Throwback Thursday: Wasps 23-25 Bath Rugby, 2015
Two Gallagher Premiership Rugby heavyweights do battle in the Heineken Champions Cup this weekend as Bath Rugby host Wasps at The Rec.
The two sides sit in third and fourth in Pool 1, behind Toulouse and champions Leinster, but fans should expect a feast of attacking rugby when they face off on Saturday afternoon – if their last European fixture was anything to go by.
The pair played out a glorious 35-35 draw in Round 2 at the Ricoh Arena, as they ran in five tries each in a fine display of incisive rugby which ended honours even.
Here we take a look back at another classic European fixture between the sides, as the West Country outfit grabbed a dramatic late win against Wasps in the same competition in December 2015, with Anthony Watson touching down for an 85th minute converted try to win it for Bath.
George Ford kicked the crucial conversion from the touchline to nudge the visitors two points ahead as the game finished 25-23 at the Ricoh Arena.
The result meant the West Country outfit closed the gap on their opposition, the Pool 5 leaders, but it was Wasps who would go on to top the group and qualify for the knockout stages – where they would make the semi-finals before losing to fellow Gallagher Premiership side, and eventual winners, Saracens.
Wasps had taken an early lead thanks to a penalty from Ruaridh Jackson but Ford drew his side level before Bath got the first try of the game as Jonathan Joseph raced over, with the England fly-half adding the extras to make it 10-3.
Elliot Daly reduced the gap with a long-range penalty before Bath grabbed their second try, with Nikola Matawalu linking up with Matt Banahan to send the latter in to score.
Jackson added two more penalties before the break, leaving his side trailing 15-12.
The two kickers exchanged three-point kicks after half-time before Wasps went in front for the first time, as Sailosi Tagicakibau smashed through two defenders to release full-back Rob Miller to score on the hour with what would be Wasps only try of the contest.
Replacement Jimmy Gopperth kicked a penalty to extend the lead to five points for Dai Young’s side in the 74th minute.
Wasps summoned some desperate defending to hold onto their lead towards the end as both Lorenzo Cittadini and George Smith were both sin-binned with 80 minutes on the clock – which would prove crucial in the outcome of the match.
Watson exploited his side’s two-man advantage as he forced over in the corner before Ford showed his nerve to win the game with his kick from the touchline.