Rugby: Bath secure Champions Cup berth

Bath triumphed 44-20 over Gloucester in the Premiership on Sunday, booking a place in next season's Champions Cup.

A 44-20 Premiership win over Gloucester on Sunday made sure of Bath's place in next season's European Champions Cup and kept their slim hopes of a top-four finish alive.

Bath headed into the match at the Recreation Ground nine points adrift of fourth-placed Leicester Tigers and with a vastly inferior points difference.

Only a bonus-point victory would have realistically kept the chase for the top four alive into the final round of regular-season fixtures and a Taulupe Faletau hat-trick helped deliver exactly that.

Faletau crossed as Bath took a 10-8 lead into the interval, before touchdowns from Aled Brew, Max Clark and Robbie Fruean powered the home side to the crucial bonus point.

The Welsh number eight then added his second of the match, before Gloucester - without a point since Jonny May crossed five minutes from half-time - scored again via the same source.

Faletau completed his treble in the closing stages, although David Halaifonua's try was a late blow for Bath.

Bath must now hope for a Leicester defeat at Worcester Warriors next weekend, while also ensuring they either claim maximum points at Sale Sharks or achieve the required swing in points difference.

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