Bath 40 - 25 London Welsh

Match info: Premiership at

Date: 30/03/2013 KO: 14:15 Att: 11,621

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Bath

TriesBanahan (2) Fearns (8) Rokoduguni (14) Agulla (65) Claassens (79)ConversionsDonald (14) Heathcote  (65, 79)PenaltiesDonald (21, 64) Heathcote  (75)

40
vs
25

London Welsh

TriesJewell (69)ConversionsDavies (69)PenaltiesDavies (24, 28, 30, 41, 48, 55)

FT (ht: 20-9)

  • Last Updated: March 30 2013, 16:27 GMT

Beleaguered London Welsh will not be going down from the Aviva Premiership without a fight as they showed last week at Gloucester - and again against Bath at the Recreation Ground.

Carl Fearns scores a try for Bath
Carl Fearns scores a try for Bath

Still smarting after losing their appeal this week against a five-point deduction and £15,000 fine over the Tyson Keats affair, the league's bottom club stayed in the game until the closing stages despite eventually conceding five tries to one in a 40-25 defeat.

Scrum-half Alex Davies summed up their never-say-die spirit by keeping them in touch with six penalties and a conversion of Seb Jewell's try but Bath's firepower behind the scrum ensured they always had the edge and retain hopes of a top-six place.

Fijian Semesa Rokoduguni was the matchwinner, his blistering pace earning him a try just before the break and also creating the bonus point score for Horacio Agulla. Other Bath tries went to Matt Banahan, Carl Fearns and replacement scrum-half Michael Claassens.

Although winless for four months, the Exiles had come within a point of beating Gloucester at Kingsholm last week. But 24 hours before kick-off they were forced to make two changes to their starting line-up, drafting in Tom Bristow at prop and Greg Bateman at hooker.

All Black Stephen Donald returned after injury for Bath, who also handed the number 15 shirt to England Under-20s full-back Ollie Devoto and brought Mat Gilbert into the back row, switching Fearns to number eight.

It took Bath just 80 seconds to light up the scoreboard, as Banahan barged over in the left corner after the Welsh were pinned in their own 22 from the kick-off.

Donald missed the conversion but there was no let-up in the onslaught, even when Bath were awarded a kickable penalty in the ninth minute.

Donald opted to kick for the corner and Fearns, relishing his ball-carrying role, dived through a clutch of bodies to claim the try from a well-rehearsed line-out move.

Having hit the post with the conversion and spurned a second kick at goal, Donald eventually cashed in on the Exiles' persistent indiscipline to with a straightforward penalty to take Bath 13-nil ahead.

But the home side, having lost Banahan to a nasty-looking leg knee injury on 14 minutes, lost all shape and focus and were punished with three Davies penalties inside eight minutes.

As Bath retreated before Tim Wigglesworth's whistle, the scrum-half was even prepared to try another kick from six metres inside his own half - but that was just too optimistic.

Bath recovered their composure in time for Donald's sweet, flat pass to send Rokoduguni on a straight run to the posts.

The fly-half's conversion sent Bath in at the break 20-9 ahead but a needless penalty - and a 10-metre sanction for Dominic Day throwing the ball away - let Davies kick his fourth penalty as soon as the match restarted.

When he added a fifth on 38 minutes, thanks to strong mauling from his pack, Bath's lead was back to five points. By this time, Gordon Ross was prompting effectively from fly-half and the Exiles looked dangerous every time they had the ball while Bath looked increasingly nervous, especially when Davies landed a sixth penalty on 56 minutes.

Donald brought some order to proceedings with a penalty and Bath hit their opponents with a real sucker-punch to claim the bonus point.

Rokoduguni did brilliantly to claim the restart and was immediately into his stride, beating two defenders and drawing another before sending Agulla over for the touchdown, with Tom Heathcote adding the conversion.

Back came the Exiles, creating a try for full-back Jewell on the blindside of a five-metre scrum. Davies' conversion brought his tally to 20 points.

However, Heathcote restored Bath's two-score advantage with a 75th-minute penalty to ease home supporters' nerves and Claassens try, also converted by Heathcote, increased the margin of victory.


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