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Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby rally to reach Premiership Final

Bath Rugby had to fight off a Sale Sharks resurgence to book their spot in next weekend’s Premiership Final. 

A late try from Niall Annett made sure Johann van Graan’s side cemented their spot at Twickenham, but other scores from Ted Hill and Beno Obano also made sure of the 31-22 win at a jubilant Rec.

Bath came out the blocks flying, notching eight points in the opening 10 minutes. The boot of Finn Russell opened their account for the afternoon from the tee, but the boot of Ben Spencer quickly took things up a gear.

A cheeky chip-kick from the skipper unlocked the Sale defence, and it took a kind bounce to allow Ted Hill to gleefully dot the ball down in the corner.

This joy didn’t last long though, as Ben Curry cut into their lead with a try from the base of the maul.

Bath hit straight back though, with a quick 10-point haul. Ben Obano burrowed over from close range to grab their second try of the afternoon, and a Russell conversion and penalty gave them a 18-3 lead.

Momentum quickly shifted back to the visitors in the closing moments of the half. Chances for Joe Carpenter and Tom O’Flaherty threatened the Bath line, but another powerful maul finally saw Tommy Taylor cross the whitewash.

In virtually the final act of the half, George Ford slotted a penalty to cut Bath’s lead down to three-points at the break.

Bath stem Sale fightback to reach Twickenham

Ford and Farrell exchanged penalties in the opening 10-minutes of the second-half, but a stunning O’Flaherty try gave Sale the lead for the first time, as he latched onto Carpenter’s clever kick-ahead.

With a growing Northern storm, Bath needed to strike quickly. A lineout inside Sale’s 22 gave them a great chance to pounce, but another knock-on stopped the attack in its tracks.

A costly penalty from replacement Augustin Creevy gave Russell the opportunity to put his side back in the lead from the tee, and he made no mistake with the kick.

Russell nearly grew his own tally with an audacious drop-goal from the halfway line, but it drifted agonisingly wide. He was back soon after, this time from the tee, however he was again unable to grow his side’s lead.

Despite these missed opportunities, Bath had the upper hand. An intelligent kick from Spencer nearly saw Cokanasiga add his name to the scoresheet, but clever defence from Sam James swatted the ball into touch.

From the following lineout, they did eventually deliver the killer blow. A powerful maul motored towards the Sale Sharks line, allowing Niall Annett to flop over the line for the try.

Sale didn’t go down without a fight, but a powerful hit from Ted Hill gifted the West Country outfit the ball in the closing stages, and they saw the game out to the cheers from the Rec faithful.

Bath Rugby 31-23 Sale Sharks

Bath Rugby: 31

Tries: Hill, Obano, Annett

Conversions: Russell (2/3)

Penalties: Russell (4/5)

Sale Sharks: 23

Tries: Curry, Taylor, O’Flaherty

Conversions: Ford (2/3)

Penalties: Ford (1/1)