Wasps edge Bath in high-scoring thriller

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Wasps Tom Willis is tackled by Bath Rugbys Ben Spencer during the Gallagher Premiership match at the Recreation Ground, Bath.
Wasps Tom Willis is tackled by Bath Rugbys Ben Spencer during the Gallagher Premiership match at the Recreation Ground, Bath.
David Davies

Wasps won 52-44 away to Bath on Friday in a remarkable English Premiership encounter featuring 11 tries as they recorded a fifth successive victory in all competitions.

At a time when many pundits have been expressing fears that defence-dominated game risk rugby union's future as a professional sport, Wasps ran in seven tries at Bath's Recreation Ground.

This win saw Wasps, last season's losing finalists, follow up last week's impressive win over reigning Premiership champions Exeter in spectacular style.

Wasps wing Paolo Odogwu and hooker Tom Cruse scored two tries apiece, while flanker Brad Shields and wing Josh Bassett also crossed.

The visitors scored a penalty try as well, with full-back Lima Sopoaga kicking 15 points.

"We were clinical finishing off tries when we get down there," said Wasps coach Lee Blackett.

"It was very efficient by us, and I thought that was the deciding factor in the end."

He added: "People were probably expecting a 10-8 scoreline on a cold January night here, and it was probably two very tired teams coming off big games last weekend."

But it was far from one way traffic, with Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland scoring 26 points in an open game that included an early try.

Bath's other try-scorers were England flanker Sam Underhil, centre Cameron Redpath and lock Elliott Stooke, with scrum-half Ben Spencer kicking a late penalty.

The hosts twice led by 13 points yet still ended being beaten by an impressive Wasps outfit as England coach Eddie Jones looked on with just a month until the start of his side's Six Nations title defence.

"There were individual errors, but we play a team sport, so we all wear it," said Bath boss Stuart Hooper.

Friday's other Premiership match saw Sale record their second successive win under interim head coach Paul Deacon as they defeated Worcester 20-13.

World Cup-winning South Africa scrum-half Faf de Klerk scored Sale's opening try with Jono Ross going over late on in a match where fly-half AJ MacGinty kicked their remaining 10 points.

Worcester, 13-3 down at half-time, saw Scotland international Duncan Weir kick four penalties.

The top-flight strugglers also managed a penalty try but it was not enough to prevent their fourth defeat of the season as Sale moved up into third place.

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