Barkley's boot makes up for lack of cutting edge

Bath 39 Bourgoin 12

Bourgoin arrived with a questionable reputation - third in the French Championship last season but virtual no-shows in Europe, and without their suspended captain, Julien Bonnaire, after an all-in brawl in the French Championship against Agen earlier this month. They had three other forwards injured, including the France lock Pascal Papé. Yet they frustrated Bath for a long time.

Strangely for a front five who might, given a particular chain of events, line up for England against Australia on Saturday week - Duncan Bell is on standby, the other four are in the squad of 30 - Bath soon got stuck in a rut in the scrum. Olivier Milloud, on the loose-head side for Bourgoin, had a lot to do with that. Stevens and Lee Mears, loose-head and hooker respectively for Bath, had a prolonged chinwag after one early scrum penalty was conceded. Alexandre Péclier, the visiting full-back, hit a post with the resulting kick but collected three penalty goals before the interval.

Bourgoin tended to rally around the no-nonsense charges of their No 8, Wessel Jooste, but the South African began limping towards the end of the first half and Bourgoin were inconvenienced further by a yellow card to their centre, Jean-François Coux, for being about five metres offside in the defensive line.

While their opponents were down to 14 men, Bath scored the only try of the half. Péclier was part charged down by Chris Malone and the counterattack gathered impetus with a rapid transference between Martyn Wood, James Scaysbrook and Olly Barkley. Ultimately, Lee Best slipped a scoring inside pass out of the tackle to his captain, Steve Borthwick.

Barkley converted, having landed three penalties between the 12th and 34th minutes. The Bath centre was called up by England in midweek and his technique was scrutinised from the touchline by the national team's kicking coach, Dave Alred.

Barkley potted seven from nine, and said: "I've gone back to my own style of kicking. Dave has been an enormous help; he recognised that, in his words, I was 'fatigued as a kicker'. When that happens you tend to lash it rather than keep your composure. I don't think I'm playing overly well but I've progressed from the schoolboy displays at the start of the season."

Bath led 16-9 at the interval, but the numbers game in open play too often boiled down to a baffling use of a tight forward. Clearly, there is a role for muscle but not when it involves the likes of Stevens putting down one pass after another. If England, whose head coach, Andy Robinson, is clearly keen on the present servants of his old club, play like this in the next few weeks they will be roundly stuffed.

Benjamin Boyet put over a penalty for Bourgoin in the 52nd minute, having previously hit the bar, but his side ran out of puff and Bath took advantage. Ryan Davis's break paved the way for Stevens to crash over, then, after a penalty by Barkley, there was a charge off a maul by Michael Lipman which allowed Grewcock and Barkley to send Hudson in. And Grewcock backed himself to hold off the tackle of Anthony Forest for the crucial fourth Bath try and clear leadership of Pool Five.

Bath: L Best (A Williams, 78); S Finau, T Cheeseman, O Barkley, F Welsh; C Malone (R Davis, 48), M Wood; M Stevens, L Mears (P Dixon, 67), D Bell (C Loader, 78), S Borthwick (capt; J Hudson, 75), D Grewcock, A Beattie (M Lipman, 60), G Delve (I Fea'unati, 57), J Scaysbrook.

Bourgoin: A Péclier (A Forest, 62); D Janin, J-F Coux (I Giorgadze, 62), G Davis, N Carmona; B Boyet, M Forest (capt); O Milloud, B Cabello, P Peyron (P Cardinali, 53), J Pierre, C del Fava (A Mazel, 53), A Diotallevi, W Jooste, L Baluc-Rittener (B Monzeglio, 53).

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?