A last-gasp converted try denied Leicester Tigers victory over Bath Rugby at The Recreation Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Leading by 10 points entering the final quarter, with a Matias Moroni try added to the kicking of George Ford, Tigers then conceded a score from Miles Reid to set up a big finale and Bath finally claimed the points as Ben Spencer’s touchline conversion of a try from Will Muir sealed their 21-20 win in Round 16 of the Gallagher Premiership season.
Ford had kicked Tigers into a 9-7 half-time lead despite Muir’s opening score of the afternoon and Moroni’s score followed, only for the final action to take the initiative away from the visitors in a battle between two of the league’s in-form teams.
Bath had beaten by only Exeter Chiefs and London Irish in the last previous nine games but Tigers just missed out on a first win at The Recreation Ground since March 2011.
In the April sunshine, Bath enjoyed more than a dozen phases of play from kick-off before a knock-on allowed Ford space to take play from one 22-metre line to the other.
A first penalty against Tigers, after six minutes, came at no cost as Bath spilled ball on the left touchline, then Ellis Genge showed his destructive carrying as he carried ball out from his own tryline.
But Bath kept ball in hand to win another penalty, with Kini Murimurivalu this time steeping in to win turnover ball at the breakdown after their set-piece.
Another turnover gave Ben Youngs space to exploit out wide and he carried into the Bath 22 where the defenders were penalised. Ford duly kicked the opening points with 13 minutes gone.
Jonathan Joseph left the field before Calum Green caught the kick-off and when Bath were penalised near their own 10-metre line, Ford kicked to double the lead.
Bath prop Will Stuart punched a hole in the defence near halfway and showed some pace to take play on before grubbing a kick forward which Ford had to field on his own tryline.
After Anthony Watson fumbled ball for a Tigers lineout, the England full-back responded with smart footwork to go through contact and ultimately led to the opening try, with wing Will Muir finding just enough room on the left touchline to dive in. Ben Spencer added the conversion for a 7-6 lead on 22 minutes.
Spencer got another opportunity with a penalty but pushed the kick wide.
While Bath had dominated possession in the opening half-hour, Ford took the opportunities to push them back into their own half with probing diagonal kicks from hand.
A carry from Genge, who kept moving through two tackles on halfway, set up Tigers for a break down the left where Watson had to stop Murimurivalu. But Tigers quickly recycled and threatened again until the whistle went and Ford’s penalty gave the visitors a 9-7 lead three minutes before half-time.
Tom and Ben Youngs followed Jasper Wiese to lead a charge down the middle of the field, but ball fell loose as the scrum-half looked for George Martin on his left.
A couple of penalties then went against Tigers and, with the clock beyond 40 minutes, Spencer decided against a very kickable shot at the posts to lift one to the left-hand side but Potter made a safe catch unpressured to preserve the two-point lead at half-time.
That lead was quickly extended after the restart, with a Ford kick causing the initial problem for Bath’s defenders, then Wiese moving through contact to provide vital space. Potter cut in off the left touchline and, with advantage signalled, Murimurivalu picked out Moroni to score on the right. Ford missed the conversion with Tigers 14-7 in front.
Murimurivalu was immediately in action at the other end, making a saving tackle as Bath entered the Tigers 22 and forcing a handling error to preserve that lead.
A Moroni tackle gave centre partner Kelly a chance to smother ball at the breakdown but Bath then broke out of defence as Taulupe Faletau intercepted and raced upfield. Kelly tracked him all the way, though, to make the tackle and then Wiese backed him up to take Zach Mercer down just 15 metres from the tryline.
Tigers returned upfield and Wiese’s instant reaction to the tackle zone brought a penalty which Ford landed to stretch the lead to 10 points approaching the 60-minute mark.
The next score was going to be important and it was Bath who manufactured the chance, keeping play close to the Tigers line for Miles Reid to push his way over. Spencer’s conversion made it 14-17 with a dozen minutes left to play.
Penalties started to mount against Tigers for the first time in the afternoon, but Matt Scott’s work over the ball in opposition territory finally gave Ford a chance and his kick made it 20-14 to the visitors.
A penalty for indiscipline after taking Bath into touch in front of the benches gave the hosts more territory and they went to the left-hand corner when the whistle went again with four minutes remaining.
