Wasps vs Bath match report: Christian Wade hat-trick ensures Wasps end year unbeaten at home

Wasps 40 Bath 26: The winger is yet to convince Eddie Jones he deserves a call-up, but his sparkling form in this win cannot have hurt his cause

Adam Hathaway
at the Ricoh Arena
Saturday 24 December 2016 17:00
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Wade crossed twice in a five-try first-half
Wade crossed twice in a five-try first-half

Christian Wade might not get a look in with an England coach who likes his wingers big but he is big in Coventry which he has helped Wasps turn into a fortress.

The 25-year old stands just 5ft 8in but he was too much for Bath handle as he scored a hat-trick to keep Wasps in touch with Saracens at the top of the Premiership.

This was Wasps 18th win in a row at the Ricoh Arena and they look like they could be coming of age as title contenders.

Their last defeat here was to, you guessed it, Saracens, in December last year and they killed off this match in the 20 minutes after half-time.

Apart from Wade’s finishing Ashley Johnson, who can play hooker or flanker, had a storming 53 minutes in the back row and was involved in the move for Wade’s third try five times.

Kurtley Beale was lively at full-back and when you have got a goal kicker like Jimmy Gopperth you have always got a chance and the New Zealander passed 1,000 Premiership points in this win when he bagged another 20.

Beale, front, was a lively presence at full-back throughout

Bath were best when they used their big forwards to punch holes in the Wasps defence but the hosts had enough to keep them quiet most of the time.

In the end they got a bonus point for scoring four tries – Ben Tapuai landed the fourth – with George Ford showing his usual wit in attack as Bath rallied at the end.

Some of the defending on show might not have appealed to Eddie Jones as he relaxes in Australia but Wade’s finishing – especially for his show-stopping second score – is worth another look.

An engrossing first half finished with Wasps leading 24-14 but started with yet another sickening head blow to the home wing Frank Halai after just three minutes.

The big New Zealander got his head the wrong side when he was trying to bring down Semesa Rokoduguni and ended up flat out on the floor and out of the match.

These head injuries are occurring in almost every match and it is the tacklers who seem to be coming off worse some of the time – maybe they need to look at their technique.

As if what happened to Halai had put some of the players off tackling holes started appearing all over the place as Wasps raced into a 14-0 lead.

Bath rallied at the end, Tapaui's try earning a bonus point

Thomas Young, who had a rampaging match at flanker, pounced on a loose ball when Aled Brew dropped Joe Simpson’s up-and-under and set off for the line. He had 30 metres to go and did not have the legs but his clever inside pass gave Wade his first score.

On 13 minutes Wade had his second only this time he did not need any help. He spotted a gap on halfway raced through it and danced around the flailing challenges of the Bath defence who hardly laid a hand on him. If it is not a candidate for the try of the season there will have been some pretty good ones scored.

Bath came back when hooker Ross Batty – fast becoming a disgrace to the Front Row Union – ran in from 30 metres and Dave Attwood ran through Elliot Daly from short range.

Young put some distance between the teams when he did have the legs to go 50 metres before the break and Wasps put the afterburners on in the third quarter.

Daly, playing for the first time since being sent off on England duty against Argentina, cut open the defence with his step on 47 minutes and Beale’s looping pass found Wade under the posts for his hat-trick which settled the game if not the score as Bath came back to at least leave with something.

Teams

Wasps: K Beale (rep K Eastmond 68th min); C Wade, E Daly, J Gopperth, F Halai (R Miller 3); D Cipriani, J Simpson (D Robson 58); M Mullan (T Bristow 72), T Taylor, M Moore (P Swainston 72), J Launchbury (capt), J Gaskell (K Myall 58), A Johnson (A Rieder 54), T Young, N Hughes (G Thompson 69)

Bath: T Homer; S Rokoduguni, J Joseph, B Tapuai, A Brew; G Ford (co-capt), K Fotuali’i (D Allinson 78); N Catt (N Auterac 67), R Batty (T Dunn 44), M Lahiff (K Palma Newport 56), L Charteris (E Stooke 56), D Attwood, M Garvey (co-capt), F Louw, T Faletau (T Ellis 52)

Scorers

Wasps: Tries: Wade (3), Young; Cons: Gopperth (4); Pens: Gopperth (4)

Bath: Tries: Batty, Attwood, Ellis, Tapuai; Cons: Ford (3);

Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU)

Attendance: 26,292

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