Fantastic forwards drive University of Bath to fine home win over Loughborough in BUCS Super Rugby

19 October 2016

The University of Bath continued their winning start to the new BUCS Super Rugby season by recording a well-earned 28-17 home victory over Loughborough University on Wednesday.

As in their opening match against Team Northumbria, the Blue and Gold fell behind – this time to a Will Kaye penalty and Joss Morgan try – before hitting back with two tries from hooker Tom Doughty.

Prop Alex Wood further capitalised on the Bath pack’s dominance to extend the lead before Craig Duncan touched down in the dying stages to seal a fantastic bonus-point win, not long after replacement Sydney Blackmore had given Loughborough a glimmer of hope.

Full-back Hugo Stiles kicked all four conversions for the Blue and Gold, who were roared on by a 500-strong crowd at the Sports Training Village that included Bath Rugby Head Coach Tabai Matson and Rio 2016 modern pentathlete Jamie Cooke.

University of Bath Head Coach Mark Lilley said: “To bounce back from ten points down was brilliant and to start off with two wins from two is a credit to how hard the boys have been working.

“We went a little off page in the first half, mostly because the boys were so keen. We said at half-time about going back to our processes and what we know, and we executed our game plan really well in the second half.

“I’m over the moon with the tries from the forwards tonight. We do a lot of work at 7.30 in the morning on the muddy pitches on moves like that, so the boys will be chuffed.

“The forwards played really well but I thought the backs got us in the right places and played in the right areas.

“There was a great atmosphere tonight and credit to the University of Bath, everyone has worked really hard to make this happen.”

Captain Will Britton added: “It was obviously quite a pressure game for us against Loughborough but we came through it really well. It was a fantastic second half – a bit tense at some points but we just managed to carry it off.

“Going into this game, we thought we would take it to Loughborough up front and I think we really delivered on the set-piece and lineout scrum today.

“The crowd were brilliant and they made a big difference.”

The University of Bath made four changes to the team that started last Friday’s 38-17 bonus-point win at Team Northumbria, with loosehead prop Greg Palmer, second-row Jack Davis, scrum-half Will Flinn and wing Jake Allen coming into the starting XV.

Loughborough had also started their season in impressive fashion, beating Durham University 39-13 in their opening fixture, and they enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.

Visiting winger Kaye hit the outside of the post with a fourth-minute penalty but was more successful with his next attempt ten minutes later to give Loughborough the lead.

That advantage grew to 10-0 when, after Bath had repelled a couple of drives from a lineout, number eight Morgan broke through following a pick and go. Kaye added the extras.

Bath’s response was immediate and, after securing a lineout in the corner, the pack forced their way over for hooker Doughty to get the touchdown. Stiles kicked the conversion to cut the lead to three points.

That’s how the score remained until half-time but Bath came out for the second period in determined mood, with a surging run from centre Charlie Dunbar putting them firmly on the front foot.

Just a couple of minutes had been played when another maul from a lineout led to Doughty scoring his second of the game and his fourth of the week.

The Bath pack were now in dominant form and Loughborough were unable to repel another powerful surge which this time ended with prop Wood touching down.

Stiles converted both tries to give the hosts a 21-10 advantage but that was cut with five minutes to go when, after a period of sustained pressure, Loughborough were able to spread the ball wide and replacement Blackmore collected Max Hill’s pass to touch down.

Kaye’s conversion reduced the gap to three points but Bath regained control from the restart and, following a patient period of play, an incisive break down the left ended with Dunbar racing over for the bonus-point try. Stiles again added the extras.

Next up for the University of Bath is a match against Leeds Beckett on Tuesday, October 25 at The Rec, home of Bath Rugby. It is the climax to a day of celebrations to mark the University’s 50th anniversary and a big crowd is expected to take advantage of the free entry to cheer on the Blue and Gold.

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Match stats

University of Bath starting XV: 1 Greg Palmer, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Alex Wood, 4 Will Britton, 5 Jack Davis, 6 Michael Snook, 7 Tom Kynge, 8 James Catlin, 9 Will Flinn, 10 Ludi Hopkinson, 11 Dan Rowland, 12 Charlie Dunbar, 13 Craig Duncan, 14 Jake Allen, 15 Hugo Stiles.

Replacements: 16 George Frampton, 17 Conor McGrath, 18 Austin Hay, 19 Alex Weighton, 20 Adam McCarthy, 21 Jack Turner, 22 George Humphrey.

Tries: Doughty 2, Wood, Duncan.

Conversions: Stiles 4.

Loughborough University starting XV: 1 Jarod Leat, 2 Freddie Davison, 3 George Davis, 4 Will Morrison, 5 Will Elt, 6 Max Hill, 7 Daniel Moolman, 8 Joss Morgan, 9 Jack Moates, 10 Mark Dixon, 11 Brendon Mandivenga, 12 Richie Lewis, 13 Joe Doyle, 14 Will Kaye, 15 Sam Pointon.

Replacements: 16 Callum Lynch, 17 Joe Cave, 18 Jonah Boyce, 19 Luke Frost, 20 Sydney Blackmore, 21 Callum Watson, 22 Fergus Jemphrey.

Tries: Morgan, Blackmore.

Conversions: Kaye 2.

Penalty: Kaye.

Referee: Adam Leal.

Assistant referees: Christopher Bartlett, Stuart Dillon.

Attendance: 500.

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