Gopperth kicks Wasps past Bath

Date published: October 24 2015

Eleven points off the boot of Jimmy Gopperth helped the London Wasps to a 16-9 victory against Bath Rugby at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Saturday.

In driving rain the first half was a war of attrition with the ball spending most of its time in the air. Both sides were looking to find territory with the boot rather than through running rugby.

The Wasps defence was fantastic throughout, keeping the visitors at bay. Their forwards and in particular England's Joe Launchbury excelled, nullifying the potent attacking threats of George Ford, Kyle Eastmond and Anthony Watson.

Perhaps on a different day Bath could have posed more of a threat to the Wasps defence if the conditions had allowed them to play more running rugby.

The first penalty attempt of the match came from Tom Homer in the sixth minute, the full-back going for the posts from far out wide on the left but his kick drifted wide.

Wasps took the lead with first score of the match coming in the 21st minute through a penalty from Jimmy Gopperth.

In the 29th minute Bath were awarded a penalty on the 22-metre line, 15 metres in from the left. Fly-half George Ford stepped up to level the scores.

Soon after, the home side were ahead once more – Gopperth with another successful penalty kick five minutes before the break.

Gopperth missed two penalties in quick succession immediately after half-time though as Wasps built up the pressure on the visitors' defence, looking to press home their advantage.

The key moment of the match came in the 53rd minute, sustained pressure from the hosts ended in a turnover ball from the visitors.

In trying to clear his lines Bath's scrum-half Niko Matawalu saw his kick charged down by Nathan Hughes.

The Fijian took down the onrushing Wasps number eight and after deliberation with the TMO, referee Craig Maxwell awarded a penalty try and a yellow card to Matawalu.

Gopperth added the conversion to see the home side take a 13-3 lead with their opponents down to 14 men.

Six minutes later the visitors conceded a penalty at the scrum which Gopperth successfully scored extending his side's lead to 13 points.

On 66 minutes Bath clawed back three points through the boot of Ford to cut the deficit to ten points.

The 22-year-old added another three points to bring his side within seven of the opposition and earn a bonus point for his side, as Wasps ran out 16-9 winners.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Penalty Try
Con: Gopperth
Pens: Gopperth 3

For Bath:
Pens: Ford 3

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

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Alafoti Faosiliva, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Dave Wilson, 19 Dom Day, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Matt Banahan.

Referee:Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees:Roger Baileff, Peter Allan
TMO: David Grashoff