Rugby Union: Bath show Cardiff how to take their chances

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The Independent Online
Bath 32 Cardiff 21

A magnificent match, another in a long list of Heineken Cup epics, and not even some eccentric refereeing nor final-whistle loutishness spoiled it.

As a consequence Bath won through to the semi-finals, leaving Cardiff regretting not taking their chances and, probably justly, to complain that the referee, Didier Mene, did them few favours.

Certainly Cardiff's coach, Alex Evans, was not happy with a whole string of penalties. He only faintly disguised his fury that what seemed a perfectly good try by Craig Morgan was disallowed, and that he had doubts too about the legality of Victor Ubogu's try which effectively wrapped it up for Bath.

Ubogu appeared the proverbial mile offside when collecting first bounce a downfield kick by Nicol, but Monsieur Mene had no doubts and an injury- time try by the impressive Dan Lyle ensured the outcome.

Then came the louts, drunken or simply angry, who chased Mene, pushing and shoving him before several Bath players, including Webster and Ieuan Evans went to his rescue. Mene was interviewed by the police but chose not to bring charges.

Despite all that Bath will be cheered that they are the only English club left in the last four. They played extremely well, particularly in defence, and even though Cardiff had the edge in certain areas, the result was conclusive.

Cardiff's weakness, as it has been all season, was their lack of guile and invention in midfield. Bath were not that much better in that regard, but Catt and company came off with plaudits while Jarvis will not be happy that once again he failed to punish the opposition.

The forward struggle was magnificent, but in turnovers and being first to the ball on the ground, Bath excelled.

There was also one magnificent try, scored by Phil de Glanville, who finished off a 50-yard move in which seven players handled and Cardiff did everything to try to stop them. Callard's five penalties were crucial too.

Bath: Tries: De Glanville, Ubogu, Lyle; Conversions Callard; Penalties Callard 5. Cardiff: Tries Leigh Davies 2; Conversion Jarvis; Penalties Jarvis 3

Bath: J Callard; I Evans, P de Glanville, M Perry, A Adebayo; M Catt, A Nicol (capt); D Yates, A Long, V Ubogu, G Llanes, N Redman, E Peters (R Webster, 62), N Thomas, D Lyle.

Cardiff: J Thomas; N Walker, L Davies, M Hall, C Morgan; L Jarvis, R Howley; A Lewis (S John, 46), J Humphreys (capt), D Young (L Mustoe, 71), J Tait, D Jones, G Kacala, G Jones (J Ringer, 71), S Williams.

Referee: D Mene (France).