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Christian Wade scores a hat-trick as Wasps beat title rivals Bath

Christian Wade scored a hat-trick as Wasps claimed an emphatic 40-26 win over Aviva Premiership title rivals Bath.

Jimmy Gopperth weighed in with 20 points and Thomas Young added a try in the win in Coventry.

This result leaves Wasps in second place as the Premiership hits its midpoint, and also ensured they completed an 18-match unbeaten 2016 at their Ricoh Arena home.

It was also a record-breaking day personally for Wade, who smashed the record for the most tries in a calendar year, with his treble taking his tally to 18 and ending a seven-game scoring drought.

Both Joe Launchbury and Matt Mullan were making landmark appearances, with the skipper notching up his 100th game in a Wasps shirt while the front row made it 150 Premiership games.

And it was Wasps who claimed an early lead when Bath spilled a Joe Simpson box kick, Young recovered the ball and sent Wade racing over for a try which Gopperth converted.

Better followed five minutes later when Wade popped up on halfway from a set move, stepped three defenders and scorched over for his second score, again upgraded by Gopperth.

An end-to-end first quarter saw Bath hit straight back through hooker Ross Batty, who raced in from 30 metres in support of Jonathan Joseph's break.

George Ford converted, but the hosts soon restored a 10-point advantage through Gopperth's 40-metre penalty after a high tackle on Elliot Daly.

But another impressive Bath attack, again led by Joseph, ended several phases later with Dave Attwood charging over for a score which Ford upgraded.

Bath dominated possession and territory for much of the second quarter, only to concede a third long-distance try on the stroke of half-time.

The influential Young was again at the heart of the action, this time spotting a gap in the away defences on the fringes of a ruck and outpacing the cover from just inside his own half.

Gopperth's conversion gave the hosts a 24-14 interval advantage, which they soon extended when Wade completed his hat-trick with a score of sublime quality. Elliot Daly's slashing break was continued by Kurtley Beale, who then sent Wade to the posts.

Gopperth converted, and the centre almost immediately further extended Wasps advantage with a 45-metre penalty after Bath failed to release in contact.

Bath struck back on the hour mark with a driving lineout score, touched down by replacement Tom Ellis, but the visitors infringed direct from the restart, to hand three of these points straight back to Gopperth.

However, Todd Blackadder's team kept their faint hopes alive when Ben Tapuai claimed their bonus-point score, converted by Ford, with 14 minutes remaining.

But despite a lengthy late period in the home 22, that was as good as it got for the away team.

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