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Tigers take bonus point from 'Clash' defeat

Figure image
Leicester Tigers had to settle for a bonus point from a draining encounter at Twickenham as Bath Rugby came from behind to win The Clash 27-21.

Tigers led from the fifth-minute of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership game at HQ when Brendon O’Connor crossed for his sixth try of the season.

It got Tigers off to a flying side before Telusa Veainu’s individual score gave them an early 12-0 lead. But Bath, who had taken their 'home' fixture to Twickenham, hit back through Jonathan Joseph’s try while Freddie Burns and George Ford exchanged penalties as Tigers led 15-10 at the break.
 
Burns and Ford continued to trade penalties, as Tiger held a 21-13 lead going into the closing stages. But two tries from Bath’s England international full-back turned the game on its head and gave Bath victory.
 
The result left Tigers and Bath level on 52 points in the table, but Tigers remained in fourth spot thanks to a superior points advantage.
 
Ben Youngs made his 200th first-team appearance for Tigers, and was joined at half-back by Freddie Burns, who made his 50th Premiership appearance for the club.

The starting line-up was unchanged from the club's last Premiership outing, the derby victory over Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens a fortnight ago, as Tigers ran out for the first time since the arrival of new head coach Matt O'Connor.

There were two changes among the replacements where forwards Fraser Balmain and Harry Thacker were included.
 
The game kicked off in brilliant spring sunshine at the home of English rugby.
 
And Tigers got off to a flying start with a try inside five minutes. Burns’s flat pass created space on the left for JP Pietersen to exploit before Veainu sensed the opportunity to attack the blindside where O’Connor was on hand to step inside Matt Banahan to score. Burns landed the conversion to give Tigers a 7-0 lead.
 
Bath looked dangerous with ball in hand and Ford almost broke through a gap on halfway before JP Pietersen knocked on as he tried to intercept Jonathan Joseph’s pass.
 
Brilliant work by O’Connor stripped Joseph of possession on halfway. Veainu was again the quickest to react, he spotted that no-one was home for Bath and chipped through. The full-back beat Banahan in the race to the ball and dotted down at the left corner. Unconverted, it gave Tigers a 12-0 lead after 13 minutes.
 
Bath responded with their first try from their first sustained period of possession. They used the full width of the pitch to drag the Tigers defence out of shape and eventually Ford’s long pass found Joseph in space to score on the left. Ford landed the touchline conversion to cut Leicester’s lead to 12-7.
 
The momentum had swung Bath’s way at this stage, with Ford at the centre of things for them. And he cut Leicester’s lead by another three points when he landed a penalty from in front of the posts 13 minutes before the break.
 
Dan Cole’s half break took Tigers back into Bath territory and his offload looked to have set Maxime Mermoz into the Bath 22. However, play was pulled back for a forward pass.

Instead, Cole was at the fore as Tigers won a penalty at the resulting scrum. Burns drilled over his kick from 40m to move Leicester 15-10 ahead.
 
The momentum swung back towards Tigers as a lovely move off a lineout on halfway opened up the Bath defence for Thompstone to charge through. Ben Youngs sniped to make extra yards before Barrow’s charge was held up over the line by Watson.
 
On such tiny margins games can swing. Instead, with time up for half-time, Bath had the chance to add to their tally when Tigers were pinged at a ruck 40m out on the left. But Ford was wide with his kick as Tigers led 15-10 at the break.
 
Tom Youngs was replaced by George McGuigan after taking a knock at the end of the first period.
 
A scrum penalty right at the start of the second half gave Burns a shot at goal from halfway, which he landed to move past 200 points for the season.
 
An untidy passage saw Tigers overturn possession on the edge of the Bath 22 only for Barrow to spill possession as he tried to make ground before the defence could realign.
 
Tait took a knock and was replaced at centre by Jack Roberts.
 
Roberts’s first job was to help the team defend at a scrum 15m out and as he shot out of the line to tackle Charlie Ewels the lock took his eye off the ball and spilled possession.
 
However, Bath won a penalty at the resulting scrum and Ford landed his kick to cut Leicester’s lead to 18-13 with 30 minutes remaining.
 
Again the tide was swinging in Bath’s direction, and their cause was helped by an offside in midfield that allowed ford to kick for territory in the Leicester 22. But O’Connor was again at the front of the defensive effort, winning the penalty on the floor from Kane Palma-Newport.
 
Another penalty, this time at the scrum gave Tigers lineout ball in the Bath 22. The initial drive was well defended before Burns’s chip to the corner evaded Thompstone, though Bath had cover.
 
Tigers remained camped in the Bath 22 and stayed patient through some 15 phases. Eventually Roberts injected pace into the attack but Veainu spilled his offload and Kahn Fotuali’i found touch.
 
It was all Tigers with 15 minutes remaining as the temperatures inside Twickenham soared and the bodies tired. Pietersen, Veainu and O’Connor combined to make yards down the left flank and when the back-rower went to ground Bath were pinged for not rolling. Burns landed a pressure kick to move Tigers 21-13 in front.
 
It was Burns’s last involvement and he was replaced by Owen Williams.
 
