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Home semi the reward as six-try Bath blow away weakened Northampton

By PA
Bath's Tom Dunn, Beno Obano, Sam Underhill, Charlie Ewels and Josh Bayliss celebrate (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Bath rose to the occasion with a six-try 43-12 demolition of leaders Northampton that confirmed their place in the Gallagher Premiership play-offs.

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But the players had to wait several agonising minutes to learn that they had also earned a prize home tie against Sale, shock winners at Saracens.

The match will be played on Saturday, June 1, testimony to a remarkable transformation from the dark days of two years ago when Bath finished bottom of the table.

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Man of the match Josh Bayliss wasted no time in justifying his selection at number eight ahead of Alfie Barbeary, as Bath shoved the Saints scrum over the line after just seven minutes, with Finn Russell adding the conversion.

With rather more changes in their line-up, the Premiership pacesetters were unsettled by Bath’s aggressive defence and left wing Will Muir forced Ollie Sleightholme into a rushed clearance into touch from outside his 22.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Bath
43 - 12
Full-time
Northampton
All Stats and Data

From the lineout, the home side used Cameron Redpath as a decoy and Russell delayed his pass with perfect timing for Muir coming off his wing to gallop untouched to the try line. Russell’s conversion gave Bath a 14-0 lead on the quarter hour.

Centre Tom Litchfield knocked on under the Bath posts shortly after but Saints were awarded a penalty at the scrum. They were not interested in kicking points, thought, and repeatedly opted for a kick to the corner as Bath continued to infringe, especially at the breakdown.

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Russell, happy to play a pragmatic game when necessary, chipped over a penalty after 25 minutes to stretch the lead to 17-0.

However, with Bath conceding plenty of penalties and Matt Gallagher in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, Saints found space to fashion an unconverted try for full-back James Ramm on the stroke of half-time.

The home side recovered their poise after the break, looking to their forwards to regain control, and Tom Dunn duly scored from a line-out catch-and-drive, with Russell converting.

Then Saints were shoved off their own scrum but Joe Cokanasiga spilled a pass on the Northampton line.

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The try bonus point came after 53 minutes when skipper Ben Spencer intercepted in his own half and raced 60 metres to the line, with Russell converting.

Barbeary had no sooner come off the bench than he added a fifth try, converted by Spencer to stretch Bath’s lead to 38-5 and it became a rout when Muir finished off a sweeping move for his second try.

Northampton had the final say when Tom Seabrook stole in at the corner in the 78th minute for Saints’ second try, converted by Charlie Savala, but it was Bath who were celebrating.

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