Effort undermined by errors as Team Bath’s final home game of BUCS Super Rugby season ends in frustrating defeat to Cardiff Met
The Rengen-sponsored men’s 1st XV matched their opponents physically for much of the evening and were only trailing by two tries at half-time but couldn’t make the most of having a strong wind in their favour during the second period as errors at either end of the field proved costly.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “We didn’t get a couple of lineouts in when in good positions and we dropped the ball with the wind behind us a few times, so we didn’t get the momentum we wanted, then we gifted them a couple of tries so we were chasing the game.”
“In terms of effort I’d give us nine out of 10 but we’ve got match that with quality. We talked before the game about being physical and I think we fronted up really well, we just made errors in both 22s that cost us.”
Team Bath were first to play into the strong wind but made a confident start, dominating possession and territory for the opening 10 minutes. Cardiff Met were forced to give away two penalties in quick succession, the second resulting in a yellow card for visiting hooker Tyler Olding, and the hosts made their extra man count by crashing over for the opening try through prop Archie Stanley, George Worboys adding the conversion.
Ethan Morgan missed a penalty from the restart but was on target from much closer range midway through the half, converting a try from Cardiff Met captain Iwan Shenton to level the scores after a good spell of pressure from the visitors.
Team Bath responded brilliantly, though, as Worboys made a fantastic break from a scrum and exchanged passes with winger Sam Mercer before racing over the line for an excellent try which he converted himself.
However, the lead was soon cancelled out again as scrum-half Ethan McVeigh found a gap in the home defence and nipped through to touch down, with Morgan adding the extras, and Cardiff Met forged ahead for the first time when winger Roma Zheng shrugged off a couple of tackles before stretching over the line for the visitors’ third try – again converted.
There was time for Cardiff Met to grab a bonus-point fourth try before half-time, number 8 Shenton again cutting through the home defence to make it 26-14 at the interval.
If Team Bath were disappointed with their defending at the end of the first half, they could be proud of their resilience at the start of the second as they stood firm against some relentless pressure for the opening 15 minutes.
When they were finally able to clear their lines, they were rewarded with a well-worked third try. It was again instigated, and converted, by Bath Rugby player Worboys whose dummy and offload teed up Mercer to beat the last defender and dive over.
Team Bath were right back in the game but a lapse in concentration soon after allowed McVeigh to race through for his second try of the night and Haydn Lidstone’s conversion stretched the gap to 12 points again.
A brilliant penalty from halfway by Worboys, using the wind to his advantage, cut the deficit to 33-24 but, try as they might, Team Bath couldn’t establish an attacking platform and they were caught on the counter when centre Will Rigg cut a diagonal line through the defence to kill off the contest, Lidstone converting.
Team Bath conclude the regular BUCS Super Rugby season with two trips to Wales over the next fortnight, visiting Cardiff University on Wednesday 2nd March and Swansea on Wednesday 9th March.
Team Bath starting XV: 1 Archie Stanley, 2 Jasper Spandler, 3 Archie Griffin, 4 Ed Ashcroft (c), 5 Elliot Powell, 6 Tom Black, 7 Eddie Anderson, 8 Mackenzie Graham; 9 Ellis Horgan, 10 George Worboys, 11 Sam Mercer, 12 Bevan Howells, 13 Alfie Garside, 14 Calum Barrett, 15 Iwan Price-Thomas. Replacements: 16 George Stuttard, 17 George Cave, 18 Josh Cilia, 19 Lachlan McGrigor, 20 Tom Reynolds, 21 George Wootten, 22 Will Kennaugh, 23 Alex Varney.
Tries: Stanley, Worboys, Mercer.
Conversions: Worboys 3.
Cardiff Met starting XV: 1 Tom Workman, 2 Tyler Olding, 3 Oliver Andrews, 4 Barnaby Waddell, 5 Dylan Bartlett, 6 Bailey Marshall-Telfer, 7 Jake Bond, 8 Iwan Shenton (c); 9 Ethan McVeigh, 10 Ethan Morgan, 11 Roma Zheng, 12 Will Rigg, 13 Dafydd Tiueti, 14 Jack Silvester, 15 Steffan Davies. Replacements: 16 Morgan Nelson, 17 David Ofori-Manteaw, 18 Eliot Salt, 19 Matthew Marley, 20 Charles Rylands, 21, Keian Richards, 22 Haydn Lidstone, 23 Brad Denty.
Tries: Shenton 2, McVeigh 2, Zheng, Rigg.
Conversions: Morgan 3, Lidstone 2.
Referee: Neil Sweeney.
Assistant referees: Oli Carey, Fred Spong.