Sensational Bath stun Toulouse

2015-01-18 20:08

Paris - Bath produced a stunning display to maintain their hopes of reaching the European Champions Cup knock-out rounds with a dominant 32-18 win at Toulouse on Sunday.

Having lost their opening two Pool 4 games, the English side looked out of the competition but they have rebounded in fine style, none more so than this crushing defeat of the record four-time European champions.

Matt Banahan, Chris Cook, Jonathan Joseph and South African Francois Louw scored the tries to give Bath a bonus point win that leaves them just a point behind the French side going into the final round of games.

"I'm really pleased with the first half, we were fantastic and if Anthony (Watson) scores it's 29-7 and could have been four tries to one (at that stage)," said Bath coach Mike Ford.

"But credit to them (Toulouse), they fought their way back into it, they were always going to do that.

"The game was in the balance for a bit in the second half."

He added: "But that last break by Jonathan (Joseph) was world class. I'm pleased to finish it off with a try and get the bonus. We got five points and them none, so we're back in it."

Bath will host Glasgow, who trounced them 37-10 in Scotland back in October, while Toulouse will be away to Top 14 rivals Montpellier.

Like Wasps, who can qualify for the last eight with victory over Leinster next weekend despite losing their first two games, Bath would guarantee their quarter-final spot with a bonus point win at the Rec.

They produced a swashbuckling first half of attacking rugby, running from deep and creating panic in the home defence and but for George Ford dallying before Watson was held up over the line, they could have secured the bonus point by half-time.

Toulouse fought back with tries from Yoann Maestri and Yoann Huget while three penalties from former England fly-half Toby Flood helped them back to 25-18 early in the second period.

Only a last-ditch try-saving tackle from Ford, who held up Toulouse flanker Yannick Nyanga over the line, kept Bath in front.

But their final try was a thing of rare beauty as Joseph picked up his own grubber in behind a high defensive line and then looped around the cover defence before shuffling the ball inside to Ross Batty to feed Louw to score.

Earlier in the day, Glasgow kept their hopes alive with a 21-10 victory over already-eliminated Montpellier.

South African wing DTH van der Merwe scored a hat-trick but the Scottish outfit missed out on the bonus point.

They now trail Bath by a point and even a victory at the Rec might not be enough for them next week, unless they could secure the bonus.

Racing-Metro remained the only unbeaten side in the competition following Toulouse's defeat as they trounced hapless Treviso 53-7.

First half tries from Henry Chavancy, Benjamin Lapeyre and Dimitri Szarzewski put them in command 19-0 up at the break.

Szarzewski completed his hat-trick early in the second half before Michele Campagnaro replied for Treviso.

But two Juan Imhoff scores either side of a penalty try and Lapeyre's second completed the nine-try rout.

The bonus point left Racing level on points with Northampton, who won 20-9 at Ospreys, ahead of the pair's winner-takes-all meeting at Franklin Gardens next week.

Ospreys, beaten at home for the first time this season, shot themselves in the foot in the first half, gifting Saints two tries.

Rhys Webb's clearing kick from behind his own line was charged down and Stephen Myler dived on the loose ball to score, while Justin Tipuric fumbled in midfield when tackled by Luther Burrell and George North picked up the ball before running it home unopposed.

That second try even came with George Pisi in the sin bin.

Saints battered away at the Ospreys line in the second half but the Welsh region held firm with dogged defence to prevent their opponents getting the tries needed for a bonus.

As things stand, Bath and Leicester are the second-placed sides that would miss out on the quarters, but with the top two facing off in the final group matches in all three other groups, both would likely qualify with a victory.

European Champions Cup results from fifth and penultimate round of pool matches on Sunday:

Pool 4

Glasgow (SCO) 21 Montpellier (FRA) 10

Toulouse (FRA) 18 Bath (ENG) 35

Pool 5

Ospreys (WAL) 9 Northampton (ENG) 20

Racing-Metro (FRA) 53 Treviso (ITA) 7

Played on Saturday

Pool 1

Saracens (ENG) 33 Munster (IRL) 10

Sale (ENG) 13 Clermont (FRA) 22

Pool 2

Leinster (IRL) 50 Castres (FRA) 8

Harlequins (ENG) 3 Wasps (ENG) 23

Pool 3

Toulon (FRA) 60 Ulster (IRL) 22

Played on Friday

Pool 3

Leicester (ENG) 40 Scarlets (WAL) 23

Read more on:    bath  |  toulouse  |  france  |  rugby

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