Bath win Euro Challenge Cup

Bath beat Worcester 24-16 in the final of the European Challenge Cup, the continent’s second-tier rugby competition, to win their first trophy since 1998.


England’s traditional powerhouse club, who lost consecutive finals in three competitions since winning the European Cup 10 years ago and lost to Wasps in the Premiership semi-final just last week, finally claimed a trophy.


Victory, at Gloucester’s Kingsholm ground on Sunday, was also a fitting tribute to captain Steve Borthwick who leaves the club after a decade’s service.


Bath were in control of a combative game following scores by flanker Jonny Faamatuainu and full-back Nick Abendanon in the first half.


Though Worcester got points on the board with two Shane Drahm penalties, Bath once more asserted their authority with kicks from Olly Barkley and Butch James to claim victory.


“Any season is judged by what happens at the end of it and to lift this trophy is just fantastic,” said Borthwick.


“It’s very emotional as I have had a great 10 years with Bath and it is just brilliant for these players to get this reward.” Bath coach Steve Meehan was adamant that over the course of 80 minutes they were the better team.


“This has to be the start of something and we have to get better, you can’t stand still but we have now proved we can win grand finals,” Meehan said.


“We knew we had to play a tighter game because of the conditions but with the pack we have got I didn’t see any problems.”


Former Wales coach Mike Ruddock, now in charge at Worcester, said: “There was a lot if emotional out there but Bath were more streetwise and played the conditions better.


“I think they have learnt from their losing finals just what it takes to nail down a win on these big occasions.


“We fell a little bit short today but Bath had done their homework and we have to be proud of our achievement in getting to this European Challenge Cup final.”


Final Score Bath 24 Worcester 16

 

Scorers

 

Bath

Tries – Jonathon Fa’amatuainu ,Nick Abendanon
Pen – Olly Barkley 2, Butch James
Con – Olly Barkley
Drop – Olly Barkley

 

Worcester

Tries – Thinus Delport
Pen – Shane Drahm 3
Con – Shane Drahm
Drop –

 

Teams

 

Bath: Abendanon; Maddock, Crockett, Barkley, Banahan; James, Claassens; Flatman, Mears, Stevens, Borthwick (c), Grewcock, Faamatuainu, Lipman, Browne.

Replacements: Dixon, Bell, Short, Feaunati, Walshe, Berne, Cheeseman.

 

Worcester: Delport; Garvey, Rasmussen, Tuitupou, Benjamin; Drahm, Powell; Windo, Lutui, Taumoepeau, Rawlinson, Gillies, Hickey, Sanderson (capt), Horstmann.

Replacements: Horsman, Mullan, Bowley, Talei, Powell, Carlisle, Gear.

 

SAPA – AFP Rugbyweek.com

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