Bath 10-36 Wasps: Jimmy Gopperth’s 23-point haul guides Wasps to convincing Champions Cup win at the Rec
Bath opened the try-scoring through Semesa Rokodugun
Elliot Daly’s score combined with 18-points from Jimmy Gopperth gave Wasps a comfortable 23-7 lead at half-time
Alapati Leiua’s converted try made sure of Wasps’ convincing win.
Jimmy Gopperth’s 23-point haul helped Wasps end Bath’s unbeaten run in the European Champions Cup in convincing fashion on Saturday.
George Ford’s superb touchline conversion handed Bath an unexpected win at the Ricoh Arena in the reverse fixture last weekend, but Wasps were able to inflict revenge with a spectacular victory at the Recreation Ground, putting themselves in pole position at the minute to win Pool 5.
The two Premiership sides are vying for a quarter-final spot alongside reigning champions Toulon and three-time winners Leinster.
Bath had initially opened the scoring through Semesa Rokoduguni, but Wasps were in control by half-time through tries from Elliot Daly and fly-half Jimmy Gopperth. The number 10 also kicked 13-points from the tee to give the visitors a comfortable 23-7 lead at half-time.
An end-to-end second half took 17 minutes to provide any points with Ford knocking over a penalty for Bath, but Wasps were able to reestablish and improve their lead through a penalty goal from Gopperth and drop-goal from Daly to secure the win.
Things went from bad to worse for Bath as they lost to Rokoduguni to the sin bin with Wasps taking immediate advantage as Alapati Leiua dived over for try number three for Wasps and Gopperth continued his impeccable kicking display with the conversion to complete the game’s scoring.
The hosts started as they finished a week ago as they opened the scoring with a try with Rokoduguni crashing over with nine minutes gone.
Anthony Watson had made the initial break before he was tackled down the wide channel, but the ball was quickly moved to the opposite side of the pitch with the robust winger dotting down.
The try was awarded following a trip to the TMO with George Ford then knocking over the touchline conversion to give bath an early seven-point lead.
Wasps got on the board via a Gopperth penalty after 13 minutes before taking the lead with their first try of the game through Elliott Daily a minute later. A spilled ball in midfield ended up in the hands of scrum-half Simpson, who gathered before laying in Daly for the try. Gopperth then added the extras, 7-10.
A spilled ball in midfield ended up in the hands of scrum-half Simpson, who gathered before playing in Daly for the try.
Gopperth converted before adding another two penalty goals, kicking Wasps into a nine-point lead with unerring accuracy.
The fly-half then ensured Wasps were comfortably in front with as he forced the ball down in the corner for the visitors second try, despite having three Bath defenders on his back, on the brink of half-time.
Gopperth then made the touchline conversion as the referee blew for half-time to bring the curtain down on what was a cracking first half.
After the break, the visitors continued to be on top but struggled to turn their possession and territory into points and were made to pay as Ford struck over a penalty for the hosts just before the hour from inside the Wasps 22 to cut the deficit to 13 points.
Gopperth though kept up his perfect from the tee to reestablish Wasps lead with another perfect penalty before Daly edged the visitors further in front with a drop goal, 10-29.
Things then went from bad to worse for Bath as Rokoduguni was sent to the bin for a knocking the ball down and Wasps took immediate advantage as Gopperth stepped inside the defence and played a lovely pass to Alapati Leiua, who dived over for try number three.
Gopperth continued his faultless kicking display by kicking the conversion to wrap up the convincing win for Wasps.
The pressure is on the West Country side, with two games against Toulon to come as well as a trip to Dublin while Wasps travel to France in January before welcoming Leinster to Coventry.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wasps: Jimmy Gopperth
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 David Denton, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Leroy Houston, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 David Wilson, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Date: Saturday, December 19
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Cyril Lafon (France,) Stéphane Boyer (France)
TMO: Eric Gonthier (France)