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Match Report: Bath Rugby 3 Wasps 24

04 Mar 2017
Match Report: Bath Rugby 3 Wasps 24

Kurtley Beale crossed for a double as Wasps stretched their lead at the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with an impressive win over Bath Rugby.

Wasps have now won on their last three visits to the Rec for the first time in the professional era and they did the damage in the first half as Christian Wade and then Beale crossed to open up a 14-0 lead.

Tom Homer’s penalty just before the interval got Bath on the board but that was as good as it got as the visitors sealed the win in the final quarter when Beale went over for his second.

Victory means table toppers Wasps have only lost once in the last nine rounds of league action while Bath remain fourth but missed out on the chance to stretch their lead over Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints behind them.

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Bath have lost just once at the Recreation Ground in Premiership Rugby since last April but it was the visitors who started the brighter.

It took a while for their pressure to tell, Wade had already been denied once before a fine flowing team move put him over in the right corner.

Alex Rieder, fresh from inking a new deal with the club earlier this week, made the initial bust and when the ball came back right the No.8 was on Cipriani’s shoulder to collect and deliver the final pass for Wade to dot down.

Jimmy Gopperth added the extras and Bath were 7-0 to the good and deservedly so.

Bath finally got some territory on the quarter hour mark and it looked like they had conjured an immediate response when some Adam Hastings magic put David Denton in the corner but a fine Wade cover tackle put the back-rower into touch before he could ground it.

And Wasps then went back up the other end and continued to turn the screw, Beale going over this time as he cut a fabulous line back inside and around full-back Tom Homer after being fed by Tommy Taylor.

Again Gopperth slotted the conversion and Wasps were seemingly cruising at 14-0, a late TMO ruling on a forward pass only denying Gopperth a try of his own as Bath faltered.

But their talisman Gopperth then picked up a knock – although he stayed on – while James Gaskell limped off to stall their momentum.

And before the break the Bath scrum – which was one of the only areas the hosts were getting any joy – won another penalty and Homer got them on the board at 14-3.

After the break Gopperth – who had shaken off his earlier problem – slotted a long-range effort when Chris Cook obstructed Ashley Johnson under a high ball to restore a two-score lead.

Bath needed something and they needed it quickly, Taulupe Faletau’s break down the left nearly getting them over the line but Thomas Young won a breakdown turnover to relieve the pressure.

The hour mark came and went and still the hosts were struggling for territory and Wasps punished them up the other end with the killer blow.

A series of pick and go’s near the line made inroads but it was Beale who dived over when Cipriani and Willie Le Roux spread the ball left and with Gopperth’s conversion it was 24-3.

The final ten minutes saw Bath briefly threaten as Anthony Watson finally got into the game while up the other end Wasps chased a fourth try and a bonus point but 24-3 was how it stayed.

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