Ford the hero for Bath

Date published: December 13 2015

George Ford's late conversion clinched a dramatic 25-23 Champions Cup victory for Bath over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

Ford held his nerve after Anthony Watson had scored a try in the left-hand corner in injury-time to draw Bath level against their hosts who played the closing stages with 13 men after Lorenzo Cittadini and George Smith were yellow-carded.

In a heavy hitting first half, Wasps only points came from the tee – three penalties from Ruaridh Jackson and a single penalty from England hopeful Elliot Daly. 

With Eddie Jones watching, Bath's two tries came from England prospects Jonathan Joseph and Matt Banahan. Ford kicked five first half points for the visitors. 

The second half saw a solitary Wasps try courtesy of full-back Rob Miller; with Ruaridh Jackson and his replacement Jimmy Gopperth kicking four penalties between them. 

After a strong start that saw both sides have a try chalked off, it was the hosts who took the lead through a Jackson penalty. 

Bath hit back with a penalty of their own, Ford opening his account after a shaky performance against Northampton last week. 

The West Country side took the lead shortly after when Joseph broke the Wasps line to cross the whitewash. Wasps kept the scoreboard ticking over, with Daly kicking a huge 50 metre penalty. 

Mike Ford's men grabbed their second try on 21 minutes. Niko Matawalu broke down the wing and popped the ball inside to Banahan who crossed the line for his 25th European try. 

Despite Bath scoring two tries, a third and fourth Wasps penalty from Jackson kept the home side to within three points heading into half-time. 

After the interval, Ford showed he had a big boot of his own, kicking a long range penalty to extend Bath's lead back to six. Once again, the hosts hit back with a Jackson penalty. Wasps finally took advantage of a sustained period of play to score their first try of the game through Miller; a score that saw them take the lead for the first time. 

The hosts looked to be in control when Gopperth opened up a five point lead for Dai Young's men. But, as Bath piled on the pressure in the final minutes, Cittadini saw yellow for collapsing the maul and. Bath continued to push, and Smith was also sent to the sin bin to take Wasps down to 13 men. 

Deep into overtime, Bath grabbed the win with that try from Watson, and Ford seal the victory with his kick from the touchline.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Miller
Pens: Jackson 4, Daly, Gopperth
Yellow cards: Cittadini, Smith

For Bath:
Tries: Joseph, Banahan, Watson
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 2

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Alapati Leiua.

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 David Denton, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Tom Ellis, 3 David Wilson, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer.

Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)