Bath beat Sale 31-23 to set up Premiership final against Northampton

Finn Russell contributed with 16 points for Bath Rugby
Finn Russell contributed with 16 points for Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby 31-23 Sale Sharks, The Recreation Ground

Bath Rugby edged out Sale Sharks with a 31-23 margin in the semi-final of the Gallagher Premiership at The Recreation Ground on Saturday.

The result meant Bath now will face Northampton Saints in the final of the competition at Twickenham on 8th June.

Ted Hill, Beno Obano and Niall Annett scored tries for Bath while Finn Russell kicked two conversions and penalty goals. For the visitors Tom O'Flaherty, Ben Curry and Tommy Taylor touched down.

Sale conceded an early penalty in the game as Sam James was charged for taking out a player at ruck time and Russell landed the three-pointer to get Bath off the mark. In the 11th minute they secured their opening try when Russel sent a pass for Ben Spencer, who chipped over the head of O’Flaherty allowing Ted Hill to score.

Russell missed out on the conversion as Bath's lead remained at 8-0.

Sale responded back almost immediately when skipper Ben Curry went over at the back of a maul but the conversion from George Ford drifted wide making it 8-5.

The start of the second quarter saw Beno Obano dive from close range and Russell followed with the conversion and penalty goal to make it 18-5 before Tommy Taylor powered over at the back of a maul and like the Scotland fly-half, Ford also got the conversion and penalty right this time as the teams went into the break with a 18-15 scoreline.

With Obano infringing early in the second half, Ford kicked a penalty goal to level the scores before Russell negated his effort with a three-pointer in the 51st minute to make it to 21-18.

The 51st minute saw Sale get into the lead for the first time when Joe Carpenter chipped over the head of Matt Gallagher allowing O’Flaherty, who went past Quinn Roux to dot down but Ford's missed conversion meant the score remained at 21-23.

Russell with a 65th minute penalty goal put Bath in front again but the Scotland star missed out on a drop goal and a penalty chance in the 69th and 71st minutes respectively making it 24-23. The miss did not cost the home side as replacement Niall Annett crossed over in the 73rd minute and Russell improved sealing them a 31-23 win and a passage to the finals where they face Northampton.

Team line up:

Bath: Matt Gallagher; Joe Cokanasiga, Ollie Lawrence, Cameron Redpath, Will Muir; Finn Russell, Ben Spencer (c); Beno Obano, Tom Dunn, Thomas du Toit, Quinn Roux, Charlie Ewels, Ted Hill, Sam Underhill, Alfie Barbeary.

Reserves: Niall Annett, Juan Schoeman, Will Stuart, Elliott Stooke, Josh Bayliss, Louis Schreuder, Orlando Bailey, Miles Reid

Sale Sharks: Joe Carpenter; Tom Roebuck, Sam James, Rob du Preez, Tom O’Flaherty; George Ford, Gus Warr; Bevan Rodd, Tommy Taylor, James Harper, Cobus Wiese, Ernst van Rhyn, Ben Curry (c), Sam Dugdale, Jean-Luc du Preez.

Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Si McIntyre, WillGriff John, Ben Bamber, Tom Ellis, Raffi Quirke, Luke James, Tom Curry.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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