Round-up: Bath batter Saints to stand on brink of semi-finals
Sunday 29 January 2012
Bath took control of Pool One in the LV Cup yesterday, with a 46-14 win over Northampton at the Rec. The Saints, rather confusingly, thereby failed to keep control of Pool Four – the explanation is that in the LV teams in one pool play teams in another, One being paired with Four and Two with Three. Exeter's 30-16 win at Wasps, therefore, kept the Chiefs on Northampton's tail in Pool Four and put Wasps so far behind Bath in Pool One as to be out of contention for a place in the last four. Still with us? Thousands aren't.
At the Rec, Ross Batty, Anthony Perenise, Olly Woodburn, Stephen Donald and Charlie Beech scored tries for Bath and Olly Barkley kicked 21 points; Alex Waller scored the Saints' try and Stephen Myler kicked three penalties. Bath face Exeter next Sunday – the Chiefs will need to win to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals. Bath could well have qualified before kicking a ball. Yesterday, Dave Ewers, Myles Dorrian and Ally Muldowney scored tries for Exeter and Gareth Steenson kicked 15 points. Mike Powell scored Wasps' try.
Gloucester, of Pool Three, walloped the Cardiff Blues of Pool Four 40-3 at Kingsholm. Peter Buxton, Tim Molenaar, James Simpson-Daniel (twice) and Andy Hazell scored tries for the Cherry and Whites and Ryan Mills kicked 15 points. The former All Black full-back Ben Blair, playing for the first time in 15 months, kicked a penalty for the Blues and the upshot of it all was that Gloucester are still in it and the Blues are (well) out of it.
Bryan Redpath, Gloucester's head coach, pronounced himself "chuffed" and summed up the nature of the game thus: "We had 12 changes from last week against Toulouse. All credit to the Blues for battling hard with a much under-strength side."
Today, Newcastle are at home to Sale and Worcester are at home to Saracens, for whom the former Wigan and England rugby league player Joel Tomkins will make his debut at outside centre. Sarries need a bonus-point win to have a faint chance of catching Bath.
Yesterday, the Scarlets and Wales prop Rhys Thomas underwent heart surgery at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, having been taken ill during a training session on Friday. The hospital said the 29-year-old was "in a comfortable condition".
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