Bath 18-16 Wasps: Premiership duo play out Champions Cup dead rubber
Last Updated: 12/01/19 5:58pm
Bath consigned Wasps to an 18-16 European Champions Cup defeat at the Recreation Ground in their first win in the competition this season.
Both sides' European Champions Cup ambitions had long fallen by the wayside but Bath summoned up just enough energy in the last 10 minutes to claim victory with a 79th-minute penalty from Welsh fly-half Rhys Priestland.
Scrum-half Max Green and number eight Zach Mercer scored tries for Bath, with Priestland also adding another penalty and a conversion.
Wasps scored one try through Nathan Hughes, with Lima Sopoaga kicking two penalties and a conversion and Rob Miller also scoring from the tee.
A Sopoaga penalty had opened the scoring for Wasps after six minutes but Bath responded immediately with a score from 75 metres, as Taulupe Faletau exploded into action.
Breaking from his own 22, he brushed aside both Michele Campagnaro and Juan de Jongh before bursting clear and offloading to Green, who dived over in the corner for an unconverted try.
After a general warning to Bath skipper Luke Charteris, the visitors battled their way to the line and Hughes stretched out to touch down, with Sopoaga adding the conversion.
Bath's second try came out of the blue, much like the first, as Mercer burst through the porous Wasps midfield and strode 40 metres to the line. Priestland converted to give the home side a 12-10 lead in the 21st minute.
The second quarter was dominated by Wasps as Thomas Young and Brad Shields dominated the breakdown and bigger forwards such as tighthead Will Stuart began to carry with menace.
But Bath defended stubbornly and Wasps' own errors hindered their hard-won momentum.
They upped the tempo significantly after the restart and a sweeping move earned a penalty, kicked by Sopoaga, to restore their lead.
With Dave Attwood briefly on to bolster the Bath eight, the home side forced a scrum penalty from which Priestland again spurned the points, but the line-out yielded nothing.
However, when Sopoaga was shown a yellow card for a no-arms block on Jackson Willison, the Welsh fly-half chipped the ball over from 25 metres for a 15-12 lead. That was quickly reversed as Miller kicked a longer-range effort, earned again at the scrum.
A break-out from their own line should have brought a Bath try on 71 minutes but Francois Louw's pass to Faletau was uncharacteristically wayward.
Then Wasps just got back to prevent Darren Atkins grabbing a try in a frantic last 10 minutes that got the 13,307 crowd on its feet.