The lineout brought another whistle and, after taking up to the whitewash in the forwards, Bath found Muir on the left touchline and he found his way to the tryline to cut the gap to a single point.
Spencer added the touchline conversion for a one-point lead and Bath were able to negotiate their way to the final whistle.
FULL-TIME | BATH 21-20 TIGERS
Bath steal it in the closing moments here at The Rec as a kick from Ben Spencer gives the home side the points. The boot of George Ford and a try from Matias Moroni put Tigers in charge, but it's a hard one to take for the Tigers boys.
SCRUM CHANCE FOR TIGERS
The ball comes back for the knock-on from the restart as Ben Spencer feeds the scrum, Mercer collects and it finds its way out at that's that.
SPENCER KICKS FOR LEAD
Ben Spencer makes the conversion as Bath take the lead at the death.
Will Muir has sneaked in the Tigers corner as they sneak the try in in the closing moments.
BATH DRIVING MAUL
The line-out hits the first receiver and Tigers penalised at the maul. We'll repeat as the penalty goes Bath way.
Ewels collects and will Stuart barges forwards. Mercer picks up and Reid looks to find the tryline. Spencer goes over the top and spays it out wide to Muir...
TEMPERS FLARE AS TIGERS PENALISED
Joe Heyes and Jasper Wiese penalised for a squaring with Zach Mercer. Penalty will go Tigers way, and the home side with a line-out in the Tigers half.
It's defended well, as Bath struggle to advance. Underhill moves forward, but we go back for the penalty advantage. Spencer finds touch and a last throw of the dice for Bath now.
George Ford on target again, as he punishes the mistake from Bath with his boot. Tigers with a six-point lead now.
Line-out is too far for Bath and Wiese can collect. Ball fired into Bath territory, and Tigers win the penalty as Matt Scott out-jackles at the breakdown.
BATH WITH MOMENTUM
Bath with momentum and win the turnover off the restart. It's a missed kick to touch from Spencer, as Steward returns fire, but Bath will get the chance to advance with the penalty, as Tigers don't roll away.
SPENCER ADDS EXTRAS
Ben Spencer adds the extras as Bath close the gap following the conversion.
Miles Reid goes over from yards out following the tap penalty on the Tigers five-metre line.
Bath creep over Tigers 22 and are up to the five-metre line. Penalty advantage as Tigers offside. Watson tries to drop it off for Alex Gray, but we'll go back for the earlier infringement.
It's a touch-tap drive and Bath close to Tigers tryline, and it's Miles Reid who makes the pressure count.
Luan de Bruin and Luke Wallace come on for Tigers in the pack.
TIGERS ON TOP ON HOUR MARK
Underhill comes forward for Bath and it's a Bath scrum from the forward movement from Murimurivalu.
Bath scrum, penalty goes Tigers way. Ford finds touch and Clare will have a chance to get a familiar maul drive. Wiese looks as if he'll drive, but Matt Scott receives it but a little too eager from the centre. Bath ball.
Matt Scott comes on for Dan Kelly at 12.
FORDY'S FOURTH PENALTY
George Ford gives Tigers a 10-point advantage as we near the hour mark, with a penalty kick right in front of the goal posts.
TIGERS STRONG AT THE BREAKDOWN
Momentum still with Tigers as they win the turnover in front of the goalposts with a chance for Ford to kick at goal and extend the lead.
ANOTHER TIGERS WIN AT THE SCRUM
The Tigers pack have the edge at the scrum and the penalty goes Tigers way. Kicked into touch and Charlie Clare feeds in from out wide.
Bath think they've turned over, but its still with Tigers and George Ford kicks a wonderful cross-field kick to ease the pressure.
BATH BREAK...TIGERS DEFEND
Tigers scrum and Wigglesworth feeds in, but it's an early movement and freekick awarded to Tigers. They'll scrum again.
Wigglesworth collects and Murimurivalu finds space out wide, it's intercepted by Taulupe Faletau and Zach Mercer is there, but its lost as Tigers react to pressure the mistake. Great defensive work!
Richard Wigglesworth comes on for Ben Youngs at scrum-half.
