A dominant second-half display saw Leicester Tigers beat Bath Rugby 19-34 in The Clash at Twickenham Stadium.
In front of a 60,000 plus crowd, Bath made a strong start, with Rhys Priestland kicking the opening points of the match with a penalty inside six minutes. His opposite number George Ford levelled for Leicester with a penalty of his own, before Priestland restored Bath’s three-point advantage with 16 minutes on the clock. 6-3
After Beno Obano had made a try-saving tackle to stop Graham Kitchener, Bath were reduced to 14 men, with Kahn Fotuali'i shown the yellow card for illegally halting the Leicester attack on the line.
The pressure continued to mount, and after repeated scrums on the Bath five metre line, Shaun Knight joined Fotuali'i on the sidelines.
The extra man paid dividends, as Tigers scored the opening try of the match through Adam Thompstone on the 25 minute mark. The visitors spread the ball from centre field to the right wing, with Tait providing the crucial pass to send the winger over in the corner. Ford added the conversion to give Leicester a four-point lead. 6-10
Bath fought back into the game, as the 14 men scored their first try of the afternoon. Fotuali’i made good ground in the Leicester’s 22, before Tom Dunn powered his way over the line. After consultation with the TMO, Wayne Barnes awarded the try, with Priestland adding the extras. 13-10
Matt Banahan almost extended Bath’s advantage in the final moments of the first half. Jonathan Joseph opened up the Leicester defence with a superbly weighted kick into the corner, and despite a miraculous effort to ground the ball, the winger was agonisingly millimetres away from a second score for Bath.
Half Time – Bath Rugby 13–10 Leicester Tigers
Bath found themselves camped in their own 22 in the opening stages of the second half. Leicester made the territory count, as Sione Kalamafoni bullied his way over the line for the Tigers’ second try of the afternoon. 13-15
Priestland made it double-figures with the boot, as he converted another penalty kick in the Twickenham sun to edge the Blue, Black and White in front once again. 16-15
But this topsy-turvy contest once again swung Leicester’s way with another Kalamafoni try, who dodged past Taulupe Faletau before reaching successfully for the try line. 16-20
With 15 minutes to play, Leicester were reduced to 14 men, as Adam Thompstone was sent to the sin-bin for taking out James Wilson in the air. The resulting penalty was slotted by Priestland, to take Bath to within a point. 19-20
Despite the numerical advantage, Bath were unable to close the gap and it was Tigers instead who extended their lead. After 17 phases on the Bath line, Sam Harrison found a gap in the defence to score his side’s fourth of the game. Ford converted from close range to put Leicester seven points in front. 19-27
With the game going into the last few minutes, Telusa Veainu put the contest beyond doubt, as the fullback glided down the right wing to see the points head back to Leicester.
Full Time – Bath Rugby 19–34 Leicester Tigers
7 April 2018
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Half Time score: 13-10
- Tries: Dunn (32)
- Conversions: Priestland (33)
- Penalties: Priestland (5, 16, 57, 65)
- Tries: Thompstone (26), Kalamafoni (49, 62), Harrison (72), Veainu (77)
- Conversions: Ford (27, 73, 79)
- Penalties: Ford (13)
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