Planet Rugby

Bath take Albi by storm

07th December 2007 19:46

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Butch James Bath

Rich Pickings: Butch James supplied 21 of Bath's 26 points

Bath made it three European Challenge Cup wins out of three with a brave 26-18 result at the rain-lashed Maison des Sports on Friday night, thereby opening clear water at the top of Pool One.

Butch James scored 21 of the 26 points, including six kicks from six shots at goal, as Bath virtually cemented their quarter-final place in the European Challenge Cup after only three of the six pool matches.

Albi fly-half Matthieu Maillard stunned Bath with a try in the seventh minute and two penalty goals, but James kept his cool to slot the goals - including the extras to a try from flanker Andy Beattie.

Home prop Jerome Filitoga was sin-binned in the 21st minute, and although Albi held firm during his 10-minute rest, they conceded Beattie's try as he ran back on to the field and James' professionalism did the rest.

Bath kept their cool during 15 phases on the Albi line, before James muscled his way over the line to seal a match-winning lead. Albi hit back with a try to replacement Frederic Manca, and although Bath may regret not going for the try bonus point, they seem in little danger of not winning the pool and earning a home quarter-final.

The scorers:

For Albi:

Tries: Maillard, Manca

Cons: Maillard

Pens: Maillard 2

For Bath:

Tries: Beattie, James

Cons: James 2

Pens: James 4

Albi: 15 John Stewart, 14 Justin Mensah-Coker, 13 Thomas Sanchou, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 Patrice Serre, 10 Matthieu Maillard, 9 Sébastian Pages, 8 Lilian Ducos, 7 Franck Marechal, 6 Yohann Misse, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Philippe Guicherd (c), 3 Christophe Lafoy, 2 Nicolas Grelon, 1 Jérôme Filitoga.

Replacements: 16 Mathieu Larrouy, 17 Pierre Saby, 18 Guillaume Ribes, 19 Paul Guffroy, 20 Frédéric Manca, 21 Dimitri Senio, 22 Tim Bowker.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Michael Stephenson, 10 Butch James, 9 Nick Walshe, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Peter Short, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Barnes.

Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Paulica Ion, 18 Martin Purdy, 19 Jonny Faamatuainu, 20 Chris Goodman, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Olly Barkley.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Touch judges: Ted Coutts (Scotland), David Anderson (Scotland)

Television match official: Iain Heard (Scotland)

Match commissioner: Iain Goodall (Scotland)

Meanwhile, Newcastle's hopes took a hit as they slipped to a 16-13 loss to Connacht in Ireland tonight.

Jonny Wilkinson converted Tom May's first-half try and added a couple of penalty goals in the opening hour, but the plucky Irish province kept in touch through a Conor O'Loughlin try and the boot of fly-half Andy Dunne.

Dunne dropped a goal to level the scores at 13-all, and kept his cool to kick a penalty goal in the dying minutes to seal a hard-fought victory. The Falcons are still odds-on to top the pool, but have crucial games against Brive and a return match against Connacht to come.

The scorers:

For Connacht:

Try: O'Loughlin

Con: Dunne

Pens: Dunne 2

Drop goal: Dunne

For Newcastle:

Try: May

Con: Wilkinson

Pen: Wilkinson

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Aidan Wynne, 13 Darren Yapp, 12 Mel Deane, 11 Ofisa Treviranus, 10 Andy Dunne, 9 Conor O'Loughlin, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Jonny O'Connor , 6 Mike McCarthy, 5 Andrew Farley (c), 4 Michael Swift, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 David Gannon, 19 Ray Ofisa, 20 Conor McPhillips, 21 Tim Donnelly, 22 Matt Mostyn.

Newcastle:15 Mathew Tait, 14 Tom May, 13 Jamie Noon, 12 Toby Flood, 11 John Rudd, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Hall Charlton, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Ben Woods, 6 Brent Wilson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Andy Long, 1 Joe McDonnell.

Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Sean Tomes, 19 Russell Winter, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Steve Jones, 22 Tim Visser.

Referee: Franck Maciello (France)

Touch judges: Jean-Pierre Matheu (France), Eric Briquet-Campin (France)

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