Bath bag rare win over Tigers
PREMIERSHIP MATCH REPORT: A first-half Bath Rugby blitz saw the visitors over the line at Welford Road as they resisted a late Leicester Tigers surge to secure a 27-23 win in a pulsating encounter.
It is the first time Bath have won at Welford Road since 2003.
In a sight that delighted the crowds Manu Tuilagi crossed for the first try but Bath responded with two from centre Max Clark.
Semesa Rokoduguni got Bath’s third and Leicester left it late to reply, with Jonny May’s superb double not enough to steal the game amidst of flurry of yellow cards shown to the west-country side.
George Ford, who spent four seasons at Bath, struck a penalty for the first points of the afternoon then an excellent sequence of play down the left saw Brendon O’Connor offload to Tuilagi who touched down in the corner.
Bath responded instantly when Matt Banahan broke from halfway and offloaded to Clark who cantered in under the posts, with Prisetland adding the extras.
Clark took his tally to ten for the day going over from close range after a succession of drives from the Bath forwards.
The home crowd was stunned when Rokoduguni raced away for an interception try, with May and Telusa Veainu unable to chase him down.
Priestland and Ford traded penalties to kick off the second half and Priestland added another before Graham Kitchener and O’Connor wasted try-scoring chances.
Kahn Fotuali’i saw yellow for a high tackle and May then got the hosts back into the contest, beating two defenders in the corner.
Matt Garvey was also sent to the bin for the same offence and again May crept in at the corner to create a tense finish with the score at 27-23.
Remarkably Banahan also saw yellow at the death but Leicester lost the final lineout and were unable to get the crucial score as Bath open their Premiership Rugby account with a win.
Tries: Tuilagi, May 2
Pens: Ford 2
Tries: Rokoduguni, Clark 2
Cons: Priestland 3
Pens: Priestland 2
Yellow Cards: Kahn Fotuali'i (Bath, 69), Matt Garvey (Bath, 75), Matt Banahan (Bath, 79)
Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mathew Tait
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey (captain), 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 James Phillips, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Ben Tapuai
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Simon McConnell
TMO: Graham Hughes