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Tigers suffer semi-final defeat at Bath

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Leicester Tigers' Aviva Premiership campaign ended with a 47-10 defeat to Bath Rugby in Saturday's semi-final at the Recreation Ground on Saturday evening.

Bath produced a brilliant defensive display and were clinical in attack to score seven tries and book their place in next week’s final against Saracens at Twickenham.
 
It was Leicester’s 11th successive Premiership semi-final, and they enjoyed long periods of possession in the game and had the edge for large parts in the set-piece. But despite Bath being reduced to 13 men during the first half,  they only had Tom Youngs’ first-half try, converted by Freddie Burns, and a penalty to show for their efforts
 
At that stage, Tigers were 21-10 down. And they were made to rue four missed penalties in the first-half and during the early part of the second period as Bath cut loose with three tries during the closing stages to book their place in a first Premiership Grand Final since 2004.
 
Marcos Ayerza returned to the front row alongside England internationals Youngs and Dan Cole. Ayerza was the only change to the side that beat Northampton in Round 22 with Logovi’i Mulipola ruled out.
 
Bath got off to a flyer with a try inside the first two minutes. Jonathan Joseph made the break through the midfield and with the Leicester defence stretched he had Matt Banahan on his outside to finish at the left corner. Ford landed the touchline conversion to give the hosts the perfect start.
 
Tigers responded well. Ben Youngs was at the heart of a move that almost sent Christian Loamanu crashing over on the right. Ford made the tackle but Bath went off their feet to concede the penalty.
 
Tigers went for the corner, and Kitchener was taken in the air as he claimed possession. This time Burns went for goal but was wide with the penalty.
 
Tigers won a penalty at the first scrum and Burns found touch on the Bath 22. Tigers put together a series of phases and looked to have the Bath defence under pressure but Crane was pinged for holding on.
 
However, scrum-half Peter Stringer was unable to clear and allowed Tigers to attack again. Loamanu picked up at a ruck and burst through but Tigers knocked on as they tried to press the advantage.
 
Bath were then ruled offside in midfield but Burns’ kick from 40m struck the right-hand post. Tigers were quick to follow up and scrag Joseph but were pinged as they tried to steal the ball.
 
Tigers were enjoying much of the territory and possession as the clock ticked into the second quarter and won another penalty when Paul James’ no-arms tackle on Goneva was pinged by referee JP Doyle. Burns landed the penalty to leave Tigers 7-3 behind.
 
But Tigers were unable to claim the restart and it allowed Bath a foothold in their 22. And they made it count with a second try. The hosts worked the opening on the left flank and Banahan steamed through the gap to score on the left.  Ford added the extras to put Bath 14-3 ahead.
 
Tigers were stunned and Bath extended their lead with a third try moments later. Semesa Rokoduguni slipped Goneva’s tackle on the right and chipped ahead, the ball bounced into Kyle Eastmond’s possession to score. Ford landed the conversion to give Bath a 21-3 lead after 32 minutes.
 
Tigers looked to hit back immediately with Loamanu’s run stopped just short of the line. Anthony Watson was whistled for going offside and was shown the yellow card by referee Doyle. Tigers went to the corner and had the Bath defence under huge pressure with the drive, which was pulled down and Leroy Houston saw yellow, leaving Bath with 13 men.
 
Tigers opted for the 5m scrum and Bath committed seven men to the set-piece but Leicester were pinged for an early engagement.
 
Tigers had the edge at the lineout, and another drive gave them a penalty advantage in the Bath 22. Tigers chose to play and Thompstone gave Niall Morris the chance to dive for the corner, but Rokoduguni came across and managed to knock the ball out of his grasp as he crossed the line.
 
The referee came back for the penalty and Tigers again went to the corner. This time they made the advantage count, driving Bath back to their line where Tom Youngs collected the pass from brother Ben to score. Burns landed the conversion with the last kick of the half to leave Tigers 21-10 down at the break.
 
Bath began the second period with 13 men.
 
Ford kicked out on the full at the kick-off and then won a penalty at the resulting scrum but Burns was wide with his kick from halfway.
 
Watson returned to the field, leaving Bath with 14 men on the pitch.
 
Tigers were forced into a change when Morris picked up an ugly-looking injury as he was tackled on halfway. The full-back was taken from the pitch on a stretcher and was replaced by Tommy Bell.
 