The Bath response was instant. Toby Faletau broke a couple of tackles midway inside the Leicester half and he had Watson in support for a simple finish. There was still 12 minutes remaining when Ford added the conversion to leave Leicester 21-20 ahead.
 
Tigers went down to 14 men for the final 10 minutes after Pietersen was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on 10m inside the Bath half.
 
Bath made the extra man count immediately with a well-worked try. Banahan cut in from the left and popped a pass outside to Watson who was looping round for a free run behind the posts. Ford’s conversion gave Bath a 27-21 lead with eight minutes left.
 
Bath also ended the game with 14 men. Referee JP Doyle finally lost patience after a series of penalties at scrum time and yellow-carded their replacement prop Beno Obano.
 
Tigers had an attacking opportunity from the lineout on the Bath 22, but Harry Thacker, on as a replacement was isolated and conceded the holding-on penalty.

Instead, Bath were able to run down the clock to secure their win.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BAT 10-15 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BAT 27-21 LEI

Attendance

61,868

Referee

JP Doyle

Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby
27

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
21

Match Stats

Bath Rugby
Leicester Tigers
Possession
54%
46%
Territory
50%
50%
Penalties Conceded
9
9
Yellow Cards
1
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
113/129 88%
126/151 83%
Scrums Won
5/9 44%
3/5 40%
Lineouts Won
12/12 100%
6/6 100%

Player Stats

Bath Rugby
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Telusa Veainu1T
14Adam Thompstone
13Mathew Tait
12Maxime Mermoz
11JP Pietersen
101C3P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Dom Barrow
5Graham Kitchener
6Michael Fitzgerald
7Brendon O'Connor1T
8
16George McGuigan
17Michele Rizzo
18Fraser Balmain
19Mike Williams
20Harry Thacker
21Ben White
22Owen Williams
23Jack Roberts

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Anthony Watson
14
Semesa Rokoduguni
13
Jonathan Joseph
12
Ben Tapuai
11
Matt Banahan
10
George Ford
9
1
2
Ross Batty
3
Kane Palma-Newport
4
Charlie Ewels
5
Elliott Stooke
6
Tom Ellis
7
8
Taulupe Faletau

Subs

16
Chris Brooker
17
Beno Obano
18
Shaun Knight
19
David Denton
20
Zach Mercer
21
Chris Cook
22
Rhys Priestland
23

Preview: Bath versus Tigers at Twickenham

Figure image
Leicester Tigers make a first trip to Twickenham Stadium since May 2013 for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Bath Rugby.

Fourth-placed Tigers meet fifth-placed Bath Rugby in ‘The Crunch’, a fixture moved to the national stadium by hosts Bath.
 
Just three points separate the two teams in the table as the season reaches Round 19.
 
This is an 11th Premiership fixture at Twickenham for Tigers, winning in four our of nine Finals and sharing the points in a 26-26 draw against Harlequins in ‘the Big Game’ during 2008. They have also met Bath on four occasions at the stadium, in the Cup Finals of 1989, 1994 and 1996 as well as the Zurich Championship in 2001.
 
Overall the clubs have met on 191 previous occasions with Tigers winning 113 to 65 by their rivals and 13 games drawn.
 
The opening meeting of this season was at Welford Road in Round 4 when Tigers inflicted a first defeat of the season on Bath with scores from forwards Brendon O’Connor, Ed Slater and Tom Youngs. Click here for all the details from that match.
 
Saturday’s game is the first time Bath have moved a home game away from the Recreation Ground in the Premiership and their fifth Premiership visit there after Final defeats by Wasps in 2004 and Saracens in 2015 plus successive wins over Wasps in the St George’s Day matches in 2010 and 2011.
 
Tigers half-backs Ben Youngs and Freddie Burns both hit landmarks on Saturday with scrum-half Youngs in line for his 200th appearance for the club and Burns playing in a Premiership fixture for the 50th time for the club.
 
Charlie Ewels makes a 50th appearance for Bath, with co-captain Francois Louw returning from injury to take his place at openside flanker. George Ford, who joins Leicester next season, returns at fly-half. Semesa Rokoduguni, who celebrated his 50th try for the club in the Round 18 fixture against Saracens, starts in the number 14 shirt.

Tigers will run out for a first time since the arrival of new head coach Matt O’Connor this week.
 
Previewing the game, assistant coach Geordan Murphy said: “Bath are a really good side, they have a lot of ‘X factor’ about them and if you give them a chance they have ability to put it away. It is going to be a tough game but it should be free-flowing in good weather at a great stadium.”
 
Referee for Saturday is JP Doyle in charge of a Premiership fixture for the 129th time.
 
Tigers will be in the club’s home kit at Twickenham with opponents Bath wearing a one-off charity shirt.
 
Kick-off is at 2.00pm and match tickets are still available. There is live coverage on BT Sport or keep in touch via the Tigers club website and official social media pages.

 
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
4
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
5
Bath Rugby
Bath RugbyBAT22120104864404652495659
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 Rugby27
Bath Rugby
Leicester Tigers21
Leicester Tigers
Full Time