Premiership: Wasps 40-26 Bath
|Wasps (24) 40|
|Tries: Wade (3) Young Pens: Gopperth (4) Cons: Gopperth (4)|
|Bath (14) 26|
|Tries: Batty, Atwood, Ellis, Tapuai Cons: Ford (3)|
Wasps ended the year with an unbeaten home record after a scintillating match against Bath at the Ricoh Arena.
In a first half boasting five tries, Christian Wade crossed twice and Thomas Young added Wasps's third on half-time after scores from Ross Batty and Dave Atwood for the visitors.
Wade completed his hat-trick after the break before Jimmy Gopperth slotted two penalties to extend Wasps' lead.
Tom Ellis and Ben Tapuai secured a bonus point for Bath but Wasps held on.
For the first time this season, director of rugby Dai Young had a near full complement of backs from which to select, and they were in fine form during a spectacular show in front of a 26,000-strong crowd.
Kurtley Beale made his first Premiership start for Wasps, but it was winger Wade who stole the show with both individual brilliance and strong support play.
Bath's typically strong defence looked tired, but they fought their way back into the game to secure a try bonus point.
Wasps are now level on points with Saracens at the top of the table and will secure top spot outright if they beat Newcastle away on Friday.
Following the game, director of rugby Dai Young confirmed that England flanker James Haskell is close to a return from injury and that Wasps are looking at involving him in games against Leicester (8 January) or Toulouse (14 January) in the new year.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young: "It was obviously a really tough game, as you expect with it being second against third.
"We showed some fantastic stuff in attack, I thought, some real cutting-edge stuff with great support play. But to be totally honest I thought we lacked some energy in defence especially first half.
"We also had lots of flu through the camp throughout the week, so I don't think our energy levels were through the roof.
"But in fairness to the players I thought they were much more rugged in the second half and we kept Bath at bay."
Bath head coach Todd Blackadder: "We made three mistakes in the first half, and they capitalised on two of them, which is what good teams do.
"I thought we started really well, and made a couple of nice line-breaks but didn't turn them into points, and that was the difference between the two sides.
"As the game went on, we didn't get our basics right, and today was a really good test which highlighted a few things within our game.
"Overall it was a good game, and we passed the character test when we were down and could have capitulated, but we showed some fight to get a losing bonus point."
Wasps: Beale; Wade, Daly, Gopperth, Halai; Cipriani, Simpson; Mullan, Taylor, Moore, Launchbury (capt.), Gaskell, Johnson, Young, Hughes.
Replacements: Rieder, Bristow, Swainston, Myall, Thompson, Robson, Eastmond, Miller.
Bath: Homer; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Tapuai, Brew; Ford, Fotuali'i; Catt, Batty, Lahiff, Charteris, Attwood, Garvey, Louw, Faletau.
Replacements: Dunn, Auterac, Palma-Newport, Stooke, Ellis, Allinson, Hastings, Clark.
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