Play resumed with a Tigers put-in at the scrum, with Banahan packing down at No8. The Tigers pack again won a penalty and Tigers again went to the posts, this time Bell took on the kicking duties but he pulled his kick wide.
 
Houston came back on before play restarted to bring Bath up to 15 men.
 
The game became fragmented as handling errors led to a series of scrums in the middle third. Tigers introduced Jamie Gibson for Crane after 54 minutes, with Gibson packing down at No8.
 
The game burst into life again when Goneva’s run had Tigers back on the attack in the Bath half. However, good work by Ford prevented Tait from offloading out of the tackle with a hint of an overlap on the left.
 
Indeed, Bath were defending brilliantly. Although Tigers had much of the possession they were unable to fashion any opening.  And when Goneva did find a way into the Bath 22 he knocked-on under a heavy tackle.
 
And Bath made Tigers pay. Carl Fearns broke from the front of a maul, Francois Louw’s supporting run sucked in a couple of Leicester defenders and he offloaded for Stringer to finish. Ford was on target with the conversion to move Bath 28-10 ahead with 15 minutes remaining.
 
Tigers were beginning to tire in the sapping heat and Bath exploited the gaps with a fine try. Ford and Rokoduguni exchanged passes down the narrow side and Ford managed to hold off Thompstone’s covering tackle to score at the right.
 
Tigers pressed in search of a consolation try, the lineout drive bringing another penalty and a team warning after Dominic Day pulled it down.
 
But again they were unable to find the finish, and instead Bath counterattacked to produce a hat-trick try for wing Banahan. Watson’s twisting run sucked in replacements Bell and George Catchpole and he found the pass to send Banahan to the line.
 
And there was still time for Watson to score himself. The full-back broke through the Leicester line and managed to ride Catchpole’s tap-tackle, regain his feet and score under the posts. Ford’s converted with the final kick of the game.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BAT 21-10 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BAT 47-10 LEI

Attendance

13,349

Referee

JP Doyle

Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby
47

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
10

Match Stats

Bath Rugby
Leicester Tigers
Possession
35%
65%
Territory
29%
71%
Penalties Conceded
19
6
Yellow Cards
2
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
154/172 90%
62/78 79%
Scrums Won
2/4 50%
4/5 80%
Lineouts Won
8/8 0%
15/15 0%

Player Stats

Bath Rugby
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Niall Morris
14Adam Thompstone
13Mathew Tait
12Christian Loamanu
11Vereniki Goneva
101C1P
9Ben Youngs
1Marcos Ayerza
2Tom Youngs1T
3Dan Cole
4
5Graham Kitchener
6Ed Slater
7Julian Salvi
8
16Neil Briggs
17Michele Rizzo
18Fraser Balmain
19
20Jamie Gibson
21Sam Harrison
22Tommy Bell
23George Catchpole

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Niall Morris
15
Niall Morris
Christian Loamanu
12
Christian Loamanu
Vereniki Goneva
11
Vereniki Goneva
10
Marcos Ayerza
1
Marcos Ayerza
4
Ed Slater
6
Ed Slater
Julian Salvi
7
Julian Salvi
8

Subs

Neil Briggs
16
Neil Briggs
Fraser Balmain
18
Fraser Balmain
19
Jamie Gibson
20
Jamie Gibson
Tommy Bell
22
Tommy Bell

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Anthony Watson
14
Semesa Rokoduguni
13
Jonathan Joseph
12
Kyle Eastmond
11
Matt Banahan
10
George Ford
9
Peter Stringer
1
Paul James
2
Ross Batty
3
4
Stuart Hooper
5
Dave Attwood
6
Sam Burgess
7
8
Leroy Houston

Subs

16
17
Nick Auterac
18
Henry Thomas
19
Dominic Day
20
Matt Garvey
21
Carl Fearns
22
Chris Cook
23
Ollie Devoto
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
2
Bath Rugby
Bath RugbyBAT22160662541421172439275
3
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2215164534213237394268
Form Guide
Form
LLLDW
Last Match
Beat Northampton Saints 30-24
Past Meeting
Won 21-20
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
WLWLW
Last Match
Beat Wasps 38-31
Past Meeting
Lost 20-21

Matchday Live

Bath Rugby47
Bath Rugby
Leicester Tigers10
Leicester Tigers
Full Time