Bath's Tom Heathcote makes his points in the thrashing of Worcester

Bath 46-13 Worcester
Flanker Francois Louw scores on debut
Matthew Banahan
Bath's Matt Banahan rampages through the Worcester defence in the LV Cup game. Photograph: Ian Smith/Action Images
Bath's Matt Banahan rampages through the Worcester defence in the LV Cup game. Photograph: Ian Smith/Action Images
Press Association
Sat 22 Oct 2011 16.54 EDT

The South African flanker Francois Louw scored on his debut as Bath maintained their impressive progress in the LV Cup with a seven-try thrashing of Worcester that sees them top Pool One with a maximum return.

Brad Davis, the Bath coach, said: "We're not even thinking about the LV Cup now, until January. We've got two massive games now against London Irish and Harlequins in the Premiership."

But Davis admitted that the performance of young players such as the fly-half Tom Heathcote, on form again with a 16-point haul, and wing Ollie Woodburn, one of seven try scorers, had intensified competition for places.

"With the young players you never really know until you give them the chance and pitch them in. If they are good enough, the talent really starts to show through," Davis said.

Bath also gave a first start to the Samoa prop Anthony Perenise, a try scorer off the bench in the 46-16 rout of Newport Gwent Dragons last weekend.

Heathcote put the home side ahead with a penalty after seven minutes but Bath infringed at the restart and Joe Carlisle replied with a 40m effort from a difficult angle.

Worcester strung together some impressive phases, testing the Bath defence both close to the breakdown and further out. A finely judged Carlisle pass set the wing Josh Drauniniu free on the left but Dan Hipkiss was back to make the tackle.

Carlisle put Worcester ahead from the resulting penalty but Bath hit back immediately when Woodburn off-loaded to Heathcote, who raced in from 40m. The fly-half also added the conversion, putting Bath 10-6 ahead at the end of the first quarter. They went further ahead on 25 minutes when Louw finished off a couple of strong drives by Ryan Caldwell and Nathan Catt, but the best came on the half-hour.

Catt showed remarkable pace for a loosehead to collect a ricocheted kick on his own 10m line and launch a counterattack that saw the ball pass through seven pairs of hands before Matt Banahan waltzed over in the opposite corner. Heathcote's conversion sent Bath in at the break with a 16-point lead although Carlisle had struck the post with another penalty attempt.

Bath came out for the second half in search of the bonus point and were convinced they should have had a penalty try when Woodburn was pushed in the back as he stooped to collect a bouncing ball just short of the try line. Drauniniu escaped with a ticking-off but, taking a scrum from the penalty, Bath were not long in claiming the try as Banahan's pass sent Jack Cuthbert over by the posts, and Heathcote converted.

That 47th-minute score put Bath 29-6 ahead but that stung Worcester into a response 10 minutes later when Drauniniu carved through the home defence on an inside pass to touch down, and Carlisle converted.

However, Worcester lost the former Bath captain Alex Crockett to injury soon afterwards and then had the flanker Sam Betty sin-binned in the 69th minute for a dangerous tackle on Louw, who carried on after prolonged treatment.

Further punishment was dealt out in the closing minutes as Ben Skirving drove over from close range and Woodburn finished off an overlap, but both tries were unconverted. Finally, Nick Abendanon scored under the posts and Heathcote chipped over his fourth conversion for a personal tally of 16 points.

Davis was understandably delighted with the debut of Louw. "He scored a try and it was a really good all-round performance. Whatever he is asked to do, he goes about his business really well," he said.

The Warriors assistant coach Phil Davies said: "If you look at the scoreboard, it looks like it was a tough match for us, but I thought we played well for large parts of the game and had a lot of territory and possession.

"I was really pleased with the way the players reacted and adapted to the challenge in front of them. Bath had a lot of the first-team players out there and, while we are not pleased with the final score, we were happy with the performance and the way the guys reacted to the challenge in front of them.

"There were lots of good things to take out of the game. We were pleased with our application, just disappointed we didn't take more points out of the match."