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Match Report: Bath Rugby 17-15 Northampton Saints

22 Sep 2018
Match Report: Bath Rugby 17-15 Northampton Saints

Joe Cokanasiga scored his third try in two games as Bath Rugby made it back-to-back wins in the Gallagher Premiership with dramatic win against Northampton Saints at The Rec.

The visitors had taken the lead in the first-half through Cobus Reinach, but Bath fly-half Freddie Burns converted his own try to level the scores at the break.

A Burns penalty then put the Blue, Black and Whites ahead for the first time on 55 minutes, before Cokanasiga continued his try-scoring hot streak to extend Bath’s lead to 17-7.

Dan Biggar narrowed the gap with a penalty on 73 minutes after Bath strayed offside and a Tom Collins in the final minute gave the Welsh international a chance to draw the game.

But his conversion attempt from right on the touchline hit the post as Bath were able to hold on for their second victory in as many games in the league.

Dave Attwood, Taulupe Faletau and Aled Brew all returned to the starting for the hosts as they looked to back up their bonus-point win against Harlequins last week.

Darren Atkins also made his first start of the season against a Saints side that made four changes to the team which were narrowly beaten at home by champions Saracens in Round 3.

And despite heavy rain making conditions difficult, Semesa Rokoduguni came close to opening the scoring for Bath inside the opening five minutes after leaving multiple defenders in his trail.

The hosts continued to look dangerous on the wings, but they found themselves behind on 20 minutes when Reinach reacted quickest to a loose ball to touch down.

Biggar’s conversion gave Saints a 7-0 lead before Bath hit back through Burns, who intercepted a pass from Reinach and sprinted 80 metres to go under the posts.

His conversion put Bath level once again and that’s how it stayed until the break, after Burns missed a penalty opportunity on the cusp of half-time.

The start of the second half mirrored the start of the opening 40 minutes as both sides made plenty of handling errors but Burns put Bath ahead for the first time with a penalty on 55 minutes.

It was then the turn of Cokanasiga to work his magic, capitalising on a brilliant pass from Elliott Stooke and crossing the whitewash from 35m out, with Burns adding the extras.

However, just as the finishing line came into sight, Bath started to get sloppy and Biggar closed the gap with a penalty on 73 minutes after the defence strayed offside.

Saints began to pile more pressure on the home side and had a chance to escape with a draw in the dying seconds after Collins dotted down from an attack off a maul.

Biggar’s attempt from wide on the touchline agonisingly hit the post, though, ensuring Bath extended their unbeaten run to three games.

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