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Saturday, 5 January, 2002, 19:06 GMT
Bath progress with ease
Swansea scrum-half Rhodri Jones and opposite number Andy Williams
Andy Williams envelops Swansea's Rhodri Jones
Swansea 12-24 Bath

Bath moved into the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup with a relatively comfortable win over a disappointing Swansea side at St Helens.

The 1998 European champions scored two tries without reply as they clinched top spot in Pool Three.

Victory in their final group clash at home to Biarritz next Saturday should secure a home draw in the last eight as they look to rekindle memories of four years ago when they lifted the cup.

"I am pleased with the win - we are hoping to get a home draw now, which is important after we let our supporters down in domestic competitions this season," coach Jon Callard said.

  Scores and scorers
Swansea 12
Pens: Arwel Thomas (4)

Bath 24
Tries: Mark Gabey & Kevin Maggs
Con: Olly Barkley
Pens: Barkley (4)
"It wasn't a high-quality match but I was very pleased with our scrummage and the fact that we scored a couple of tries."

Swansea, on the other hand, had little to celebrate.

They kept their unfortunate record of failing to score a try in this year's competition in tact, and rarely stretched a determined Bath defence.

The visitors drew first blood with just over a minute on the clock when Ollie Barkley confidently struck a penalty between the posts.

Swansea, missing Wales international Colin Charvis and Andy Moore, levelled matters some five minutes later when fly-half Arwel Thomas matched Barkley's accuracy with a successful penalty of his own.

Bath were penalised several times for straying offside, but Thomas twice failed to reach the target from the resulting attempts at the posts.

Bath had failed to score a European try in five hours of rugby, but they needed only twenty minutes to breach Swansea's defence at St Helens.

Bath lock Danny Grewcock soars above the lineout
Bath dominated possession in the lineout
Mike Tindall won valuable yards with a surging run and Mark Gabey was on hand to dive on the loose ball near the posts after his attempted pass came off the feet of hooker Andy Long.

Barkley added the simple conversion; and a penalty five minutes took the score to 3-13.

Bath's second try arrived soon later when winger Kevin Maggs finished a fine counter-attack.

Swansea captain Scott Gibbs lost possession in midfield and his opposite centre Tindall took full advantage to burst through the home defence and deliver a perfectly timed pass for Maggs to run clear.

Thomas kept Swansea in the game with another penalty, but attempts to build attacking platforms were often ruined by the inaccurate lineout throws of stand-in hooker Johnny Marsters.

Swansea attempted to lift the tempo with a succession of quickly taken penalties as the half came to an end, but the Bath tacklers maintained their dominance to protect a 6-18 lead.

Bath flanker Gavin Thomas and Swansea scrum-half Rhodri Jones
Bath's Gavin Thomas is caught by Rhodri Jones
The home side came out determined in the second half, but they continued to search in vain for that spark of inspiration to lift the spirits on a gloomy night at St Helens.

Bath's continued indiscipline continued to offer Swansea hope, and Thomas brought the scores closer after 50 minutes with another successful kick at goal.

Scott Gibbs briefly brought the game to life with one of his trademark surging midfield runs, but subsequent bad handling again thwarted Swansea's try-scoring efforts.

Another Thomas penalty on the hour mark closed the gap to 12-18, but Barkley's successful kick cancelled out that score four minutes later.

Bath's replacement prop Dan Dorsey was lucky to escape with just a yellow card after a vicious high tackle on winger Shaun Payne, but Swansea failed to make their numerical advantage count.

A last minute penalty from Barkley ended the scoring and a delighted Bath side could celebrate their qualification into the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.


Swansea: K. Morgan, Rees, Winn, Gibbs, Payne, A. Thomas, R. Jones, Morris, Marsters, Evans, Maullin, Griffiths, Lewis, D. Thomas, L. Jones.
Replacements: Martens, Henson, Lima, Le Chavalier, Mason, Bater, H. Jenkins.

Bath: Balshaw, Thirlby, Barkley, Tindall, Maggs, Catt, Williams, D. Barnes, Long, Mallett, Borthwick, Grewcock, G. Thomas, Gabey, N. Thomas.
Replacements: Crockett, Regan, Emms, Voyce, Danielli, Dorsey, Lyle.

Referee: Ian Ramage (Scotland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Andrew Cotter
"Bath will have to improve to go further in the competition"
Bath coach Jon Callard
"The manner of the victory wasn't pretty"
See also:

29 Dec 01 |  Celtic
It's All Black for Swansea
29 Dec 01 |  English
Bath edge out Bristol
02 Jan 02 |  Celtic
Henry's camp causes concern
Links to more European stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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