PARIS (AFP) – Bath kept their faltering European Rugby Champions Cup campaign alive with a 30-5 triumph over an ill-disciplined Montpellier side who sank to the foot of Pool Four on Friday.
Bath, the 1998 champions, had started the evening with just a point from two opening defeats to Glasgow and Toulouse, but they were well worth their win in France and even had the added bonus of seeing former rugby league star Sam Burgess get his first taste of continental action with a second-half appearance.
The English side now have five points, three behind Toulouse and four off pace-setting Glasgow although their chances of making the knockout rounds in the new year remain slim.
Bath cruised to a 23-0 lead at the interval as Montpellier paid a heavy price for their indiscipline with the French side seeing two players sin-binned.
England fly-half George Ford ended the opening 40 minutes with 12 points while Bath grabbed two tries — one from prop Henry Thomas with the second score a penalty try on the stroke of half-time.
It was impossible to keep Thomas out of the action at the Stade Altrad as he was involved in both incidents which saw Montpellier twice reduced to 14 men.
First, flanker Antoine Battut was yellow-carded for taking out Thomas at a ruck. Bath scored 10 points while Battut was kicking his heels.
Three minutes from the break, lock forward Thibault Privat was also sin-binned after clashing with Thomas at a line-out.
Bath added a third try just after the restart courtesy of No 8 Leroy Houston which Ford converted for 30-0.
Replacement Charles Geli became the third Montpellier player to be sin-binned just five minutes after coming on for hands in the ruck.
Burgess then made his appearance with the match safely wrapped up and put in a handful of big hits to announce his presence.
With 10 minutes left, Montpellier finally got on the scoreboard when No 8 Alex Tulou scored from a maul.