Worcester 25-46 Bath: Six try display sees visitors record heavy victory
Last Updated: 05/01/18 10:05pm
Bath halted a run of three successive Aviva Premiership defeats as they moved to fifth in the table following an impressive 46-25 bonus-point victory at Sixways.
A 46-25 success provided just the lift they needed before resuming their European Champions Cup quarter-final quest against visitors the Scarlets next Friday.
Flankers Paul Grant and Matt Garvey scored tries either side of half-time, before England back Anthony Watson's touchdown 15 minutes into the second period put 11th-placed Worcester away.
Lock James Phillips and replacement scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i added further scores before Fotuali'i claimed his second in stoppage time.
Fly-half Rhys Priestland kicked three conversions and two penalties, and Freddie Burns added two conversions, while Worcester replied with a David Denton try against his former club and late scores from Joe Taufete'e and Perry Humphreys, with Chris Pennell booting 10 points.
Worcester remain 10 points clear of relegation favourites London Irish, but rugby director Alan Solomons' first home game in charge proved a sobering affair as Bath's vastly superior running game often left the Warriors floundering.
Worcester showed one change from the side beaten by Saracens six days ago, with former Bath lock Will Spencer partnering captain Donncha O'Callaghan in the second-row, but a list of Bath absentees included international quartet Francois Louw, Charlie Ewels, Luke Charteris and Matt Banahan.
The visitors, though, dominated early possession as they looked to release England backs Watson and Jonathan Joseph, and Worcester had not left their own half when Priestland booted Bath into an eighth-minute lead.
A sizzling Watson break then warmed up a freezing evening when he collected Priestland's pass and jinked through at pace, putting Worcester's defence on the back-foot before securing ruck possession and clearing the danger.
Priestland doubled Bath's advantage with a second penalty, but Worcester then stirred and Pennell opened their account at the third attempt through a penalty following two earlier misses as the visitors found themselves under pressure.
But their response was impressive, and some strong phase play ended with scrum-half Chris Cook off-loading beautifully to Grant, who powered over for a try that Priestland converted.
Worcester knew they had to score next as Bath moved 10 points clear, and the Warriors went close when Wales Six Nations squad hopeful Josh Adams, the Premiership's top try-scorer this season, broke clear found inside his own half.
Although Adams' adventure - Wales assistant coach Rob Howley would have been an interested observer from the stands - went unrewarded, it still set up an attacking platform from which Pennell prospered by kicking another penalty that cut Bath's lead to 13-6 at the interval.
But Bath came out with purpose and intent for the second period, and they added a second try just four minutes into the half after Joseph made headway in midfield and quickly recycled possession ended in Garvey finishing off a crisp move.
Priestland's conversion took Bath 14 points clear, and after a spell of heavy-duty Worcester forward pressure, Bath broke away to effectively seal the game as Watson prospered from a well-timed Cook pass to sprint clear and claim another try that Priestland converted.
Worcester's frequently strong forward momentum gained a 61st-minute reward courtesy of Denton's close-range try, only for normal service to be quickly resumed when Phillips surged clear and secured Bath a five-point maximum, then Fotuali'i poached a charged-down try.
Bath finished the game a man down after Phillips was sin-binned for a technical offence, but the damage had long been done, even though Taufete'e crossed for a try ahead of Fotuali'i adding his second and Humphreys ending the scoring.