attacking instincts would pay off once more – and it was Henson who came off the bench to bag the points.

The Welsh back showed patience to find the perfect moment and storm through the Blues line to dot down, before Heathcote added the extras.

Devoto was sin-binned heading into the last ten minutes as the hosts searched for the bonus-point try – and found it through Mercer.

There was time for the Blues to grab a deserved consolation score and they did so in spectacular fashion, as full-back Fish weaved his way to the try-line in the dying stages.

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Sandy Park, Exeter on March 16th. Tickets now available: www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Lineups

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