Planet Rugby

Bath make light work of woeful Leeds

05th April 2008 16:15

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Matt Banahan v Leeds

Hat-trick hero: Banahan caused Leeds all sorts of problems

Bath eased their way into the European Challenge Cup semi-finals with a 57-5 rout of fellow Premiership side Leeds.

Having cruised through their pool matches with a 100 per cent record, Bath had too much power and experience at close quarters for the Guinness Premiership's bottom club.

With so much more possession, their backs helped themselves and Matt Banahan scored a hat-trick to take his tally for the season to thirteen.

The visitors' back line was completely rejigged from the side that went down 66-7 at Saracens last weekend, with England U20 fly-half Adam Greendale brought in for his debut.

Stuart Hooper led the team out onto the ground that will become his new home from next season.

The man he will be replacing, England lock Steve Borthwick, was one of few significant absentees on the Bath side, nursing an ankle injury.

Olly Barkley opened the scoring with a long-range penalty inside two minutes but Leeds responded with a bright passage of play until Kearnan Myall obstructed a defender.

Sloppy work at the other end by Bath prevented them extending their lead until the 18th minute when Barkley and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu put Banahan over for his first try.

Barkley added the conversion and then released Nick Abendanon, who embarked on a scything run from his own half only to be hauled down just short of the line by opposite number John Goodridge.

Five minutes later, Abendanon latched onto Barkley's chip over the top of the defence and this time Goodridge could not prevent the score, which was converted by the fly-half for a 17-0 lead.

The Leeds pack was struggling in the set-piece but when Hooper and prop Mike MacDonald made progress over the game line, Darren Edwards sent centre Rob Vickerman clear for a try on the half hour.

Bath needed only 42 seconds of the second half to get the scoreboard ticking again. Fed the ball from the re-start, right wing Andrew Higgins not only set up the ruck on his own 22 but was also on the end of the move, which featured a 50-metre break from skipper Alex Crockett.

Barkley again added the conversion and touched down himself after 46 minutes, looping around Crockett and racing 40 metres to the posts for the try and another easy conversion.

Left wing Banahan had overrun at least one scoring pass before Crockett, with a dummy, and Abendanon put him over for his second try in the 66th minute.

It was Jonny Faamatuainu's turn after 73 minutes, taking Higgins' overhead pass to score after the winger had stepped through one of many holes appearing in the Leeds defence.

Barkley added his seventh conversion and took his tally to twenty-two points when he also converted Banahan's hat-trick try near the end.

The Scorers:

For Bath

Tries: Banahan 3 , Abendanon, Higgins, Barkley, Faamatuainu, Browne

Pen: Barkley

Cons: Barkley 7

For Leeds

Try: Vickerman

The Teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Andrew Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett (c), 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Chris Goodman, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jonny Faamatuainu, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Peter Short, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Flatman.

Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Paulica Ion, 18 Martin Purdy, 19 Daniel Browne, 20 Mike Baxter, 21 Tom Cheeseman, 22 Michael Stephenson.

Leeds: 15 Jon Goodridge, 14 Richard Welding, 13 Tom Rock, 12 Rob Vickerman, 11 Leigh Hinton, 10 Adam Greendale, 9 Darren Edwards, 8 Calum Clark, 7 Martin Schusterman, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Erik Lund, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Fosi Pala'amo, 2 Rob Rawlinson, 1 Mike MacDonald.

Replacements:v 16 Adam Hopcroft, 17 James Parkes, 18 Danny Paul, 19 Rhys Oakley, 20 Joe Bedford, 21 Mark Lock, 22 James Brooks.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Touch Judges: Jerome Garces, Eric Soulan (France)

Citing Commissioner: Jean-Claude Legendre (France)

Match Commissioner: Eric Bullion

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