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Winless Bath boss blames red card for latest home loss

By PA
Mike Williams is sent off /Getty Images

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Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper felt that the dismissal of Mike Williams played a “huge part” in their 27-17 defeat to Wasps at the Rec.

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Williams was dismissed in the 47th minute for a dangerous challenge on Wasps centre Jimmy Gopperth as the lock sought to effect a clear-out in a mall.

Gopperth received lengthy treatment before being taken off on a stretcher but recovered afterwards although the damage was done and bottom-placed Bath are still without a win in the Gallagher Premiership after six defeats.

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Vaea Fifita, Gabriel Oghre and Tom Willis scored Wasps’ tries. Gopperth kicked two penalties and a conversion while Jacob Umaga added two conversions.

Tom De Glanville and Semesa Rokoduguni touched down for Bath with Orlando Bailey kicking a penalty and a conversion and Danny Cipriani adding a conversion.

Hooper said: “I didn’t see the incident close-up as the feed in our box wasn’t working but if a player is injured following an opponent charging into a ruck, then you probably know the result.

“A red card always makes the situation very challenging and it certainly played a huge part in the game as there was a big swing in momentum.

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“However we still weren’t accurate enough to capitalise at crucial times.

“There were some positives in attack and I thought Tom De Glanville was outstanding and despite the loss, one can fault the fight of the boys.”

Next up for Bath is a daunting trip to top-of-the-table Leicester on Friday night which Hooper accepted would be a difficult task.

He added: “We won’t have any players back for that and we have picked up two more injuries in Lewis Boyce and Johannes Jonker and obviously we won’t have Mike Williams available as he will be banned.”

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Wasps boss Lee Blackett also accepted that the red card was a crucial moment.

He said: “It’s a tough one. I’m 100 per cent sure that Mike didn’t intend to cause any harm to Jimmy but he just got it wrong and the red card decision is the correct one in the modern game.

“We should have scored more points in the first half as we had lots of chances in their 22 but failed to take them.

“We needed to be more urgent but bearing in mind our injury situation, I’m pretty pleased we’ve won three out of six although we could have beaten both Exeter and Newcastle to have five wins on the board.

“We still picked up a number of injuries. Dan Robson had a recurrence of groin injury which could mean five weeks out. Thomas Young was struggling with a hip injury but we took him off as a precaution so he should be OK to join up with the Welsh squad and obviously Jimmy (Gopperth) will have to be assessed.”

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