European Rugby Champions Cup: Wasps 35-35 Bath

Zach Mercer

Heineken Champions Cup
Wasps (7) 35
Tries: Bassett, Simpson, Zhvania, Johnson, Young Cons: Sopoaga (5)
Bath (21) 35
Tries: Cokanasiga, Wright, Rokoduguni, Ewels, Louw Cons: Burns (5)

Wasps and Bath scored five tries apiece in a thrilling Champions Cup encounter that only lacked a winner.

Bath led into the break through Joe Cokanasiga’s searing score, Max Wright’s stroll in and Semesa Rokoduguni’s interception try.

But Wasps were rejuvenated in the second half with Joe Simpson, Zurabi Zhvania and Ashley Johnson crossing within 10 minutes of the restart.

The sides traded another three tries, but neither could find a knockout blow.

It was a game to entertain the Ricoh Arena crowd, but it will surely have left both sets of coaches frustrated after opening-round defeats last weekend.

With defending champions Leinster in ominously good form, Bath, Wasps and Toulouse may all be banking on finishing as strong runners-up to make the last eight.

Wasps win the style marks, if not the match

Ashley Johnson

While both sides racked up a four-try bonus point to bolster their standing, it was Wasps who did so in more style.

After a first half during which their star-studded backline was starved of quick front-foot ball, Wasps brought their gameplan together following Dai Young’s team talk.

With scrum-half Joe Simpson sniping dangerously and orchestrating his team-mates, Johnson rounded off a sweeping move from 15 metres out to move his side ahead for the first time – 28-21 after 50 minutes.

The best try was the final one of the match, however, as Bath’s Will Chudley failed to find touch with a box kick and Wasps returned it with interest as Elliot Daly broke clear, fed Simpson and Young picked a superb supporting line under the posts.

Champions Cup Pool One
Played Won Points
1. Leinster 1 1 5
2. Toulouse 1 1 4
3. Bath 2 0 4
4. Wasps 2 0 3

Bath youngsters impress – in parts

Eddie Jones watches on

With England coach Eddie Jones watching from the stands, Bath youngsters Cokanasiga and Zach Mercer impressed in parts, without either turning in complete performances.

Cokanasiga gave further demonstration of his power and pace as he burst clear to score after just three minutes.

But the former London Irish wing faded out of the game in the second half, failing to come in from out wide and find work.

Mercer looked quick and nimble in the loose, but does not provide the forward momentum of other number eights.

Opposite number Nizaam Carr made 78 metres to Mercer’s 52.

Wasps: Le Roux; Bassett, de Jongh, Le Bourgeois, Daly (c); Sopoaga, Simpson; Zhvania, Taylor, Brookes, Rowlands, Gaskell, Shields, Young, Carr

Replacements: Cruse, Harris, Stuart, Myall, Johnson, Hampson, Searle, Miller.

Bath: Atkins; Rokoduguni, Willison, Wright, Cokanasiga; Burns, Chudley; Catt, Walker, Thomas, Attwood, Ewels (c), Ellis, Louw, Mercer

Replacements: Batty, Van Rooyen, Perenise, Garvey, Underhill, Green, Davies, Homer.

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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