Aviva Premiership: Sam Burgess scores his first Premiership try as Bath beat Wasps
Last Updated: 10/01/15 6:12pm
Sam Burgess scored his first Premiership try for Bath as they beat Wasps 39-26 at the Recreation Ground.
The former rugby league star struck five minutes into the second half, as Bath triumphed on the back of further tries from flanker Francois Louw, wings Semesa Rokoduguni and Matt Banahan and substitute Ollie Devoto, while fly-half George Ford kicked 14 points.
Play-off challengers Wasps collected a losing bonus point, which had looked unlikely when they trailed 39-12. Late scores by Ben Jacobs and Alex Lozowski added to earlier touchdowns from Alapati Leiua and No 8 Nathan Hughes, while Lozowski booted two conversions and Andy Goode one.
Bath's latest league win meant they moved just one point behind leaders Northampton following Saints' 20-7 loss against Sale Sharks on Saturday.
Burgess was prominent during the initial flurries, twice making ground in midfield as the home side looked to start strongly against opponents who had moved impressively into play-off contention.
Burgess also shone through a couple of crunching early tackles, announcing his presence in no uncertain terms just three weeks before a possible run-out for England Saxons against Irish Wolfhounds in Cork.
And Bath's momentum was rewarded after 11 minutes when they breached Wasps' defence following sustained pressure, with Louw bouncing off a would-be tackler and touching down between the posts for a try that Ford converted.
Wasps benefitted from their first notable attack after Jacobs' strong midfield run left the Bath defence in disarray, and he linked impressively with Hughes, who delivered a scoring pass to Leiua.
It was a wake-up call for the home side, yet they responded through a Ford penalty 12 minutes before half-time, and then delivered a stunning try from deep inside their own half.
Turnover possession found its way to full-back Anthony Watson, whose angled run stretched Wasps, and then Ford sent Rokoduguni sprinting away on a 50-metre break.
Bath were in no mood to take their foot off the accelerator immediately after half-time, and more sustained pressure resulted in the impressive Ford sending Burgess over from close range.
Hughes replied with a try for Wasps shortly afterwards, yet Bath were not to be diverted from their quest for a five-point maximum, which arrived midway through the second period through a trademark power-packed Banahan score.
Wasps just could not cope with wave after wave of Bath attacks, and Devoto added another touchdown – Ford converted from the touchline – but the visitors finished strongly through tries Jacobs and Lozowski that said a great deal about their character.