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Bath Rugby end 14-year hoodoo at Welford Road with victory against Leicester

Leicester Tigers 23 v Bath Rugby 27

Bath Rugby beat Leicester Tigers at Welford Road for the first time since 2003, with a nail-biting 23-27 victory in the first game of the Aviva Premiership season.

It was end to end rugby in the opening exchanges with Bath starting positively, but it took 20 minutes for the deadlock to be broken. It was the home time, who took the lead through the boot of George Ford, who notched his first points in a Leicester shirt after Bath were penalised for not binding at the scrum. 3-0

Four minutes later, Leicester extended their lead with a well-worked try masterminded by Ben Youngs. The England international broke down the narrow side finding Telusa Veainu, who in turn offloaded to Brendon O’Connor on the left wing. The flanker used quick hands to send Manu Tuilagi over the try line. 8-0

Bath were quick to respond with a try of their own, two minutes after Tuilagi’s effort. Matt Banahan caught the Tigers’ defence off-guard on the left wing sprinting from halfway before setting Max Clark free for his first try of the afternoon. 8-7

The tries kept flooding in and Bath went in front for the first time after 31 minutes, with Clark crossing the whitewash for his double. The forwards used the pick and go to good effect and their patience was rewarded when Chris Cook sent a flat pass to Clark, who dived under the posts. Priestland adding the extras. 8-14

As the interval approached, Bath went in for their third try and this time, it was an individual masterclass from Semesa Rokoduguni. The winger, who turned 30 last weekend, intercepted a pass from Ford in his own 22 and ran the length of the field managing to evade the efforts of the back-tracking Jonny May. It looked as if May might catch Rokoduguni in the closing stages, but the Bath flyer used all his experience with a crucial sidestep to bamboozle the England international. Priestland maintained his 100% record with the boot to send his side into half-time with a 13-point advantage.

Half-time score – Leicester Tigers 8-21 Bath Rugby

It was a tense opening to the second period, but Bath continued to add points to the scoreboard, with the ever-reliable Priestland adding another three points with 56 minutes on the clock. 8-24

Ford gave his new side hope with a penalty of his own, but Priestland hit back to maintain Bath’s 16-point lead going into the last 20 minutes of the game. 11-27

The table started turning in the last 10 minutes when Kahn Fotuali’i was sin-binned for a high tackle on Ford. Leicester had two clear opportunities to score with an overlap in the next two minutes, but were unable to take their chances. However, May ensured a tense final eight minutes with the winger crossing to reduce the deficit to 11 points. 16-27

Further drama ensued when Bath were reduced to 13 men with Matt Garvey given a yellow card for a high tackle on Ben Youngs with five minutes left on the clock. With the numerical advantage Leicester piled the pressure on the Bath defence, with Banahan producing an outstanding try-saving tackle on Veainu before Jonathan Joseph bravely stopped his opposite number Tuilagi.

However, Bath’s defensive resolve was broken when May went in for his second try in the corner, with Ford adding the touchline conversion. 23-27

Moments later, and with little more than 60 seconds left, Bath were reduced to 12 men with Banahan this time the man to see yellow. With the clock ticking into overtime, Leicester had one last chance from the line-out, just a few metres from the line. Step-in Luke Charteris, who used all of his 6ft 10 frame to steal the line-out and give his compatriot Priestland the opportunity to put the ball dead.

Final score – Leicester Tigers 23-27 Bath Rugby

Match details

Welford Road
Aviva Premiership
3 September 2017
KO 15:00

Referee: Luke Pearce
Half Time score: 8-21

Tigers:
Tries: Tuilagi (23), May (72, 77)
Conversions: Ford (78)
Penalties: Ford (20, 58)
Bath:
Tries: Clark (26, 31), Rokoduguni (34)
Conversions: Priestland (27, 31, 36)
Penalties: Priestland (55, 62)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Tigers and Bath.

21'

Penalty Goal! Tigers 3 - 0 Bath

George Ford kicks a penalty goal for Tigers.

24'

Try for Tigers! Tigers 8 - 0 Bath

Manu Tuilagi scores for Tigers.

27'

Try for Bath! Tigers 8 - 5 Bath

Max Clark scores for Bath.

