Bath 3-24 Wasps: Kurtley Beale stars as Premiership leaders cruise to away win
Last Updated: 04/03/17 5:59pm
Australia full-back Kurtley Beale ran in two of Wasps' three tries as the Aviva Premiership leaders cruised to a straightforward 24-3 win over Bath in front of a sell-out crowd of 14,509 at the Recreation Ground.
The hosts, on the back foot throughout, could only muster a penalty by Tom Homer and their prospects of finishing in the play-off places stayed looking slim.
The rest of the visitors' points came from an early try by Christian Wade and three conversions and a penalty from the boot of centre Jimmy Gopperth.
Bath soon found themselves on the defensive and were fortunate not to concede more than one try in the first quarter.
That came on 13 minutes when Danny Cipriani wrong-footed the Bath defence with Alex Rieder in support. The number eight had a simple job to send Wade in for his 12th Premiership try of the campaign, and Gopperth converted.
Home supporters hoped Dave Denton had crossed in the corner on 21 minutes but, as against Bristol last weekend, the Scotland flanker could not get the ball down before being bundled into touch in goal.
Wasps went straight back on the offensive and added a second try through Beale. Hooker Tommy Taylor was involved twice, first setting up a ruck and then stepping though the Bath defensive line to connect with the Wallaby's angled run across the posts to the try-line.
Gopperth's conversion made it 14-0 - a perfectly fair reflection of Wasps gaining two thirds of territory and possession.
The visitors wasted a good opportunity from a scrum after Adam Hastings knocked on trying to gather another of Beale's searching kicks out of defence, and Gopperth had a score ruled out when Alapati Leiua's return pass was ruled forward after being referred to the television match official.
Bath's only real advantage was in the scrum. When Wasps again folded under pressure on the stroke of half-time, Homer raised hopes with a penalty from 20 metres.
There was certainly more eagerness about the home side's efforts after the break, while Wasps had to contend with the loss of second row James Gaskell with a leg injury.
But when scrum-half Chris Cook ran a needless blocking line to help Semesa Rokoduguni field a high kick, Gopperth restored the 14-point advantage at 17-3.
Taulupe Faletau was one of the few bright sparks in the Bath performance but his team-mates could not capitalise on the Wales number eight's pace and strength as a ball-carrier.
Instead, Wasps ramped up the pressure in the last 20 and fingertip passing put Beale over in the corner for his second try on 65 minutes, converted by Gopperth. A bonus-point try eluded them, however.