Saffas help Bath go top
2 Oct 2008
South Africans scored 22 of Bath’s 27 points as their victory over Wasps sent them to the top of the English Premiership.
Scrumhalf Michael Claassens and Durban-born prop Matt Stevens opened the scoring for Bath, while a second half try from hooker Pieter Dixon and seven points from the boot of Butch James resulted in a 27-23 win over the defending champs. New Zealander Joe Maddock scored Bath’s other try.
The match was wonderboy Danny Cipriani’s comeback game after an ankle injury, but apart from three penalties and a conversion, he didn’t have much positive impact for Wasps. His spilled ball from an up-and-under from James led to Claassens’s opening try, while he was only on the field for 51 minutes.
Meanwhile, Heyneke Meyer’s Leicester hit back after their first loss of the season to Wasps on Friday with a 29-19 win over Northampton. England internationals Toby Flood and Dan Hipkiss crossed the whitewash in the final 10 minutes to send Leicester to second on the log, but Meyer admitted the close matches are taking their toll on him.
“My hair is grey after only five games, so I don’t know how I will survive the season,” said Meyer.
“There was a lot of pressure on the players after the defeat to Wasps and they showed a lot of character. I’m very proud of the guys. They played great rugby in the first half, but we didn’t execute. I thought if we kept pressuring them in the second half, the tries would come and that’s how it turned out.
“I knew we had to keep playing direct and positive in the second half and I thought Hipkiss’s experience made a big difference.”