Twickenham dream dashed as University of Bath are beaten by impressive Cardiff Met in BUCS Super Rugby semi-final
The University of Bath men’s 1st XV’s dreams of reaching the BUCS Super Rugby Championship final were dashed by an excellent Cardiff Met performance tonight.
Bath, sponsored by IKON Construction and supported by Investigo, got off a fine start and led through a Levi Davis try converted by Will Partington, only for the visitors to respond through Tom Morgan and George Simpson.
A Jack Davies try, added to by Partington, briefly levelled the scores at 14-14 but further touchdowns from Alex Dombrandt and Luke Northmore – both converted by Morgan, taking his tally for the half to four – put Met in control at the break.
Dombrandt scored again within a minute of the restart and while a converted Tom Doughty try gave Bath hope, Met pulled away in the last 15 minutes as Ben Williams and Max Llewellyn tries, plus conversions and penalties from Harry Johnston and Simpson, sealed an impressive 55-21 victory.
The only negatives for Met were injuries to captain Aled Evans and centre Morgan, who needed lengthy on-field treatment before being stretchered off. All at Team Bath wish them a speedy recovery.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “We were well beaten, I thought Cardiff Met were outstanding tonight. We had worked hard all week on our game plan but fair play to Cardiff, they played some very good rugby with good variation and I wish them all the best in the final.
“There have been ups and downs this season. The positives are we’ve built and got better throughout the season, and we’ve had a number of freshers get their first experience of BUCS Super Rugby which has gone to another level this year.
“I’d like to thank all the guys who have played their last BUCS game for Team Bath tonight, they have given great service over the three or four years they have been here.”
They bossed the early stages against Met and needed just five minutes to take the lead. A big catch and drive took them deep into the Met 22 before the ball was passed to winger Davis, who stepped inside the defender before touching down. Partington added the extras.
Met hardly got into Bath’s half in the first 15 minutes but a penalty kicked to touch allowed them to set up an attacking platform. The hosts repelled the first sortie but Morgan was able to stretch out and touch down from the next before adding the conversion himself.
Full-back Simpson then produced an impressive burst of pace to score in the corner a couple of minutes later, again converted by Morgan, as Met turned the game on its head but Bath responded well and, after two drives were held up on the line, Davies eventually burrowed through.
Partington’s conversion levelled the scores but for just a minute before a bullocking run from lock Dombrandt took him through the Bath defence. He looked for support but, after seeing he didn’t have any, kept going himself and touched down under the posts to give Morgan a simple conversion.
Met were now in the ascendancy and they stretched their advantage to 28-14 just before the break as winger Northmore found a gap in the corner, with Morgan again adding the extras.
Bath needed a strong start to the second half but instead it was Met who extended their lead within 60 seconds, prop Harry Seward intercepting a loose pass before charging forward and releasing Dombrandt to go over for his second try of the game. Morgan converted.
The hosts were looking rattled but regained their composure and utilised their trademark lineout catch and drive to get back into the contest through a Doughty try, converted by Partington.
Any hopes of a comeback were dashed, though, when Morgan broke through the Bath defence and unloaded for Williams to touch down. However, Morgan was injured in the process and was treated for ten minutes on the pitch before being stretchered off to applause from both sets of players and fans.
In his absence, Johnston kicked the conversion before full-back Simpson took the duties for a routine penalty in front of the posts to put Met 45-21 up.
There was still time for Llewellyn to slice through the Bath defence after another slick Met attack and Simpson to add the extras before a Johnston penalty from the last kick of the game sealed the victory.
Met will now face Hartpury at Twickenham next Wednesday after the defending champions stunned table-topping Exeter University 41-15 in the other semi-final.
University of Bath: 15 Will Partington, 14 Harry Close, 13 Will Hughes, 12 Craig Duncan, 11 Levi Davis, 10 Will Flinn, 9 Luca Petrozzi; 1 Jake Buckingham, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Austin Hay, 4 Will Britton (c), 5 Derryn Jones, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Chris Barry, 8 James Catlin. Replacements: 16 James Hadfield, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Bradley Packham, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Mike Snook, 21 Alex Burrage, 22 Charlie Dunbar.
Tries: Davis, Davies, Doughty.
Conversions: Partington 3.
Cardiff Met: 15 George Simpson, 14 Jordan Roberts, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Tom Morgan, 11 Max Llewellyn, 10 Harry Johnston, 9 Ben Williams; 1 Sam Cochrane, 2 Jack Samuel, 3 Harry Seward, 4 Alex Dombrandt, 5 Edoardo Balocco, 6 Harvey Scott, 7 Dawid Rubasniak, 8 Aled Evans (c). Replacements: 16 Jack Fielding, 17 Dan Kenett, 18 Harri Dobbs, 19 Jac Arthur, 20 Aled Ward, 21 Matt Marsh, 22 Corey Whane.
Tries: Morgan, Simpson, Dombrandt 2, Northmore, Williams, Llewellyn.
Conversions: Morgan 4, Johnston, Simpson.
Penalties: Simpson, Johnston.
Referee: Neil Chivers.
Assistant referees: Adam Wookey, Charlie Gayther.