Bath edge out Dragons
18 Jan 2009
Bath moved to the top of their pool with a narrow 15-12 victory over the Newport-Gwent Dragons.
The win for Butch James’s side sets up a showdown against French giants Toulouse, who surprisingly lost to Glasgow yesterday. Bath head the pool by one point going into the match to be played at The Rec next Sunday, knowing a win will send them into the quarter-finals of the European Cup. If they lose but claim enough bonus points they could still go through as one of two best second-placed finishers.
Lock Stuart Hooper scored a try with 15 minutes remaining that sealed the win for Bath. They had earlier opened the scoring via Kiwi Joe Maddock’s try, while James added a penalty as they led 8-0 at the break. But indiscipline set in and Hooper and Daniel Brown were yellow-carded, which allowed the Welsh side to fightback through tries from Richard Fussell and Wayne Evans.
But Hooper’s late try and a conversion from James was enough for the visitors to set up the intriguing clash.
Meanwhile the Cardiff Blues claimed a home quarter-final spot with their 16-12 away win at Gloucester. Replacement lock Bradley Davies scored the only try of the game in the final five minutes as the visitors surprised their hosts as they were down to 14 men from the 27th minute after wing Tom James was red-carded for a head-butt.
Gloucester now need other results to go their way next weekend if they hope to reach the play-offs.
Llanelli Scarlets also scored an upset with their 31-17 win over Stade Francais, which knocks the top French club out of Europe. Former Waratahs No 8 David Lyons scored for the Scarlets, while Welsh flyhalf Stephen Jones added 16 points with the boot.