The Six Nations injury crisis continues.
Bath lost not only their eighth match of the season but also two of their international squad members, Rhys Priestland and Ollie Devoto, to injury as Wasps eased to a 24-18 victory at the Rec that kept their hopes of a Premiership and Champions Cup double alive.
Devoto left the match with suspected concussion at half-time and Priestland was later taken off with a dead leg.
“We are disappointed with the way we started both halves,” said Bath’s under-pressure coach, Mike Ford. “Losing Ollie didn’t help, and Rhys was playing on one leg there in the second-half.”
Wasps were grateful to Frank Halai, who scored two tries, for a win that was a world away from last week’s swashbuckling demolition of Saracens. Afterwards, their coach, Dai Young, expressed his relief and urged his side to build on the momentum that has brought six Premiership wins on the bounce.
“I thought we looked the better team and we looked in control, but we never really got away from them that much,” Young said. “I felt we were in control, but I never thought the game was dead and we were out of sight. To come here and get a win, we have got to be pleased.
“From my point of view, we’ve had two good wins and gone from ninth to third. But two bad losses, and you can go from third to ninth. We have just got to keep the momentum going.”
Saracens recovered from their humiliation at Wasps’ hands with a 25-12 win over Gloucester despite losing Schalk Brits to a first-half red card for a punch on Nick Wood. Gloucester made barely a foray into the Saracens 22 while Charlie Hodgson punished their ill-discipline with 20 points from the tee.
Mark McCall, the Saracens director of rugby, defended Brits after the match. “Schalk has obviously struck him on the head but if you look at the incident, then Schalk’s knee is trapped as Wood clears him out,” McCall said. “Schalk is almost frightened and is trying to get him off.”
“That was probably our best win of the season after what happened last weekend,” McCall added.
Worcester boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation with a three-try win over Sale. They held off a second-half comeback from the visitors, whose defeat ends a five‑match winning run. Steve Diamond, the Sale director of rugby, was quick to blame the referee, Greg Garner. “They’ve been complaining about referees in the press all week,” Diamond said. “We are the most disciplined team in the league but the referee gave seven penalties against them for bringing down driving mauls but there were no yellow cards given.”
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