Sam Burgess made his Union debut but it was Bath’s pack who stole the show as Harlequins were dispatched 25-6 at The Rec on Friday.
Sam Burgess made his Union debut but it was Bath’s pack who stole the show as Harlequins were dispatched 25-6 at The Rec.
Two early tries from Bath were just rewards for their dominant opening display.
Matt Banahan grabbed the first after some neat passing, before Kyle Eastmond continued his good try scoring season with the side’s second inside the first 20 minutes.
Three yellow cards for Quins quashed any chance of a comeback in the second half, with Bath relentless in their pressure.
Burgess’ introduction mid-way through the second half gave the home side the incentive to push on, and they did when Ross Batty went over, before Leroy Houston finished the try scoring late on to ensure all five points stayed at The Rec.
The spotlight was not on Burgess in the opening exchange, and instead shone brightly on his table topping team who started the game far superior to Quins.
Banahan grabbed the side’s first five points of the evening, a just reward for an opening ten minutes when the visitors barely ventured out of their own 22. He was fed by Horacio Agulla, and dived over, though Ollie Devoto was unable to kick the conversion on his 50th appearance.
Ten minutes later the home side rubbed further punishment to Quins, as Eastmond went over for his third try of the season.
It was Devoto who fed him after a wave of attacks, though the youngster again missed his conversion in what was a nervy start for the fly-half. Harlequins did get their first score of the evening after 22 minutes, the ever reliable Nick Evans kicking his only penalty of the first half through.
But the ten point lead was brought back thanks to Devoto, as the 21 year old kicked through to take the lead into the break. Evans got another penalty through within moments of the restart, but Harlequins failed to register any more points for the remainder of the game.
Their cause was of course not helped with three sin bins in the space of six minutes, all three coming in the midst of a huge Bath attack. Karl Sinckler was the first as a result of constant fouling, and George Robson quickly joined him for deliberately collapsing the maul. And they weren’t short of company, with Will Collier grabbing a seat of his own after standing up in the scrum.
The 12 men of Harlequins actually fared surprisingly well for those ten minutes, conceding no points. But they couldn’t have been too pleased to see Union debutant Burgess take to the field for his much anticipated debut, as he was greeted by a huge cheer.
The former Rugby League man’s presence must have been enough to give Bath their third try of the evening, as Batty had the ball in his hands following a drive from a line-out, as the side from The Rec were finally treated to the try that had been coming for over 15 minutes. But it was another poor half for kicker Devoto, as he again missed his conversion.
The scoring was completed and the bonus point secured with the fourth and final try of the night coming eight minutes from time. Houston went over following another drive, and Devoto finished his night on a high with the conversion.
The result sees Bath move to the top of the league ahead of tomorrow’s ties, whilst Harlequins suffered back to back defeats in the league for the first time since October 2013.
Tries: Banahan, Eastmond, Batty, Houston
Pens: Evans 2
Yellow Cards: Sinckler, Robson, Collier
Bath: 15 Gavin Henson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Ollie Devoto, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 David Sisi, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Paul James, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Sam Burgess, 23 Horacio Agulla.
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Jordan Turner-Hall.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce, Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff