Bath battle past Leicester
MATCH REPORT: Bath Rugby overcame an early Leicester Tigers try to run out 23-16 winners in a hard-fought encounter at the Rec.
Tries from Jamie Roberts and Nathan Catt in the first half, and then Ruaridh McConnochie in the second, were enough for Todd Blackadder’s side to get the better of the Tigers and move up to fifth in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table.
Leicester had made the perfect start when George Ford’s little chip over the top found some space with Jonny May racing through to collect and dot down.
Bath responded well though, spending long periods in the Tigers 22, and only foiled by some desperate defence.
Twice they had tries disallowed, one when Harry Wells just stopped a forward drive, before Francois Louw was brought back for jumping over a tackle.
Freddie Burns got them on the board though, before Roberts charged over for a score to make it 10-7.
Catt then added a second after a brilliant kick-chase and turnover from the home side, although he was forced off shortly after through injury.
The second half started with Bath threatening regularly but it was Leicester who responded to cut the lead to five with a George Ford penalty.
However soon after Ruaridh McConnochie showed his finishing ability as he got away down the left, fended off Ellis Genge and got over for the third Bath try.
That was to be the last try, although two Ford penalties, to one from Rhys Priestland, ensured Leicester at least came away with a losing bonus point.
Tries: Roberts, Catt, McConnochie
Pens: Burns, Priestland
For Leicester Tigers:
Pens: Ford 3
Bath: 15 James Wilson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Wright, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Will Chudley (co-captain), 8 Francois Louw, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Matt Garvey (cc), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Max Green, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Cooper Vuna.
Leicester: 15 George Worth, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jake Kerr, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Will Evans, 21 Ben White, 22 Gareth Owen, 23 Jordan Olowofela.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce & Simon McConnell.
TMO: Stuart Terheege.
A huge win for @bathrugby! 👍
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) December 30, 2018