Fixtures - Top Bar

European round-up: Bath Rugby narrowly defeated despite Ford heroics

While Bath Rugby fell to a narrow 18-15 defeat to Leinster in a thrilling European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final, head coach Mike Ford insists his side want no sympathy after first-half indiscipline cost them a famous triumph.

Despite a superb solo try from England fly-half George Ford, the Aviva Premiership Rugby high-flyers trailed 15-5 at the interval as Leinster’s dominant scrum set up Ian Madigan to land five penalties.

Another scything break by Ford after the interval saw him offload for Stuart Hooper to touch down, with Ford converting, only for Madigan to boot his sixth penalty in a flawless display.

Ford’s penalty then set up a dramatic finish but the hosts held firm at the Aviva Stadium and Mike Ford admits his young side need to cut out the errors that left them with too much ground to make up.

“We weren’t good enough at the start, we conceded too many penalties and didn’t control the ball,” he said.

“It could have got away from us but in the second half we fixed one or two things and I thought we played a lot better ball in hand and picked them off a couple of times in attack.

“Everyone will give us a pat on the back because we played away from home and lost by three points but it’s not good enough from us.

“We’ve got to move on – it’s been a great experience for the boys as we’re still a young team but I’m so disappointed because we’re better than that and I don’t want the sympathy vote at all.”

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder turned his attentions to retaining the Aviva Premiership Rugby title after his side suffered a heavy 37-5 defeat in their quarter-final away to Clermont Auvergne.

The current Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders struggled to cope with the hosts’ attacking flair, trailing 27-0 at half time as Noa Nakaitaci scored a double and fellow France international Wesley Fofana also crossed.

Former Bath full-back Nick Abendanon added a fourth after the restart and although Alex Waller touched down inside the final 15 minutes, it proved to be mere consolation for the visitors at Stade Marcel Michelin.

“The first 40 minutes we just weren’t in any aspect of play, the breakdown, clearout, set-piece – they were just very good,” said Mallinder.

“We came up against a side who hit their peak, particularly in first half, but we didn’t help ourselves, we can be better than that.

“We know we can compete with the best teams but we have to play very well, and now we need to move on quickly.

“We have one focus now, to retain the Premiership trophy and we will do whatever we can to make sure that happens.”

Exeter Chiefs ran in six tries to emphatically see off Newcastle Falcons 48-13 in their European Challenge Cup quarter-final but Rob Baxter says it was Chiefs’ defensive resilience that bodes well for the future.

Dave Ewers’ score and a penalty try helped Exeter into a 17-6 half-time lead at Sandy Park before Thomas Waldrom, Byron McGuigan, Sam Hill and Dean Mumm dotted down after the break.

Chris Harris’ 68th-minute try was as good as it got for the Falcons and with a semi-final against Gloucester secured, Baxter believes competing on multiple fronts this season shows how far the Chiefs have come.

“Things are there for us to play for now which makes things very exciting,” explained the director of rugby.

“If you look at where we are now getting into the final of the LV=Cup, being around the top end of Aviva Premiership Rugby and now through to the semi-final of the European competition, shows that over the course of the season that we have been consistent in the right way.

“The tries were great and were fantastic for everyone to watch but for me what was most pleasing was the defensive performance and the way that we managed to control the game.”

EUROPEAN RUGBY CHAMPIONS CUP
 
Leinster 18 Bath Rugby 15
 
Leinster
Penalties: Madigan 6
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Ford, Hooper
Conversion: Ford
Penalty: Ford
 
Referee: Jerome Garces
Attendance: 43,958
 
Clermont Auvergne 37 Northampton Saints 5
 
Clermont Auvergne
Tries: Nakaitaci 2, Fofana, Abendanon
Conversions: James 4
Penalties: James 3
 
Northampton Saints
Try: Waller
 
Referee: John Lacey
Attendance: 17,730
 
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
 
Exeter Chiefs 48 Newcastle Falcons 13
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Ewers, penalty, Waldrom, McGuigan, Hill, Mumm
Conversions: Slade 4, Steenson 2
Penalties: Slade 2
 
Newcastle Falcons
Try: Harris
Conversion: Catterick
Penalties: Catterick 2
 
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Attendance: 10,022
 

Latest News

Owen Farrell wary of Glasgow Warriors threat

Revenge for the RBS 6 Nations may be on the minds of Glasgow Warriors’ players when they visit Saracens in…

Biyi Alo: Worcester Warriors cannot afford to take foot off the gas

Worcester Warriors prop Biyi Alo believes his side must continue to look up the table ahead of their Aviva Premiership…

Jacob Rowan, Billy Vunipola, Christian Wade and Jeremy Thrush star in OPTA Rugby Rankings

Saracens No.8 Billy Vunipola was back to his rampaging best in his club’s crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby victory over Bath…

Referee appointments for EPCR quarter-finals

It is not only Aviva Premiership Rugby’s playing stars that will be under the spotlight this weekend in the European…

Six exciting prospects join Harlequins Academy for 2017/18 season

Harlequins is today (Wednesday 29th March) proud to announce that six members of the Club's victorious U18s side will join…

Twickenham Stoop

Denny Solomona; “I’ve been here three years and it’s the choice I want to make”

Sale Sharks flying winger Denny Solomona is now eligible to play for England after receiving notification from the RFU. Speaking…

Denny Solomona

Saints community coaching helps Royal Latin reach Twickenham

This afternoon the first team from Buckingham’s Royal Latin School will be running out at Twickenham, thanks to the coaching…

Italy prop Michele Rizzo agrees new deal with Leicester Tigers

Italy international prop Michele Rizzo has agreed a new contract with Leicester Tigers. Rizzo has returned from injury to take…

Michele Rizzo

Former Scotland skipper Andy Nicol looks ahead to exciting Champions Cup clashes

As an ex-Glasgow Warrior Andy Nicol is delighted to see the Scotstoun outfit side reach the quarter-finals of the Champions…

RFU Disciplinary Hearing: Bryce Heem

The charge against Bryce Heem of Worcester Warriors for tackling the jumper in the air, contrary to law 10.4(i), was…

Bryce Heem

Saracens to thank Emergency Services at Derby Day

Saracens are offering complimentary tickets to any member of the London Emergency Services for the upcoming Derby Day clash against…

Wembley

Champions Cup semi-final venues announced

BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton, as well as three French stadiums – the Allianz…

Fly-half Josh Lewis signs for Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to welcome fly-half Josh Lewis, who will join the Club from Ebbw Vale for the 2017/18…

Josh Lewis

Don Armand targeting big final push with Exeter Chiefs

Don Armand insists Exeter Chiefs will make the most of time off to ensure they are in fine fettle for…

Don Armand

RFU Disciplinary: Bryce Heem

Bryce Heem of Worcester Warriors will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel this evening charged with tackling the jumper in…

Gloucester Rugby respond to rumours regarding Carl Fearns

Gloucester Rugby have today responded to a story in the French press alleging that Carl Fearns will not be joining…

Kingsholm