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Leroy Houston returns to Bath with a bang to complete fightback

Leroy Houston made a fairytale return to Bath on loan from Queensland Reds by scoring the bonus point try against a competitive Worcester side.

Bath had been trailing 17-6 at half-time but regrouped to score all their tries in the second half and make it three out of three Aviva Premiership victories.

The other tries came from England wing Anthony Watson, Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni. George Ford converted all four, having kicked three penalties.

Hooker Neil Annett and wing Dean Hammond crossed for the Warriors in the first half and Perry Humphreys scored their third try late on. Former Bath fly-half Tom Heathcote kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Number eights Houston was very much the fans' favourite during his three seasons at Bath before heading back to Australia during the summer in the hope of a Wallabies first cap.

Back at the Recreation Ground since Monday as emergency loan cover, he might have scored with his first touch but Banahan fluffed a simple pass.

Worcester saw prop Val Rapava-Ruskin denied a try by the TMO before gaining their just reward with a try on 17 minutes by Annett.

Wynand Olivier's break off Heathcote's pass did the damage initially and teenage debutant Jamie Shillcock provided the final link for Annett. Heathcote added the conversion.

Ford made amends for an early miss with an angled penalty from 40 metres when the Worcester scrum was penalised but Bath had so far shown none of the fluency or forward power of last weekend's hammering of Newcastle.

Defensively too, Bath lacked bite and belief and Dean Hammond added a second try on 31 minutes, brushing through Homer's tackle.

The former Scottish international then exchanged penalties with Ford as Worcester went in at the break with a 17-6 lead.

But it was Bath who found their feet quickest after the interval, as Ford fed Houston with an inside pass and Watson appeared on the number eight's shoulder to score.

Ford's conversion narrowed Worcester's lead to 17-13 and the TMO then ruled that Rokoduguni had failed to ground Bowden's chip through. Bath kept up the pressure though and Ford neatly chipped over the top of the defence for Banahan to claim the try, again converted by the fly-half.

That put the home side in front for the first time and a now-dominant scrum earned more points for Ford as his third penalty extended the lead to 23-17 on the hour.

Within a couple of minutes it was 30-17 as Rokoduguni was driven over the line for the third try.

Worcester were not dead by any means, however, and Bath were stretched left and right before Humphreys scored a well-constructed try, which Heathcote failed to convert.

Bath went straight down to the other end and Houston crossed from a tapped penalty to complete his dream return and secure the victory.


From Belfast Telegraph