Posted 10th Feb 2020

Excellent all-round effort helps Team Bath hold off Northumbria fightback to claim important BUCS Super Rugby victory

Team Bath men’s 1st XV held off a late fightback from Northumbria to clinch a morale-boosting 39-33 success ahead of Wednesday’s big BUCS Super Rugby home match with league leaders Durham (kick-off 6.30pm, free to watch).

The Blue & Gold – sponsored by Fulkers Bailey Russell – raced into a 31-7 lead at the break at Kingston Park in Newcastle, with five tries assuring a bonus point.

Northumbria claimed 26 points after the break to reduce the arrears, earning a bonus point as well, but a late try secured a well-deserved win for Team Bath, with Head of Rugby Aaron James pleased with his team’s all-round performance.

“The way we attacked was outstanding and we did what we’d aimed to do,” he said. “We managed to turn over the ball quite a few times when we were defending, which is really positive and something we’ve been working on.

“We started really well, going up to 10-0 fairly quickly and carried on applying the pressure.

“It was a squad effort. People put their neck on the line to defend and double hit. The coaches did a lot of work on preparing around the technical and tactical stuff. That helped get us that win that we needed.

“The main warning at half-time was that Northumbria would come back fighting, which they did. Some of their attacking was outstanding, it matched some of our attacking intent.

“We’re a little bit disappointed with our penalty count, giving them opportunities that you don’t plan to give, and it cost us a bit of momentum but we managed to see out the win and it was a pretty good game of rugby all round.”

League leaders Durham make the long journey to the University of Bath Sports Training Village on Wednesday having edged past James’ men 25-18 in October.

“It’s usually a close game with Durham,” said James. “There’s not as much pressure on us for Wednesday, we’re looking forward to being back at home and playing some of the rugby that we’ve shown in the games we’ve won.

“I’ve been really impressed in the way we’ve attacked in those. We want to keep some consistency going.”

While Team Bath, who are also supported by Rengen Developments, were winning in Newcastle, two members of the Blue & Gold squad – first-year University of Bath students Max Ojomoh and Gwilym Bradley – were representing their countries in the U20 Six Nations.

Centre Ojomoh started England’s 21-17 win in Scotland, while forward Bradley came on as a replacement during Wales’ 36-22 defeat in Ireland.

James said: “They’re well deserved call-ups and from all reports they’re performing really well.

“Gwil has earned that first cap through his excellent displays for us and Max has been a solid performer all year. He had a strong first game in the Six Nations against France too and will continue to grow.”

University of Bath alumni Tom Dunn was also involved in Six Nations rugby over the weekend as he was among the matchday squad for the England senior team’s Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland.

It was another step closer to a first senior cap for the Bath Rugby hooker, who studied Sports Performance at the University of Bath.

“Tom cut his teeth as a hooker here,” said James. “He practiced his lineout throws in the Jumps & Throws Hall a lot, he’s meticulous in the way he works. I’m really pleased for him and hopefully he’ll get that first cap soon.”

Don’t forget, entry is free for Wednesday’s BUCS Super Rugby match against Durham so come and back the Blue & Gold!

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