Wasps stun Bath in nine-try thriller

16th Feb 2008, 18:26

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Chip and Go: Danny Cipriani crosses for the first points of his 22-point haul

Chip and Go: Danny Cipriani crosses for the first points of his 22-point haul

Wasps gave their Guinness Premiership hopes a massive boost with a cracking 34-42 bonus-point win over Bath at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Wasps gave their Guinness Premiership hopes a massive boost with a cracking 34-42 bonus-point win over Bath at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Pre-game, Wasps boss Shaun Edwards admitted this fixture was a must-win to their play-off aspirations. And having gone in at the break 20-13 down, the visitors stood up with slick tries from James Haskell, Dan Leo and two from full-back Josh Lewsey to turn the game on its head.

Wasps ran up 22 points without reply in the second period - the same as Danny Cipriani's personal match tally - but the home side also scored four tries to claim a losing bonus point.

All went smoothly early on for the hosts as Olly Barkley kicked things off with a second-minute penalty.

He was also closely involved in the opening try, setting Andrew Higgins free on a 40-metre run that eventually saw the winger score under the posts.

The conversion was a simple affair for Barkley and Bath led 10-0 after only five minutes.

Wasps quickly hit back though with a Cipriani penalty and five minutes later the England starlet fashioned a virtuoso try.

He launched a deft chip over the blindside defence and collected the ball himself before running 40 metres to score and then added the conversion.

Pegged back to 10-10, Bath put in some big tackles as a sign of their own play-off intent but Barkley was wide with a 40-metre penalty.

Both sides were being warned about infringements at the breakdown as Bath stepped up their intensity.

Fly-half Shaun Berne then slipped past the tackles of Cipriani and Joe Worsley only to drop the ball over the line, but when Wasps infringed again Barkley chipped over a short-range penalty.

That was cancelled out by a 40-metre effort from Cipriani on the half hour but he then missed a long-range penalty that would have given Wasps the lead.

Instead it was Bath who stretched ahead on the stroke of half-time when full-back Nick Abendanon scrambled over to the satisfaction of the TV match official and Barkley converted to put his side 20-13 in front.

However, that was the last they saw of the ball for a good while as Wasps grabbed the initiative after the break.

First England back row Haskell strolled in under the posts for a try converted by Cipriani, and the Bath defence went walkabout again when David Doherty created the extra man for Lewsey to score.

Cipriani could not convert but knocked over a penalty to take Wasps two scores ahead after 15 minutes of the half.

Bath coach Steve Meehan made several changes off the bench but it made little difference and Lewsey again found space to score his second try, and with Cipriani's conversion the visitors' lead was suddenly 15 points and Bath looked shell-shocked.

But they clawed their way back into contention when Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu finished off a move sparked by fellow replacement Jonny Faamatuainu.

Barkley converted but Wasps took the affair beyond doubt when Samoan Leo forced his way over at the other end, Cipriani converting.

There was a final fourth try for Bath, scored by Daniel Browne, but the hosts were a beaten side as their 15-month unbeaten home record in the competition came to an end.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries:
Higgins, Abendanon, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Browne
Con: Barkley 4
Pen: Barkley 2

For Wasps:
Tries
: Cipriani, Haskell, Lewsey 2, Leo
Con: Cipriani 4
Pen: Cipriani 3

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Andrew Higgins, 10 Shaun Berne, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Zak Feaunati, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Peter Short, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Barnes
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Daniel Browne, 19 Jonny Faamatuainu, 20 Mike Baxter, 21 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 22 Matt Banahan.

London Wasps: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Dominic Waldouck, 11 David Doherty, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 John Hart (c), 7 Joe Worsley, 6 James Haskell, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Nick Adams, 18 Dan Leo, 19 Rob Webber, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Dave Walder, 22 Mark Van Gisbergen.

Referee: Rob Debney
Touch judges: Peter Huckle, Bob Mullis
Television match official: Laurie Bryant, Geoff Warren