Bath came from behind to beat Glasgow 20-15 on Sunday in a result that sees them progress to the knockouts, despite losing their opening two pool games.
It was drama and lots of it at the Recreation Ground as Pool 4 went down to the wire.
Much like the game at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, the home side entered the clash as heavy favourites. However, the bookies were wrong. Glasgow started much the stronger and were over inside five minutes when a lovely angle from DTH van der Merwe off Henry Pyrgos’ shoulder preceded the wing finding centre Alex Dunbar in support. The Scotland international raced over with Finn Russell’s conversion making it 0-7.
A minute later Bath would suffer another setback, this time when England centre Kyle Eastmond left the field due to injury and was replaced by Ollie Devoto. One wonders if that means the centre will be ruled out of the Six Nations opener as England’s issues continue to mount up.
One player who is continuing to push his case for selection is Jonathan Joseph, whose initial steal on thirteen minutes led to a penalty for Bath soon after. Unfortunately for the hosts, fly-half George Ford was well off-target, but Bath were being buoyed by their scrum dominance.
Ford would, however, find his range just before the half-hour mark when Glasgow flanker Leone Nakawara was penalised for handling Francois Louw at line-out time. Ford then further reduced the deficit to 6-7 before the break when the Warriors were caught holding on at ruck time.
Glasgow continued to show their running ability after the interval though and were over again on 49 minutes with the try of the game. Their offloading game and desire to play saw Mark Bennett one of several involved before number eight Richie Vernon went over in the right corner.
Russell’s missed conversion would prove costly though as back came Bath three minutes later with a penalty try after Al Kellock pulled down the driving maul. The lock saw yellow and as news filtered through that Toulouse were losing at Montpellier, top spot was currently Bath’s.
The lead changed hands yet again at the Rec when Russell landed a pressure penalty to make it 13-15, with Bath then sending on Dave Attwood.
And the drama wasn’t finished there as Ford’s wayward boot off the tee preceded a wonderful last ditch tackle from Russell and Sean Maitland on Bath full-back Anthony Watson. Fortunately for the hosts, the resulting scrum saw Bath’s forwards dominate as a penalty try made it 20-15.
That was the final score in a mesmerising pool finale as Bath held on despite Glasgow’s best efforts, with Toulouse’s loss to Montpol seeing Mike Ford’s men into the quarter-finals. It truly is an incredible feat after losing their opening games to the Warriors and Guy Nov