Premiership: Bath 32-25 London Wasps

Bath (25) 32

  • Tries: Watson 2, Abendanon, Eastmond
  • Cons: Heathcote 3
  • Pens: Heathcote 2

Wasps (13) 25

  • Tries: Hughes, Helu, Daly
  • Cons: Carlisle 2
  • Pens: Carlisle 2

Bath held off a spirited Wasps side at The Rec to seal a third consecutive Premiership victory.

The hosts went in at the break 25-13 up after an entertaining first half.

Anthony Watson went over twice, with Nick Abendanon adding a third, while Wasps responded with a try from Nathan Hughes and three Joe Carlisle kicks.

The visitors battled hard after the break and, although Will Helu and Elliot Daly added tries, Kyle Eastmond earned Bath their bonus-point victory.

With Harlequins losing 25-20 at Gloucester, Bath are now eight points clear of their fourth-placed play-off rivals, and have closed the gap on second-place Saracens to five.

Wasps remain seventh and have now lost their last three Premiership games, but earned a losing bonus point and will be encouraged by their performance against an in-form Rec outfit.

The race for the play-offs

Leicester celebrating winning the Premiership in 2013

Played

Won

Points

Northampton

14

12

55

Saracens

14

12

54

Bath

15

11

49

Harlequins

15

9

41

Leicester

14

8

40

Sale

15

8

39

Wasps

15

6

34

Exeter

14

6

30

With fly-half George Ford on England duty, Scotland international Tom Heathcote regained the Bath number 10 shirt and kicked his side into an early lead.

They opened up an eight-point gap when Eastmond provided a bullet pass for Watson, released from England's Six Nations squad, to cross over, although Heathcote failed to add the extras.

Carlisle kicked two impressive penalties for Wasps as they forced their way back into the game, before Heathcote replied with one of his own.

Bath were gifted their second try when, after a powerful Wasps attack, Charlie Davies flung a loose pass to Watson who raced 70 metres for an intercept score, converted by Heathcote.

The visitors hit back as Hughes powered over in the corner, and Carlisle landed his third kick, but Bath responded when Leroy Houston offloaded to full-back Abendanon and Heathcote was successful with his kick.

After a breathless first half, it was Wasps who gathered momentum after the break and former Bristol wing Helu crossed over in the corner, with Carlisle making amends for two earlier misses with the boot.

But once again Bath responded as Eastmond sprinted over for the bonus point, after a chip from Heathcote, and the fly-half landed his third conversion.

Wasps were not to be denied, deservedly scoring a third try when Daly charged over from close range, although Carlisle could not convert.

A poorly executed penalty from Heathcote was met with nervous noise from the home fans, but Mike Ford's side saw it out.

Bath head coach Mike Ford:

"It was pretty stressful. It's a grind, with the Premiership, the LV Cup and Europe.

"As a coach looking for perfection, you want the players to be on edge every week. Today we weren't - we were a bit lacklustre.

"Having said that, after a bonus point win at home, you can never knock a Premiership win.

"Credit to Wasps, they kept going and fighting for a draw there at the end."

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young:

"The restarts in the first 20 minutes gave us lots of problems which left us with a mountain to climb really.

"But after that I was really pleased with our efforts, our commitment and obviously a bit of quality to back that up. So I thought we were right in the game up to the end.

"These are difficult places to come and win. It's a quality Bath team and we were right in there. We're not rejoicing in the losing bonus point though."

Bath: Abendanon; Watson, Devoto, Eastmond, Agulla; Heathcote, Young; Catt, Batty, Orlandi, Hooper, Day, Garvey, Louw, Houston.

Replacements: Palma-Newport for Watson (77), Henson for Devoto (63), Rokoduguni for Agulla (56), Stringer for Young (49), Guinazu for Batty (54), Perenise for Orlandi (49), Faosiliva for Day (62), Caldwell for Garvey (70).

Wasps: Daly; Helu, Masi, C Bell, Short; Carlisle, Davies; Mullan, Lindsay, Cooper-Woolley, Cannon, Myall, Johnson, Haskell, Hughes.

Replacements: Vea for Cooper-Woolley (70), Lozada for Cannon (68).

Not Used: Davis, McIntyre, Thompson, Simpson, T Bell, Hayter.

Attendance: 12,000

Refereee: Matthew Carley (RFU).