Bath Rugby silenced Welford Road with a try bonus point victory over rivals Leicester Tigers. Final Score 12-26.
Following on from last week's win over Newcastle Falcons, Bath Rugby travelled to Welford Road to face Leicester Tigers in their last pool game of the LV= Cup. With the Tigers still licking their wounds from the previous week's loss to Exeter Chiefs, Bath were keen to rub salt into those wounds with an all important away win.
A strong start by Bath demonstrated the side's intention to take the game directly to Leicester from the moment the whistle blew. Bath were given an early advantage when the Tigers' hooker Rob Hawkins was sent to the bin for an affray off the ball.
With 20 minutes played the score sheet was still nil-nil. Both teams had shown promising phases of possession but it was Bath who struck first. A line out deep in the Tigers 22 set the base for Bath's attack and a well won line out by lock Danny Grewcock enabled Bath to drive forwards, followed by some tight pick and drives. Drawing the defence with the close play, the backs span the ball well, and with slick hands fullback Nick Scott crossed over for the try line for his first senior try. Fly Half Sam Vesty converted well. 0-7.
Bath were in action again quickly but a well composed defence forced an away knock on and counter chip and chase down field. Pacy Tigers winger Lucas Amorosino sprinted on to pick up the bounce of the ball and score in the corner. Fly half Jeremy Staunton missed from out wide. 5-7.
However, Bath were determined to cancel out the Tigers try, and again attacked the wide channels of the pitch. More slick hands from the backs made room for winger Tom Biggs to dart over for Bath's second try. Vesty struck the ball well but strong wind blew it just wide. 5-12
A powerful run from Dan Hipkiss, who will be joining Bath next season, set up the second Tigers try with a powerful run down the wing. Powering down the pitch with some excellent Leicester support, the home side's quick turnover enabled lock Ed Slater to crash over from close range. Staunton added the extras, tying the scores 12-12.
With just over two minutes left in the first half Scott returned a cleared kick and weaved towards the Leicester try line. Play broke down and the referee, fed up with further foul play by Hawkins, this time a shoulder barge, reached to his pocket and pulled out the red card making the Tigers a man short for the remainder of the game. The first half finished 12-12.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were in similar fashion to that of the first half. Both sides took turns in attacking but neither could properly break through each other's defence. Mark McMillan did however make an excellent break just to be tackled a couple of metres short of the try line. Regaining his footing his supporting players drove him over the try line but for the referee to feel the ball was held up so calling an attacking five metre scrum.
The power and might of the Bath scrum capitalised on the Tigers' one man disadvantage and heaved their way over the try line with number 8 Simon Taylor dotting down on the ball for his first Bath try. Vesty coolly converted. 12-19.
Bath were beginning to take hold of the game, with just over ten minutes left. Further dominance from the forwards drove towards the Tigers line once more. The referee's hand signalled a Bath advantage and with no advantage being gained, the yellow card was pulled out, sending Thomas Waldrom to the sin bin and taking Leicester to 13 men.
However, in typical Leicester fashion, the home side soaked up the pressure and managed to clear their lines, with Bath knocking on at the back of the scrum which provided Tigers with a defending scrum to clear from.
With only four minutes left on the clock Bath could sniff the bonus point. A well set lineout and near 20 metre drive awarded the forwards for their efforts and David Barnes with the try. Vesty added his own contribution to finish the game 12-26.
Overall, it was Bath who were the team on top and who were rewarded for keeping to their structures, whilst Leicester were punished for their ill disciplines. Bath's winning momentum once more was kept going with a try bonus point win against Leicester who had only lost twice at home all season.