European Rugby Champions Cup: Bath 23-0 Benetton

Jonathan Joseph
Jonathan Joseph was contained for the most part by the Italian visitors
European Champions Cup - Pool Five
Bath (13) 23
Tries: Mercer, Brew Cons: Lewis 2 Pens: Lewis 3
Benetton Treviso (0) 0

Bath made a winning start to their Champions Cup campaign, but missed out on a bonus point at home to a stubborn Benetton Treviso side.

Flanker Zach Mercer and Welsh wing Aled Brew crossed in either half, but the hosts were hampered by yellow cards for prop Nick Auterac and hooker Tom Dunn.

Treviso came close to scoring through number eight Robert Barbieri but lacked a cutting edge out wide.

Bath travel to Scarlets next weekend in the second round of games.

Josh Lewis may still be at fly-half for that match with Freddie Burns suspended and Rhys Priestland recovering from a knee injury.

The 25-year-old Welshman, who arrived from Ebbw Vale in the summer, was making his first start for Bath and landed a couple of nerve-settling penalties.

But the hosts found themselves forced back for long periods in the first half with Treviso turning the screw in the scrum.

Auterac's attempts to regain the upper hand at the set piece saw him sin-binned and Semesa Rokoduguni made a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Tommaso Benvenuti with his team down to 14.

Bath's backline suddenly sparked into life with Jonathan Joseph freed Rokoduguni before Chris Cook flicked a pass inside for Mercer to canter in just before the break.

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Lewis had a drop-goal attempt charged down as a fitful second half remained scoreless until the 70th minute.

But Bath finally added some gloss to the scoreline with a slick lineout move culminating with Francois Louw putting in Brew for the try.

Bath: Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Clark, Brew, Lewis, Cook, Auterac, Dunn, Perenise, Ewels, Stooke, Mercer, Underhill, Faletau.

Replacements: Wilson for Clark (75), Fotuali'i for Cook (60), Obano for Auterac (62), Andrews for Perenise (49), Phillips for Stooke (62), Charles for Mercer (61), Louw for Underhill (20). Not Used: Allinson.

Sin Bin: Auterac (27), Dunn (60).

Benetton Treviso: Sperandio, Esposito, Brex, Sgarbi, Benvenuti, McKinley, G. Bronzini, Zani, Bigi, Ferrari, Fuser, Lazzaroni, Negri, Minto, Barbieri.

Replacements: Tebaldi for McKinley (65), Gori for G. Bronzini (43), Traore for Zani (45), Baravalle for Bigi (53), Pasquali for Ferrari (60), Budd for Lazzaroni (48), A. Bronzini for Minto (60), N. Manu for Barbieri (48).

Sin Bin: Fuser (47).

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