Leicester power past Bath in impressive victory

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Staff Writer

Joined: Nov 2016

Four first-half tries helped Leicester to a 13-point win over traditional rivals Bath in the New Year’s Eve clash at Welford Road.

The under-strength visitors had a dream start when Louis Schreuder intercepted a Handre Pollard pass and ran over half the field to put them in front.

From this point onwards, Bath and Pollard’s fortunes went in opposite directions, as the Leicester number 10 was perfect from five conversions and the away team didn’t score another try until the 74th minute.

The chief source of Bath’s woes was giving away penalties and then not being able to thwart the Tigers’ drives from line-outs and quick rucks.

Matt Rogerson and James Cronin both dove over from close range, and in between Mike Brown gleefully ran untouched a few metres down the wing for the second.

Gerrit van Velze being given a yellow card was a precursor to Cronin’s try, and shortly afterwards George Martin also powered over the line taking three defenders with him.

A penalty on the stroke of half-time shortened the lead and allowed Bath to plot a comeback in the second half.

However, after a couple of questionable calls, the Tigers were awarded a penalty try four minutes in with Jaco Coetzee also being given a yellow card, effectively ending the contest.

Second-gamer Louie Hennessey scored a consolation try after a good run and offload from Max Ojomoh and Ewan Richards dove over after the 80 minute mark to put a kind reflection on the scoreline for Bath.

Talking Point – Were Bath right to play a second-string XV

Only Ojomoh, Gallagher and GJ van Velze started from the side who beat Harlequins by eight points two days before Christmas.

With Gloucester to play next Sunday and games in the European Champions Cup against Racing 92 and Toulouse in the coming weeks it was decided this game was a match which was not a priority.

Given the occasion, the sell-out crowd, the history of the fixture and the national attention this seems a shame.

Realistically if they win the two games in the continental tournament few will complain about this but Austin Healey was not sure it was the best option.

“The Bath coaches decided to play a second string side here very much a long time ago, will it help them, maybe in terms of keeping players fresh,” Healey said on TNT Sports.

“But wouldn’t it have been good for their first choice team to come here and put down a marker winning at Welford Road when they get to those high pressure games because currently we don’t know how good this first choice bath team are. Are they championship contenders yes, but have they played any really tough knockout-type games. No.

“This would have been the closest they could have got to it.”

Player of the Match – Jasper Wiese (Leicester)

The Leicester number eight delighted the home crowd forcing Bath back with ball in hand. In all he gained 81 metres on 14 carries beating four defenders and with seven gainline successes. Bath’s penalties, Pollard’s accurate kicking and the locks winning line-out ball were also key to victory, but the Wiese’s powerful runs ensured Bath were always on the back foot.

Player Ratings

Leicester: Steward 6, Simmons 7, Kelly 6, Kata 8, Brown 7, Pollard 8, Whiteley 7; Cronin 7, Montoya 8, Heys 7, Martin 8, Chessum 8, Rogerson 7, Reffell 7, Wiese 8*.

Subs: Theobald-Thomas 7, van Wyk 6, Hurd 6, Wells 6, Hatherell 6, Cracknell 6, Powell 6, Shillcock 6.

Bath: Harris 6, De Glanville 6, Ojomoh 7, Butt 6, Gallagher 6, Bailey 6, Schreuder 6; Schoeman 7, Faiva 6, Stuart 6, Roux 7, McNally 7, van Velze 6, Coetzee 5, Cloete 6.

Subs: Stewart 6, du Toit 6, Jonker 6, Richards 7, Green 6, Carr-Smith 6, Hennessey 7, Owen 6.

Match Highlights

4′ TRY FOR BATH (SCHREUDER)! Schreuder intercepts Pollard’s pass and runs 60 metres to the Leicester goalline before diving over.

14′ TRY FOR LEICESTER (ROGERSON)! The Tigers drove from the line-up to the cusp of the line and then Rogerson dove over the line.

24′ TRY FOR LEICESTER (BROWN)! Makeshift winger Mike Brown races down the wing ten metres after being fed by Whiteley after a quick ruck.

32′ TRY FOR LEICESTER (CRONIN)! The prop picked up the ball a yard from the Bath line and dove over after Kata’s run took them close.

35′ TRY FOR LEICESTER (MARTIN)! This is becoming a rout. Leicester taking advantage of the extra man. Another penalty gave the Tigers a chance to drive from a lineout and a quick ruck found Martin who took three defenders over the line with him.

44′ PENALTY TRY FOR LEICESTER! An awful restart from Bath. Again Leicester won the lineout and drove towards the line. Bath are penalised for bringing down a maul illegally.

74′ TRY FOR BATH (OJOMOH)! At last they score and this time Ojomoh works things perfectly driving through the line and then feeding Hennessey who scores under the posts in his second game.

80′ TRY FOR BATH (RICHARDS)! After a penalty left them metres from the line, Ewan Richards dived over prompting a fairly needless melee.#

Key Stat

8 – Leicester’s lead in the stories rivalry extends to eight wins – 32 to 24.


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