GENGE POWERS FORWARD
Ellis Genge collects the ball at the back of the maul and breaks running at the Bath line. Play goes across the pitch and the ball is kept alive by Moroni and Genge.
Joe Heyes and George Martin get involved. Wiese with a run, but its a penalty for Bath.
TIGERS SCRUM PROFITS
Tigers win the penalty in the scrum, as Ford kicks clear. Charlie Clare with his first line-out, it's too far and stolen by Bath, but Dan Kelly works hard at the breakdown.
Clare and Heyes come on for Tom Youngs and Dan Cole in the front row.
BATH BACK AT TIGERS
Bath restart at pace and the grasp of Kini Murimurivalu is enough to force the mistake as Tigers half proceedings.
MORONI TRY FOR TIGERS
Matias Moroni has plenty of space out wide to run in Tigers first try of the afternoon. Worked well across the pitch and through the half-backs as Tigers extend their lead.
The kick is missed by George Ford.
TIGERS ON TOP
Moroni picks up the loose ball from the high-kick from Ford. Tigers with momentum and the play moves across Potter up with possession but he's held up.
Ford then finds Murimurivalu who in turn finds Moroni with plenty of space out word. TRY FOR TIGERS.
Genge, Kelly and Moroni each have a run with the ball in hand, as Tigers keep possession. Ben Youngs box-kicks and Bath with the ball, Spencers turn to kick and Steward with the win.
Ford releases Kelly with Potter to chase. Watson gets across to quell the attack.
BACK FOR SECOND HALF
George Ford kicks things off for the second half here at The Rec.
HALF-TIME | BATH 7-9 TIGERS
Tigers with the lead through the boot of George Ford as his hattrick proves enough to edge the first half here at The Rec.
The scrum wheels and Mercer collects from the base. Tigers counter well, but not within the laws as Luke Pearce awards the penalty in Bath's favour.
They find touch and Walker throws in the line-out. The maul forms as Tigers hold things up, the maul collapses and Harry Potter reaches out to collect the cross-field kick.
WIESE BARRELLS FORWARD
Jasper Wiese sets off from the restart. Tom Youngs finds himself from the offload in space, and George Martin in support. Ball goes Bath way at the breakdown, and the home side also with the penalty.
FORD KICKS FROM THE TEE
It's a hattrack of penalties for George Ford as Tigers creep back into the lead following some strong pressure.
TIGERS BREAK THE LINE
Zach Mercer from the base is held up by skipper Tom Youngs, Wells tries to close down the box-kick. Steward catches and retains possession for Tigers.
Kini Murimurivalu is set free by George Ford, but Watson meets him head-on. Ball still with Tigers as Genge and Wells, and Wiese breaks free...but it's deemed a forward pass.
TIGERS GOING THROUGH THE PHASES
A chance for Tigers to go through the phases with Genge, Cole and Potter all carrying well. Ball back with Bath and Spencer puts pressure on Steward from the kick.
Ball back with Tigers and Ford just about finds touch, as Joe Cokanasiga unsure from the boot. Walker with the Bath line-out and the ball is unplayable in the aftermath, so we'll have a Bath scrum.
TIGERS PENALTY AT THE SCRUM
Tigers first scrum and ben Youngs gets things moving. Ford kicks for territory and Joe Cokanasiga collects. Watson kicks to touch and Tigers line-out.
Tom Youngs throws in, but Luke Pearce deems it not straight. We'll have the scrum. and Will Stuart penalised again as he locks horns with Genge.
SPENCER MISSES PENALTY KICK
Ben Spencer misses the kick to the posts and ball goes back to Tigers to clear.
SCRUM FROM THE RESTART
The packs meet for the first-time for the Bath penalty from the restart. We reset and they pack down once again.
Penalty goes Tigers way as Ford kicks the spiral bomb. Ball back in Bath hands. Steward hit after collecting the high ball, and Bath are rewarded at the breakdown as Tigers off their feet.
Bath take the maximum points as they lead for the first time in the game.
Will Muir gets the first try of the game in the Tigers left hand corner as Tigers defences are finally breached.
Ford and Watson go boot for boot, and the latter finds space to break the line. Bath come forward again into the Tigers 22.
Watson, Muir and Mercer all run the hard lines. Tigers hold strong, but are finally undone by Will Muir in the corner.
