Sunday 19 November 2017

Donald's late cameo repeat fails to stop Bath slip-up

Glasgow 26 Bath 21

Simon Turnbull

For Stephen Donald, the west end of Glasgow yesterday was not quite the same as the garden of Eden Park on World Cup final day.

Three weeks on from his fast track ascent from zero to New Zealand hero, the fourth-choice out-half, whose penalty ended 24 years of All Black hurt, found himself on the end of an injury-time mugging on his Bath debut.

As in the World Cup final, when he replaced the crocked Aaron Cruden, Donald started the Heineken Cup Pool 3 contest on the bench.

As the clock ticked into overtime the script was going the same way for Donald. Having entered the fray as a 69th-minute replacement for Tom Heathcote directly after the 19-year-old had kicked the visitors into an 18-16 lead with his sixth successful penalty out of six, Donald saw his new club fall behind to a penalty from Duncan Weir.

Then the 27-year-old stepped up to boot a penalty between the uprights from 10 metres in on the left. That put the visitors 21-19 up and, with just a minute left, it looked like Donald and his right boot had done it again. But then it all went down the plughole for Bath.

When Weir chanced his right boot from 40 metres and his blocked drop kick fell to Nick Abendanon, the Bath full-back slipped, and it bounced to Richie Gray, who applied what proved to be the match-winning touch.

Weir kicked the extras, leaving Donald tasting defeat.

The introduction of Donald was inevitable. "We thought he might be able to handle the pressure," Bath's first-team coach Brad Davis remarked, tongue in cheek.

Ultimately, though, it was the last-gasp pressure from Glasgow that won the day.

Irish Independent

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