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Bath Rugby 30 London Wasps 23

08 Sep 2012
Bath Rugby 30 London Wasps 23

Winger Kyle Eastmond announced his arrival in rugby union with a sensational try to help Bath Rugby to a 30-23 Aviva Premiership success over London Wasps at the Rec.

The former St Helens man arrived to much fanfare last season but injury restricted him to just three substitute appearances for Bath.

However with everyone watching for Wasps’ own diminutive winger Christian Wade, after his double against Harlequins at Twickenham last week, it was Eastmond who stole the show with his second-half score.

Bath made the faster start and earned an early penalty as Wasps drove through a lineout taking Dominic Day out in the air and Olly Barkley made no mistake by slotting the three points.

It took eight minutes for Bath to get Eastmond involved as the former league star went on a slippery run in midfield but as was the case for much of the opening stages, their handling let them down.

Wasps had their first chance to hit back when Bath were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck but Nick Robinson missed an eminently kickable penalty.

However the Welshman made amends after 17 minutes as he slotted an easy shot at goal on the right to draw the sides level.

It was proving a cagey affair with both sides struggling to get their attacking games going but in the end it was the power of Matt Banahan which led to the first try.

Playing at inside centre, Banahan made two barnstorming runs in the same move and while Billy Vunipola was able to bring him down the first time, there was to be no stopping him the second time he got his hands on the ball as he notched up Bath’s first try of the season.

Banahan’s initial run through the midfield caused havoc in the Wasps defence and as they struggled to track back Bath spread the wall back to the 25-year-old who shrugged off the tackle of Elliot Daly to go over, Barkley converting to make it 10-3.

Barkley showed his talents at the other end of the pitch in the closing stages of the first half as he somehow stopped Wade from going over for his third try of the season.

Robinson had put the flying winger away but Barkley judged the angle perfectly to haul him down inside the Bath 22.

However the visitors did at least manage to finish the half with some points as Bath were penalised for handling in the ruck and Robinson slotted his second penalty of the day from right in front as Wasps trailed just 10-6 at the break.

Bath made the perfect start to the second half with an early scrum penalty as their pack began to gain the ascendancy and Barkley extended the lead back to seven.

And it got even worse for Wasps two minutes later when a misunderstanding between Robinson and Tom Palmer saw the ball bounce loose and Tom Biggs hacked forward and held off Wade tracking back to dot down.

Wasps needed an immediate response and they got just that after a moment of inspiration from their second row Marco Wentzel.

The former South Africa international produced a perfectly-judged dink over the top which Tom Varndell collected to go over unchallenged. Robinson’s exquisite conversion brought Wasps back to 20-13.

Bath should have scored their third try of the afternoon just before the hour mark as Carl Fearns crashed through again but the offload to Michael Claassens went forward to spare the visitors.

But Bath did get the decisive third with quarter of an hour remaining as Eastmond showed why he had everyone in rugby league raving about him with an incredible run and try.

The winger took the ball on the Wasps 22 and jinked his way past at least five visiting tacklers to go under the posts and open his Aviva Premiership account.

Again Wasps were in danger of letting the game slip away from them, but after Varndell’s earlier score, it was Wade who pounced as he collected the ball from Joe Launchbury on halfway and this time Barkley could not lay a hand on him as Wasps moved back to within seven points.

But with just over a minute to go Wasps conceded a penalty in their own half after Daly had lost possession and Barkley sealed the win with a penalty from the left.

Wasps did at least manage a deserved losing bonus point as Bath conceded a penalty with time up and Robinson did the honours from the tee.

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