BATH BACK AT TIGERS
Tigers ball from the restart and Zach Mercer runs at the Tigers backline, it's nudged forward by Will Muir, but Tigers scupper the chance.
Bath still coming forward and Will Stuart breaks the Tigers line, he kicks forward and Ford has to clear. Watson almost grasps the ball, but fumbles into touch.
FORDY DOUBLES UP
Ford makes no mistake with a tough kick from the tee around the 40 metre mark. Tigers lead doubled.
TIGERS BALL IN HAND
Calum green catches from the restart and touch is found by a Ben Youngs box-kick.
Green involved again from the line-out. The maul drives forward and Youngs now gets the ball moving, Kelly finds Potter. and Steward releases Murimurivalu, but we go back for the penalty advantage from the line-out.
FORD KICKS PENALTY POINTS
George Ford on the scoreboard first this afternoon as he punishes Bath's early pressure. Tigers have the lead.
Bath with the line-out just shy of the Tigers 5 metre line. Spencer feeds Cokanasiga but Tigers keep their line well and can kick clear.
Ben Obano and Mercer held up, as Spencer finally kicks high.
Ben Youngs with the chance to make yards and George Martin is there to support, it's lost but we'll have the advantage.
BOTH SIDES FEELING OUT
Bath line-out on the Tigers 22, and the play spreads the pitch, but Anthony Watson's pass to Will Muir is fumbled.
Loose ball and Tigers clear, Bath still with possession and it's a high tackle on Redpath by Dan Kelly.
EXCHANGE OF KICKS
Jack Walker with the Bath line-out, home side possession and Freddie Steward collects the high ball. An exchange of kicks and we'll have the line-out on the half-way.
Mercer and Redpath combine from the phase play, and Bath seeing a lot of the ball in hand. Tigers patiently defending, but Ellis Genge is penalised for a late tackle.
TIGERS DEFEND IN EARLY MOMENTS
Wiese catches off the kick-off and Ben Youngs clears with the box-kick.
Watson collects, but Tigers gain the territory. Ewels brings in Underhill and Watson, before Redpath.
Bath creeping forward and Dan Cole holds up the attack. Bath into the Tigers 22, and Ben Youngs is able to release the backs from the turnover. Ford breaks the line and kicks for touch.
KICK-OFF AT THE REC | BATH V TIGERS
A 108-year old rivalry renewed as Josh Matavesi get things underway in the Gallagher Premiership fixture.
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LEICESTER TIGERS TEAM
[Club appearances in brackets]
15 Freddie Steward 
14 Harry Potter 
13 Matías Moroni 
12 Dan Kelly 
11 Kini Murimurivalu 
10 George Ford 
9 Ben Youngs 
1 Ellis Genge 
2 Tom Youngs (c) 
3 Dan Cole 
4 Harry Wells 
5 Calum Green 
6 George Martin 
7 Tommy Reffell 
8 Jasper Wiese 
16 Charlie Clare 
17 Luan de Bruin 
18 Joe Heyes 
19 Tomás Lavanini 
20 Luke Wallace 
21 Richard Wigglesworth 
22 Johnny McPhillips 
23 Matt Scott 
Bath Rugby: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Josh Matavesi, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McNally, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 6 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Zach Mercer
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Alex Gray
TEAMS PAY RESPECT
Two of the Gallagher Premiership’s form teams clash at The Recreation Ground on Sunday as Bath Rugby host Leicester Tigers.
Bath have lost just twice in their last nine games in all competitions while Tigers have won five of their last six.
The teams are separated by one place and one point in the table before kick-off with Tigers moving up to seven on 37 points after a home win over Newcastle Falcons in Round 15 before the two-week adventure in Europe.
Tigers kicked off 2021 with a victory over Bath at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, but had to come back from 14 points down to win 36-31 with tries from Freddie Steward, Cameron Henderson and Harry Wells plus 21 points from fly-half George Ford.
OLD RIVALRIES | BATH V TIGERS | 3.00PM KO
The final weekend’s Premiership action comes live from The Recreation Ground as Leicester Tigers face Bath in one of the games oldest rivalry.
We’ll be bringing you all the action as it happens here with Matchday Live on the official Leicester Tigers app.