Biggs bags three as Bath thrash Wasps
April 23, 2011
Biggs bags three as Bath thrash Wasps
Tom Biggs scored a terrific hat-trick as Bath beat Wasps 43-10 at Twickenham on St George's Day to sustain their slender hopes of breaking into the Premiership play-offs.
The Bath winger showed great finishing flair as well as being the beneficiary of some ruthless attacking rugby from Bath, often prompted by the quick-witted Michael Claassens. The Bath scrum-half set up two of Biggs' tries and created one for Matt Banahan as Bath raced into a 29-3 half-time lead.
The England back, starting his first game at inside centre in the absence of the injured Shontayne Hape, claimed his second try after the break following great play by Sam Vesty, who also contributed 13 points with the boot.
Wasps grabbed a try through scrum-half Joe Simpson but were inferior throughout and it was a harsh lesson on the Twickenham stage for some of their youngsters, who gained such acclaim a week earlier against Leeds.
Fittingly the final word went to Bath with Matt Carraro racing away to score and send their fans back to Bath still dreaming of a play-off place.
With a play-off berth disappearing into the distance after Northampton's victory over London Irish, Bath went chasing the bonus-point victory at full pace. And they got the ideal start with a try after three minutes.
Matt Carraro, playing at No.13, broke through midfield and when the ball was recycled Nick Abendanon exploited space down the blindside and offloaded to Biggs who cut in off his wing and raced under the posts. In the absence of Butch James, who was suffering from a knee injury, Vesty converted. Bath almost had a second try minutes later but some terrific defence from Joe Simpson held the ball up over the line and Claassens also fumbled another chance a metre out following a storming run from Banahan.
Wasps' two schoolboy starters at Twickenham were enjoying and enduring contrasting fortunes with No.8 Billy Vunipola making light of the absence of the suspended Andy Powell, while Elliot Daly spilled a few passes that cost Wasps good possession.
Bath extended their lead in the 23rd minute with a penalty from Vesty after further spritely running from Abendanon and Claassens had put Bath in a great position. Moments later Bath grabbed their second try. Riki Flutey's offload went to ground and Claassens launched the counter attack from his own 22 by releasing Banahan with a long pass wide, and the Bath centre cantered forward before unleashing Biggs on the outside. Vesty converted following Biggs' dot down.
Tom Biggs scored three tries for Wasps © Getty Images
Dave Walder, in his penultimate game for Wasps before his move to Japan, gave Wasps their first points with a penalty after a strong run from hooker Tom Lindsay forced Bath into conceding in front of their posts.
Bath, though, were by far the more threatening side with ball in hand and five minutes before half-time Claassens created a try for Banahan as pierced through a gap off the back of the lineout and released the big centre who cruised over.
Seconds later Bath had their bonus-point try. Once again Claassens spotted the opportunity following a Wasps turnover and the ball went wide to Biggs who showed remarkable quick feet and upper body strength to fend off Richard Haughton race away from the cover to score. Wasps began the second period positively and almost grabbed their first try as Vunipola used his ample frame to barge over the line but the replays revealed that he dropped the ball.
It was a far closer call moments later when the video referee agonised over whether Banahan had spilled the ball as he slid over the line following an audacious break from Vesty. Banahan was awarded his second try, though, and Vesty converted the try that he'd created.
Josh Lewsey came on as a second-half replacement for Wasps and, on his return to the Twickenham turf, showed the kind of power play that made him England regular to create an opening for Daly, but the young fullback kicked the ball too far ahead of him.
But Wasps did cross the line for a try when Simon Shaw charged the ball down and Joe Simpson raced clear to touch down as the game became increasingly frenetic.
Wasps pushed hard to reduce the deficit and the humiliation. But again it was Bath with the superior finishing power and Biggs with the star turn. With five minutes remaining the Bath left wing tip-toed down the flank on half way before somehow chipping ahead for Carraro to collect and accelerate away to score.
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