Match Centre: Bath Rugby 20-40 Bristol Bears

Anthony Watson's try went in vain for Bath Rugby
Anthony Watson's try went in vain for Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby 20-40 Bristol Bears, Recreation Ground

Bristol Bears scored five tries in the second half as they came from behind to complete a 40-20 win in the 18th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Recreation Ground on Saturday.

The result meant Bristol have consolidated their position at the top with 71 points - eight over second placed Exeter Chiefs while Bath are at seventh place.

Bath had an early scare with Orlando Bailey leaving the field temporarily for a Head Injury Assessment in the 8th minute but managed to return back to the field 11 minutes later. Max Malins had an early score turned down due to a forward pass but the home side gathered momentum with Cameron Redpath setting up Anthony Watson for the opening try in the 12th minute.

Ben Spencer missed the conversion but ensured he added the extras in the second try from Rhys Priestland, who replaced Bailey a minute later taking Bath's lead to 12-0. Spencer with his maiden penalty goal in the 30th minute ensured Stuart Hooper's men scored 15 unanswered points and as the break was approaching, Callum Sheedy spotted space and allowing Nathan Hughes to dot down. Sheedy also kicked the conversion as the teams finished the opening half with a 15-7 scoreline.

A powerful scrum from Bristol ensured they were awarded a penalty try in the 50th minute that also saw Bath lost Juan Schoeman to sin-binned. With the additional player advantage, Pat Lam side stepped up the accelerator and grabbed the lead in the 55th minute and eight minutes later the visitors claimed the bonus point with Charles Piutau dotted down following an arcing outside line making the scoreline 15-28.

The home side made a brief comeback with Priestland's high kick found Watson, who completed his second try in the 67th minute to reduce the arrears to eight points but Bath were down to 14-men in the final 10 minutes with Tom Dunn red-carded for a high tackle and Bristol ensured they completed a 20-point victory with further tries from Ben Earl and Malins.

Team line up:

Bath: De Glanville; Watson, Clark, Redpath, Muir; Bailey, Spencer; Schoeman, Dunn, Stuart, McNally, Stooke, Bayliss, Reid, Faletau.

Reserves: Du Toit, Bhatti, Judge, Ewels, Ellis, Chudley, Priestland, Gray

Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Morahan, Radradra, S Piutau, Malins; Sheedy, Uren; Thomas, Byrne, Sinckler, Attwood, Vui, Luatua, Earl, Hughes.

Reserves: Kerr, Woolmore, Afoa, Holmes, Heenan, Kessell, Lloyd, Leiua.

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

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