Bath Rugby claimed a losing bonus-point in a narrow 10-17 defeat against reigning European Champions Leinster at the Rec.
Bath came out all cylinders firing, but it was Leinster with the first opportunity of the game with a penalty 10 minutes in. However, Johnny Sexton’s effort hit the post and Bath were able to clear their lines. [0-0]
Following a frenetic start to the game, it was Bath who took the lead following excellent pressure on the Leinster scrum. It was Will Chudley, who used all his experience to make the tackle on Dan Leavy, as the number eight looked to break from the set piece inside his 22. The momentum forced the turnover, which was followed by a series of pick and goes, which took Bath within touching distance of the try line. It was Henry Thomas who provided the killer blow, as the prop forced his way over. James Wilson added the extras to give Bath the advantage on the scoreboard. [7-0]
The reigning champions hit back eight minutes later with a well-worked driving maul. After Sexton had put a penalty to touch, Leinster used the catch and drive to good effect from the line-out. Sean Cronin was the man to profit, as the Ireland hooker scored his side’s opening try of the afternoon. Sexton made no mistake with his second effort from the tee, as the fly-half drew his side level. [7-7]
Leinster looked to add to their tally in the closing stages of the first half, but Bath remained resolute in defence and ensured the scores remained even going into the interval.
Half-time – Bath Rugby 7-7 Leinster Rugby
Leinster took the lead for the first time, nine minutes into the second half. Chudley did well to win the ball from a back of a loose Leinster line-out on half-way and looked to spread the ball wide. However, a long pass from James Wilson was well read by Jordan Larmour, and the winger stepped into the line and ran in from the Bath 10 metre line. Sexton extended the visitors lead to seven with a successful conversion. [7-14]
The game continued to go from end to end, with both teams fighting for territory, but no scoring opportunities arose until the 72nd minute.
Bath continued to look for the crucial score as the tested the Leinster defence. Despite being tested in their own 22, Leinster forced the turnover with James Lowe kicking into space behind the Bath defence. The winger chased down his own kick and Bath were penalised for holding on at the breakdown. Sexton pointed to the posts and slotted three to put his side 10 points in front. [7-17]
Bath continued to fight right until the death, and a Wilson penalty in the red ensured that Bath ended the game with a losing bonus-point.
Full-time – Bath Rugby 10-17 Leinster Rugby