Bath Rugby secured a dramatic 27-21 Aviva Premiership victory over top four rivals Leicester Tigers, in front of a crowd of 61,868 at The Clash at Twickenham Stadium.
It was Tigers who started brightly with the first try of the afternoon coming after just three minutes. Having taken advantage of an up and under from fly-half Freddie Burns, fullback Telusa Veainu used quick ball at the breakdown to release Brendon O’Connor, who evaded two tackles to cross the whitewash. 0-7
Veainu was at the centre of Leicester’s next scoring move, as he used his quick thinking to extend his sides lead. The Tongan international sent a deft chip over the top of the Bath defence and had the pace to chase and score in the corner with just 12 minutes gone on the clock. 0-12
Leicester were in no mood to surrender their advantage, but Bath fought their way back into the game, with George Ford at the heart of brilliant team try. Great work from Tom Ellis, Ford and Taulupe Faletau gave the home side the platform to build a dangerous attack. The ball was swept from right to left, with Ford sending a crucial looping pass to Jonathan Joseph and his international colleague did the rest. 7-12
Ford and Burns exchanged penalties in the last 15 minutes of the half to send the teams into the interval closely poised at 10-15.
Half-time – Bath Rugby 10-15 Leicester Tigers
Leicester started the second-half brightly with Burns calmly slotting a long range effort from the halfway line, but his opposite number Ford kept his side in contention with another three points of his own. 13-18
The game burst into life with 15 minutes left to go to the delight thousands of Blue, Black and White supporters, who were full of voice at the home of English Rugby. A delayed pass from Joseph freed up room for Faletau, who stormed through the Tigers’ defence and offloaded to the on-rushing Anthony Watson to score. 20-21
Leicester were put further on the back foot when winger JP Pietersen was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on. Bath took full advantage of being a man to the good, as they went in front for the first time in the game courtesy of a piece of magic from Matt Banahan. Deep in the opposition half, Banahan used his trickery to dummy a pass inside and release Watson on the touchline. The fullback ensured it would be a day to remember for the home supporters, crossing the whitewas for the decisive score. 27-21
Bath held out the remaining minutes to ensure that the points would head back to the West Country and crown a fantastic day out with a victory at the home of English Rugby.
Final score – Bath Rugby 27-21 Leicester Tigers
8 April 2017
Referee: JP Doyle
Half Time score: 10-15
- Tries: Joseph (20), Watson (67, 70)
- Conversions: Ford (22, 68, 71)
- Penalties: Ford (27, 50)
- Tries: O'Connor (4), Veainu (11)
- Conversions: Burns (5)
- Penalties: Burns (30, 42, 65)