28'

Conversion! Tigers 8 - 7 Bath

Rhys Priestland with a conversion for Bath.

32'

Try for Bath! Tigers 8 - 12 Bath

Max Clark scores for Bath.

32'

Conversion! Tigers 8 - 14 Bath

Rhys Priestland with a conversion for Bath.

35'

Try for Bath! Tigers 8 - 19 Bath

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

37'

Conversion! Tigers 8 - 21 Bath

Rhys Priestland with a conversion for Bath.

41'

HALF TIME

Match score: Tigers 8 - 21 Bath.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

50'

Substitution

Anthony Perenise replaces Kane Palma-Newport for Bath.

51'

Substitution

Dan Cole replaces Logovi'i Mulipola for Tigers.

51'

Substitution

Harry Thacker replaces Tom Youngs for Tigers.

54'

Substitution

Nick Auterac replaces Beno Obano for Bath.

54'

Substitution

Jack Walker replaces Tom Dunn for Bath.

56'

Penalty Goal! Tigers 8 - 24 Bath

Rhys Priestland kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

59'

Penalty Goal! Tigers 11 - 24 Bath

George Ford kicks a penalty goal for Tigers.

62'

Substitution

Paul Grant replaces Francois Louw for Bath.

63'

Penalty Goal! Tigers 11 - 27 Bath

Rhys Priestland kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

63'

Substitution

Mike Williams replaces Dominic Ryan for Tigers.

63'

Substitution

Greg Bateman replaces Ellis Genge for Tigers.

65'

Substitution

Kahn Fotuali'i replaces Chris Cook for Bath.

70'

Yellow Card!

Bath lose Kahn Fotuali'i for ten minutes.

73'

Try for Tigers! Tigers 16 - 27 Bath

Jonny May scores for Tigers.

74'

Substitution

Sam Harrison replaces Ben Youngs for Tigers.

74'

Substitution

Luke Hamilton replaces Brendon O'Connor for Tigers.

74'

Substitution

Ben Tapuai replaces Max Clark for Bath.

74'

Substitution

James Phillips replaces Elliott Stooke for Bath.

76'

Yellow Card!

Bath lose Matt Garvey for ten minutes.

78'

Try for Tigers! Tigers 21 - 27 Bath

Jonny May scores for Tigers.

79'

Conversion! Tigers 23 - 27 Bath

George Ford with a conversion for Tigers.

80'

Yellow Card!

Bath lose Matt Banahan for ten minutes.

81'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Bath.

Final score: Tigers 23 - 27 Bath.

Tigers Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Jonny May200010
George Ford01208
Manu Tuilagi10005
Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Rhys Priestland032012
Max Clark200010
Semesa Rokoduguni10005
Tigers v Bath
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PEllis
Genge
1Beno
Obano
P    
    HTom
Youngs
2Tom
Dunn
H    
    PLogovi'i
Mulipola
3Kane
Palma-Newport
P    
    LDom
Barrow
4Luke
Charteris
L    
    LGraham
Kitchener
5Elliott
Stooke
L    
    FLDominic
Ryan
6Matt
Garvey
FL    
    FLBrendon
O'Connor
7Francois
Louw
FL    
    8Sione
Kalamafoni
8Taulupe
Faletau
8    
    SHBen
Youngs
9Chris
Cook
SH    
2 1 FHGeorge
Ford
10Rhys
Priestland
FH 3 2
   2WJonny
May
11Matt
Banahan
W    
    CMatt
Toomua
12Max
Clark
C2   
   1CManu
Tuilagi
13Jonathan
Joseph
C    
    WNick
Malouf
14Sam
Underhill
W    
    FBTelusa
Veainu
15Anthony
Watson
FB    
Replacements
    RHHarry
Thacker
16Jack
Walker
RH    
    RPGreg
Bateman
17Nick
Auterac
RP    
    RPDan
Cole
18Anthony
Perenise
RP    
    RFLMike
Williams
19James
Phillips
RL    
    RFLLuke
Hamilton
20Paul
Grant
RFL    
    RSHSam
Harrison
21Kahn
Fotuali'i
RSH    
    RJoe
Ford
22Freddie
Burns
R    
    RMathew
Tait
23Ben
Tapuai
RC