Beale double drains Bath rugby resistance

Pirate IRWIN
Wasps' Phil Swainston (L) and Dan Robson (R) celebrate with teammates after the European Rugby Champions Cup rugby union match against Toulouse January 14, 2017

Two tries from Australian star Kurtley Beale saw Premiership leaders Wasps ease to a comfortable 24-3 victory over fourth-placed Bath on Saturday.

Victory places Wasps five points to the good of Exeter -- who secured a bonus point 34-15 victory over Leicester Tigers on Friday -- whilst champions Saracens can keep in contention for top spot with an away win over Newcastle on Sunday.

While Wasps did the bare minimum required to win, Harlequins played out of their skin to come back from the dead and score 15 unanswered points in the final eight minutes to beat Gloucester 30-27.

Wasps early pressure paid off as Christian Wade went over for the opening try -- Jimmy Gopperth adding the extra points for 7-0.

Wade proved equally effective at the other end as he forced Scottish back row forward David Denton wide enough that his foot edged into touch and although he touched down it was enough for the try to be ruled out.

Wasps unstoppable surge of attacks yielded another try shortly after that Beale swept over -- Gopperth converting for 14-0.

However, there was concern for Gopperth as the half edged towards the break, having had a try of his own disallowed he tumbled to the ground and required lengthy treatment.

The ageing Kiwi battled on but allowed Bath a sniff at getting a foothold in the game when he knocked on inside his 22 -- ultimately leading to the hosts getting a penalty and going in at half-time 14-3 down after Tom Homer knocked it over.

Beale doubled his try tally for the day midway through the second-half and effectively ended the hosts hopes of getting something out of the match -- barrelling over from a few yards out.

On Friday Henry Slade shrugged off the disappointment of being dropped from England's Six Nations squad by scoring 14 points in Exeter's win over Leicester.

The 23-year-old kicker's impressive performance was watched by England coach Eddie Jones who omitted him from the squad to play Scotland on Saturday week.

The Chiefs scored four tries -- including a 10th penalty try of the campaign -- to keep firmly in the hunt for going one better than last season when they lost in the Premiership final to Saracens.

Saracens, also the European titleholders, will have both the fearsome Vunipola brothers in their starting line-up for the first time in a long while for the Newcastle match -- No8 Billy having recovered from a knee injury whilst Mako returned last month.