Posted 1st Dec 2021

Error count costs as Team Bath slip to home defeat against Leeds Beckett in BUCS Super Rugby

Team Bath were out-muscled and out-fought in an exhausting 33-10 home loss to Leeds Beckett in BUCS Super Rugby at the Sports Training Village this evening.

 “The boys know what went wrong tonight and they’re disappointed”, said coach Aaron James who pointed up the home team’s costly error count.

It was a tough night for the students, sponsored by Rengen,  as the Northern visitors maintained their unbeaten stretch against Bath, overcoming the bitter and windy conditions to secure the win. 

Tonight’s result means the last victory Team Bath recorded over Beckett came in October 2018, a thriller at Bath’s Recreation Ground which saw Team Bath win 29-27 in the Rengen Anniversary Game. Since then Beckett have had the upper hand with two wins in the 2019-20 season and one in the second half of the 2018-19 season”.

James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, reflected: “We were very disappointed with the mistakes and the penalty count. You can’t win a game if you make that many mistakes.  The boys know what went wrong tonight and they’re disappointed”.

“Leeds are a pretty physical side and do quite well technically.  We didn’t fire and they didn’t let us.  We made mistakes that were in our control.”

Despite the weather forecasted for the evening, the rain stalled just before the warmup, the wind however remained problematic, causing a constant menace in the aerial battle.

Coming into the match the Leeds forwards were tipped as having a significant size advantage, and with the conditions, the ground game would be the deciding factor in the match.

Both teams came out of the gates swinging, Leeds scored first at the 11th minute mark following a rumbling maul from a lineout inside the Bath 22’m. The conversion was missed. Leeds led 5-0

Harry Breeze - first half try scorer
Harry Breeze – first half try scorer

Bath would not be outdone however and struck back less than 5 minutes later, Bath’s number 8, Harry Breeze, finished off a combined forwards maul effort to level the score 5-5 at 16’ minutes gone. The conversion was missed, this time by the Bath 11, Alfie Garside, as the wind continued to impact the game.

Discipline continued to cost Bath dearly as the half played out. Repeated Bath offences would gift their northern visitors three points to go into the lead 8-5 at the 18-minute mark, kicked by number 10 Olly Toomey. Bath were warned by referee Adam Wookey that they were at risk of going a man down should their discipline continue to crack.

Despite the blustery conditions subsiding somewhat, the aerial game became a key battle in the later stages of the half, both teams repeatedly sending up box kicks to test each other’s back three. The bulk of victories in the ground game were enjoyed by the visitors, whose set piece pressure at both scrum and lineout garnered them a large portion of the territory, possession and line-out turnover.

Bath would crack at the 30m mark, Leeds stole a lineout close to Bath’s line and would not fail to punish the home team’s mistake, storming over with a pick and drive to stretch Leed’s lead. 

A successful conversion pushed the gap to 5-15 and was followed by a cracking 40m drop goal from Toomey to create a 13 point cushion at 5-18.

Leeds would not let up before the half, in a desperate attempt to stop the steam train of Leeds rolling maul, Bath number 7 Tom Williams would enter the maul from the side twice to try and disrupt a clear try scoring opportunity, this gave referee Adam Wookey no choice but to send him to the bin on the stroke of half time.

Leeds took the opportunity, and in the overtime at the end of the half charged over with another try to lead 5-23 at the break.  

The home side returned with purpose after half-time.  Garside took off on a superb darting run to make 30m but a subsequent spillage from Bath thwarted the attack and was sypmotmatic of the errors made by the home side.

Leeds Beckett didn’t waste any time capitalising on the mistake, earning a penalty at the scrum and after a single phase, executing a well drilled backs move for the Leeds number 14 Api Bavadra to finish out wide for the game’s first running try. The conversion was unsuccessful, Leed’s led 30-5 at the 48 minute mark.  

Bavadra and Tommey both put in shining perforamnces for Leeds with Bath routinely struggling to find answers for the flying 14 both on the ground and in the air. 

The 3rd quarter was characterised by many substitutions, as Bath tried to offset momentum and change the game. However, it seemed as though the home side had lost key players in the scrum as the visitors, renewed with fresh legs, continued to turn the screw at the scrum, maintaining their side’s possession.

The bulk of the low-scoring second half descended into a tough physical battle as both teams wrestled for control. The wind dropped slightly, denying Bath the reverse aerial advantage to that gained by the visitors in the first half.

Bath’s early breakdown pressure that they had used to great effect in the first half slowed considerably as Leed’s adapted their game plan by sending more numbers into the rucks. 

There was a drought in scoring on both sides as Bath’s physicality wasn’t without merit. A number of powerful hits in the midfield and a blitzing defensive style continued to disrupt Leeds’ attempts at stringing together an attack. A particularly crunching hit by Bath’s number 20, Xavier Hastings, sent the Leeds player reeling and in the resulting ruck, Bath won a penalty to set up a line out opportunity inside the Leeds 22′. 

As the game moved into the later stages, Bath managed to sustain attacking pressure and maintained possession, continually hammering against the Leeds defence. In a mirror of the yellow card given in the first half, the Leeds number 4, Jordan Brown, disrupted a clear try scoring opportunity from a lineout, and was sent to the bin leaving his team to play the remainder of the match with 14 men.  

The cycle of the Bath attack continued as the game entered the final quarter, with the Leeds defence seemingly having answers each and every time. However, the Leeds line was finally breached with a minute to go, as Bath number 18 Archie Maggs, trundled over off the back of a lineout drive to bring the score to 10-30.

Leeds would have the last strike however, as the game entered the final phase, a botched Bath kick off catch would result in a penalty for the visitors. Toomey slotted the kick to make the final score 10-33..

Team Bath are at home for a third successive week, and the final time before Christmas, when they welcome old rivals Loughborough to the Sports Training Village on Wednesday 8th December. Kick-off is 6.30pm and admission to spectators is free.

Match stats

Team Bath starting XV: 1 George Cave (c), 2 Duncan Hood, 3 Josh Cilia, 4 Erik Bryant, 5 Tom Black, 6 Ted Johnson, 7 Tom Williams, 8 Harry Breeze; 9 George Wootten, 10 Bevan Howells, 11 Alfie Garside, 12 Alex Clayton, 13 Rahul Patel, 14 Cal Barrett, 15 Iwan Price Thomas. Replacements: 16 John Taylor, 17 Will Prior, 18 Archie Maggs, 19 Paddy Ashdown, 20 Xavier Hastings, 21 Ellis Horgan, 22 Will Kennaugh, 23 Sam Mercer.

Tries: 16’ Breeze, 79’ Maggs 

Leeds Beckett starting XV: 1 Connor Hancock, 2 Madison Hunting, 3 Rhys Charalambous, 4 Jordan Brown, 5 Harry Simmonds, 6 Micheal Etete, 7 James Gulliver (c), 8 Nick Brown; 9 Spencer Cope, 10 Olly Toomey, 11 Jake Morris, 12 Tom Bullough, 13 Gareth Stephens, 14 Api Bavadra, 15 Spencer Owen. Replacements: 16 Simon Ridgeway, 17 Emi Llincuta, 18 Callum Hancock, 19 Brandon Staples, 20 Josh Hadland, 21 Henry McNab, 22 Gethin Rossier, 23 Will Rawlinson.

Tries: 11’ Etete, 30’, 40’, 48’ Bavadra

Conversions: 30’ Toomey, 48’ Toomey

Penalties: 18’ Toomey, 80’ Toomey

Referee: Adam Wookey.

Assistant referees: Daniel Evans, Brian Ravenhill.

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