TOP BAR - Fixtures

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

Toby Flood starts for Newcastle Falcons against Rotherham Titans

Toby Flood makes the first start of his second spell at Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they host Rotherham Titans…

Joe Marler commits to Harlequins until 2021

Harlequins is thrilled to announce today, Friday 18th August, that England and British and Irish Lions prop, Joe Marler, has…

Joe Marler

European fixtures to be released on Tuesday

The fixtures for the 2017/18 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season will be announced on Tuesday, 22 August at 3.00pm…

Rokoduguni starts for Bath Rugby against Ospreys

Semesa Rokoduguni will make his first appearance of pre-season when Bath Rugby take on Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on…

Harlequins team to play Jersey Reds

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Jersey Reds in the final match of the 2017/18 pre-season campaign, at The…

Francis Saili

Stringer starts for Worcester Warriors at Birmingham Moseley

Summer signing Peter Stringer will get his first start for Warriors on Friday night as his side take on Birmingham…

London Irish name side for Ealing Trailfinders clash

London Irish have named a 30-man squad for this Friday’s pre-season clash with Ealing Trailfinders at Hazelwood (kick-off 7.30pm). The…

Gloucester Rugby announce line-ups for preseason friendly at Leinster

Gloucester Rugby will give game time to a number of their first team squad in Leinster on Friday evening as…

American rugby players and coaches to get once in a lifetime opportunity

Thirty American rugby players and coaches are being handed the chance of a lifetime to train in England with Premiership…

Stephen Myler: Northampton Saints ready to fight for the title

Stephen Myler is predicting the closest ever Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign and believes his Northampton Saints side will be right…

Sonatane Takulua expecting big things from Newcastle Falcons this season

Sonatane Takulua believes unity and a collective purpose, combined with an improved playing pool, can help propel Newcastle Falcons up…

Sonatane Takulua

Wasps name team for first pre-season fixture against Ulster

Dai Young has named a 26-man squad to take on Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in the first pre-season fixture…

Anglo-Welsh Cup 2017-18 launched

WORCESTER WARRIORS have the honour of hosting the opening match in this year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday 3 November, when…

Leicester Tigers win the Anglo Welsh Cup

Ally Hogg pleased by Newcastle Falcons’ early progress

Ally Hogg believes Newcastle Falcons are well set to attack the new Aviva Premiership season after a double dose of…

Ally Hogg

Topsy Ojo relishing Exiles return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action at HQ

Topsy Ojo believes there could be no more fitting way for London Irish to announce their return as an Aviva…

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua sees Philadelphia trip as a ‘great opportunity’

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua insists his side’s September clash with Saracens in Philadelphia will be no holiday for the players,…

Sonatane Takulua

Harlequins statement: Luke Wallace and Jonas Mikalcius

Harlequins can confirm today (Tuesday 15th August) that flanker Luke Wallace dislocated his hip during the pre-season friendly against London…

Luke Wallace

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

London Irish will host Bath Rugby at the Madejski Stadium in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday…

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

HITZ graduate secures first full time job after being inspired by Premiership Rugby final

A teenager from Leigh who overcame a troubled home life and tackled confidence and communication issues thanks to Premiership Rugby…

Lucy Neal