Louw debut is high point for Bath as youngsters run riot

Bath 46 Worcester 13

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The Independent Online

Some clubs take the LV Cup with a pinch of salt, others with a spoonful of sugar. Bath seem to have a sweet tooth for the competition, leading their pool by miles. They beat the Newport-Gwent Dragons 46-16 at Rodney Parade in their first game and their second was almost a copy.

Worcester arrived on the back of a victory over Wasps but for the second weekend running Bath ran in, or drove in, seven tries.

Generally most teams see this tournament as an opportunity to introduce young blood from the academies. Bath have been no exception although yesterday they saw fit to bring Lewis Moody, England's World Cup captain, off the bench and their pack was also reinforced by the red-rose forwards Lee Mears and David Wilson.

It was a bittersweet homecoming for the Worcester coach, Richard Hill, particularly in the final quarter when his flanker Sam Betty went batty and hit Francois Louw with a peach of an old fashioned shoulder charge. Unfortunately, it was highly illegal. While Louw was laid low, Betty retreated to the sin-bin, where he received a pat on the back from Hill. The former Bath and England scrum-half then engaged in a touchline spat with his opposite number, Brad Davis. Hill gave Davis a universal hand signal that indicated that the Bath coach was giving it too much lip. At the end, though, they gave each other a little hug.

All in all it was an eventful debut for the Springbok Louw. He celebrated his arrival with a try midway through the first half, capitalising on drives which put the Worcester pack in its place. For the most part, though, Bath preferred the more ambitious route and their most exotictry was delivered by Matt Banahan in the 32nd minute. It started with a startling turn by the prop Nathan Catt, who looked more like Mike Catt as he attacked from his own 10-yard line. The move swept on through half a dozen pairs of hands from right to left, where Banahan beat the last of the defence for a belter of a try.

Banahan, who did not get much match time with England in New Zealand, was a handful. It was his incisive delivery that enabled Jack Cuthbert to cut through Worcester's midfield shortly after half-time. The Warriors are employing Phil Larder, a former England and British Lions coach, to marshal their defence but it fell apart again after Betty's departure. While he was in the bin, from the 70th minute, Bath scored three more tries, through Ben Skirving, the youngster Olly Woodburn and Nick Abendanon.

Woodburn would have had another as he chased a kick from Cuthbert but Josh Drauniniu, by fair means or foul, managed to prevent the wing from touching down. Drauniniu was a try-scorer as well as a saver, getting Worcester's only try with a smart finish after 58 minutes.

There were encouraging performances from two young stand-offs, Tom Heathcote and Joe Carlisle, but the former had the more comfortable ride, setting Bath on their way with the first try, which he convertedbrilliantly from the touchline.

Bath J Cuthbert; O Woodburn, D Hipkiss (S Vesty, 59), M Banahan, N Abendanon; T Heathcote, C Cook (M Keyte, 76); N Catt (C Beech, 59), R Batty (L Mears, 40), A Perenise (D Wilson, 40), W Spencer (S Hooper, 40), R Caldwell, A Beattie (capt; L Moody, 59), B Skirving, F Louw.

Worcester T Arscott; A Short (S Tu'ipolotu, 57), C Pennell (capt), A Crockett (M Penn, 67), J Drauniniu; J Carlisle, O Frost (D Grey, 57); G Porter (B Douglas, 62), O Hayes (W Radburn, 74), O Tomaszczyk (J Currie, 74), C Jones (N Dacres, 74), B Gulliver, S Betty, A Balding (R Muagututia, 57), M Kvesic.

Referee L Pearce (Devon).


Tries: Heathcote, Louw, Banahan, Cuthbert, Skirving, Woodburn, Abendanon

Cons: Heathcote 4

Pen: Heathcote


Try: Drauniniu

Con: Carlisle

Pens: Carlisle 2