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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007, 16:23 GMT
Bath 41-10 Leeds
Banahan fights off a tackle to score
Banahan's third try clinched the bonus point for Bath
Bath: (13) 41
Tries: Banahan (3), Claassens, Abendanon
Cons: Barkley (5)
Pens: Barkley (2)

Leeds: (3) 10
Try: Biggs
Con: Di Bernardo
Pens: Di Bernardo

Wing Matthew Banahan claimed a hat-trick of tries in a straightforward thrashing of Leeds at the Rec that took Bath top of the league.

Banahan scored once in the first half and was joined on the scoresheet by Michael Claassens in the second.

Olly Barkley, who nudged a kick through for Nick Abendanon for the fifth try on the final whistle, converted all five tries and added two penalties.

Tom Biggs saved face for Leeds with an opportunist effort after 69 minutes.

Leeds, second from bottom of the Premiership and already with the worst defensive record in the league, stuck to their task but were ultimately hampered by a scarcity of possession.

The visitors were on the back foot after just 38 seconds as Banahan crashed over in the right corner when Leeds lost the ball from the kick-off.

Barkley landed the conversion and added a 30m penalty to put his side 10-0 up inside 10 minutes.

Leeds refused to buckle and Bath were limited to a second Barkley penalty on the half hour, answered soon after by Alberto Di Bernardo for 13-3 at half-time.

606: DEBATE

But Banahan struck again at the beginning of second half as Leeds spilled the ball and Barkley and Abendanon launched a successful counter.

Bath went further ahead through Claassens when they ran back a Di Bernardo penalty attempt from inside his own half.

Banahan bagged his third soon after, again from long range before Biggs grabbed a consolation.

But Bath sealed an impressive win when Barkley launched Abendanon to score at the death.


  • Bath coach Steve Meehan:
    "Olly Barkley played well, as he has done since he returned from the World Cup.

    "The way he has integrated with the team has improved and the partnership with Butch James has worked to his benefit, perhaps because we've got more threats across the whole team at the moment.

    "We missed a couple of opportunities in the first half when we kicked the ball away. But we played a little more positively in the first half and it paid off."

  • Leeds director of rugby Stuart Lancaster:
    "Quite a lot of credit must go to Bath, who were exceptional today.

    "They are as good a side as we have played all season. They've got pace and power and good footballers who give them width.

    "In a lot of areas, we competed well but we got into a slight catch-up game and, as we tired, they brought on fresh players.

    "We came up against a side that is playing really well."


    Bath: Abendanon, Maddock, Crockett, Barkley, Banahan, James, Claassens; Barnes, Mears, Stevens, Borthwick (c), Grewcock, Beattie, Lipman, Browne.
    Replacements: Dixon, Ion, Purdy, Faamatuainu, Walshe, Berne, Higgins

    Leeds: Hinton, Satala, Vickerman, Blackett, Biggs, Di Bernardo, Bedford; MacDonald, Ma'asi, McGee, Hooper (c), Bouza, Dunbar, Clark, Oakley.
    Replacements: Cusack, Nilsen, Paul, Balding, Brooks, Hepworth, Goodridge.



  • SEE ALSO
    Bath 28-13 Bristol
    24 Nov 07 |  English
    Leeds 6-29 Leicester
    24 Nov 07 |  English


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