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- European Rugby Challenge Cup
- Semi Final
- 27th Apr 2014
- KO 13:00
- Ground: Adams Park
- Att: 6,010
Amlin Challenge Cup: Bath forwards inspire side to 24-18 semi-final win at Wasps
Bath will play Northampton Saints in the Amlin Challenge Cup final after holding on to claim a 24-18 victory over Wasps in Sunday's semi-final at Adams Park.
In a repeat of the 2002-03 final, Wasps simply had no answer to Bath's set-piece power, with two of their three tries coming courtesy of unstoppable rolling mauls.
Hooker Rob Webber crashed over for two tries against his former club after Anthony Perenise had opened their account in the first half, with George Ford converting all three tries as well as landing a first half penalty.
Wasps, who led 13-10 at half-time thanks to Will Helu's breakaway score on the stroke of the interval, mounted a late flurry after Ashley Johnson touched down with 16 minutes to play, but, despite seeing Kyle Eastmond sin-binned, Bath held on.
The Amlin Challenge Cup final will take place at Cardiff Arms Park on May 23 between the teams who currently occupy second and third positions in the Aviva Premiership table.
The match was delayed by five minutes due to heavy traffic and Bath were late to arrive into both the ground and the game as Andy Goode put Wasps 3-0 ahead 90 seconds in.
Ford wiped out the deficit 10 minutes later but parity lasted just three minutes before Goode struck again.
Goode was beginning to orchestrate proceedings and his angled cross-kick to Tom Varndell presented the first try-scoring opportunity, only for the Wasps flier to see the chance, and ball, slip from his grasp with the whitewash in sight.
The hosts were made to pay for that miss on 25 minutes when Bath got some momentum behind their first significant driving maul and Perenise crashed down.
Ford's conversion put Bath 10-6 to the good but with half-time approaching Wasps produced the play of the match to forge ahead.
Outside centre Eliot Daly set off on a mazy run down the right wing, offloaded his pass to Helu to perfection and he cut inside to score under the posts.
Wasps were celebrating again four minutes after the restart when Kearnan Myall scampered over, however the try was ruled out by the TMO due to a forward pass in the build-up.
With Wasps pressing they then became the architects of their own demise as Italy international Carlo Festuccia inexplicably threw straight over the shortened line-out and Webber gleefully accepted the gift to crash down against his former club.
The Bath maul was causing more problems for Wasps and, after twice deliberately collapsing, Wasps were helpless to prevent Webber bundling over for his second of the match.
Ford's conversion gave Bath a healthy 24-13 advantage before Wasps struck back to set up a grandstand finish.
Clearly taking note of their opposition's prowess at the maul, Johnson stretched out to cross in the corner, however Bath, despite losing Matt Garvey and Eastmond to injury and the sin-bin respectively, held on.
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|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|Sunday 25th January|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|London Welsh 12 - 17 Lyon Olympique|
|Saturday 24th January|
|Exeter 45 - 3 Bayonne|
|La Rochelle 20 - 30 Connacht|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 30 - 19 Stade Francais|
|Bucuresti 10 - 52 Newcastle|
|Grenoble 3 - 28 Cardiff Blues|
|Rovigo 6 - 34 London Irish|
|Friday 23rd January|
|Edinburgh 38 - 20 Bordeaux-Begles|
|Thursday 22nd January|
|Brive 20 - 31 Gloucester|
|Oyonnax 20 - 3 Zebre|
|Sunday 18th January|
|Connacht 24 - 33 Exeter|
|Saturday 17th January|
|Lyon Olympique 21 - 19 Edinburgh|
|Bayonne 14 - 0 La Rochelle|
|Newcastle 29 - 40 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|London Irish 43 - 41 Grenoble|
|Zebre 23 - 13 Brive|
|Gloucester 33 - 3 Oyonnax|
|Stade Francais 47 - 12 Bucuresti|
|Friday 16th January|
|Bordeaux-Begles 26 - 3 London Welsh|
|Cardiff Blues 104 - 12 Rovigo|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com