Bath run riot against Italians
A review of the weekend's action in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
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Bath ran in eight second-half tries as they overwhelmed Italian side Calvisano in a one-sided 67-11 demolition in Pool Four of the Amlin Challenge Cup at the Recreation Ground.
Surprisingly, Bath were only 15-8 up at the break after they responded to Luigi Ferraro's early score with tries from Nick Koster and Dominic Day before they crossed for five tries - through Horacio Agulla (two), Josh Ovens, Mark McMillan and Guy Mercer - in 15 minutes.
Bath's Scottish fly-half Tom Heathcote landed seven of the 10 conversions and a penalty to finish with a personal tally of 17 points against an Italian side which capitulated after half-time.
Fly-half Freddie Burns did his reputation as one of the brightest rising stars in English rugby no harm with his 24-point haul for Gloucester in his side's 29-22 victory over Aviva Premiership rivals London Irish.
Burns, who made his England debut during the recent autumn Test series at Twickenham, proved to be the pivotal figure and crossed for one of Gloucester's two tries.
He also enjoyed a dream day with the boot, kicking two conversions and five penalties in a win which saw Gloucester move ahead of London Irish at the top of Pool One.
Irish, though, were the side who scored the game's first try when when wing Sailosi Tagicakibau's crossed at the Madejski Stadium, and it was the Exiles who led 10-6 at half-time.
Halani Aulika and Anthony Watson then both ran in tries early in the second half to extend their lead to 22-9 before tries by Dan Murphy and Burns hauled the visitors back into the contest.
The Newport Gwent Dragons are considering an appeal after flanker Jevon Groves was red-carded in the 30th minute of their bonus-point 31-0 triumph over part-timers Rugby Mogliano in Italy.
Rob Beale, the Dragons director of rugby, confirmed Groves was given his marching orders for a tip-tackle but they intend to review the video evidence ahead of a likely appeal.
"It was a late tackle at best - not a dangerous one," Beale said. "We will have a look at the video of it and review it before we discuss whether we need to lodge some kind of appeal against the decision."
Bucharest Wolves pulled off the shock of the round when they recorded a 25-22 victory over French side Agen, while Italian side I Cavalieri Prato only lost 37-23 to Stade Francais in Italy.
Rovigo lost 13-3 to Bizkala Gernika in Spain.
In the late game, London Wasps battled back from a 10-point deficit to secure a 13-13 draw against Pool Three rivals Bayonne to set up a virtually decisive return match at Adams Park next weekend.
The French side built a 10-0 lead in the first half thanks to a penalty from Jacques-Louis Potgieter and a try on the stroke of half-time from Marvin O'Connor which Potgieter converted.
But the second half saw the pool leaders hit back and take a share of the spoils to remain a point in front of their French opponents in the battle for a quarter-final place.
Nicky Robinson kicked a penalty after 51 minutes and then speedy wing Christian Wade crossed for a vital try.
Wade had caused the Bayonne defence no end of problems throughout the game with his pace and tricky running and was full value for his try. Robinson converted and then went for a match-winning drop goal with almost the last kick of the match, but failed to hit the mark.
Two penalties from Alex Davies helped a much-changed Welsh outfit reach half-time level at 6-6, and another penalty early in the second half briefly nudged the visitors in front.
But Grenoble, whose first half points had come from two Clement Darbo kicks, responded with a converted try by Vincent Campo, and Andrew Farley scored a second late try for the hosts to confirm victory.
The result leaves London Welsh in third place in Pool Five with just one win from three games.
Grenoble top the group ahead of Stade Francais, who were due to play Cavalieri on Saturday.
In a feisty contest that saw Welsh referee Neil Hennessy sin-bin four players - two from each side - group leaders Worcester prevailed 22-21 ahead of visiting Pool Two rivals Perpignan on Saturday week.
Former England fly-half Goode scored all the Warriors' points through a try, conversion and five penalties.
Perpignan gained a penalty try, a touchdown from scrum-half Florian Cazenave and 11 points from Wales international James Hook, but they were denied during a thrilling finale, even though their losing bonus point could yet prove crucial.
Mont de Marsan were the other winners on Thursday night as they beat Bordeaux-Begles 20-13.