TOP BAR - Fixtures

Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 27 Leicester Tigers 21

Bath Rugby never lost their belief according to director of rugby Todd Blackadder as they fought back to see off Leicester Tigers in The Clash.

Two late tries from Anthony Watson in the space of three minutes turned the game on its head, with Bath eventually running out 27-21 winners.

They now sit level on points with the Tigers in fourth, trailing only on points difference, and are very much still in the hunt with three games of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season to go.

And Blackadder was quick to praise not only Watson but George Ford and Taulupe Faletau who played a crucial role in the win.

He said: “We wanted to back up all the work off the field for this game with a really good performance, and we knew if we kept playing some really good rugby then we would give ourselves a good chance.

“I knew we would fire. Our preparation this week was one of the best we’ve had, and being on the back foot we couldn’t go into our shells, and there was real belief in the second half.

“Everyone played their part.

“George Ford was outstanding and really controlled the game, and I am just so pleased that our players passed the character test in that we hadn’t come back from behind before in similar situations.

“Anthony has got some gas, hasn’t he? He has got some absolute feet on him. He was outstanding.

“And I think Toby (Faletau) is back to his best.

“You need big-game players to really step up, and not only did he execute his role really well, he made a vital break (to set up a try) when it really counted. That’s what a real class player looks like.

“I thought he was back to his best by a mile.

“We just wanted to play our part in the day. Can we get 60,000 every week? It was a really special day for the club, and we have well and truly put things back on track for next week (against Worcester).

“To play here was too good an opportunity to turn down – it was a memory for all the staff, supporters and players.”

Leicester had started the game well with tries from Brendon O’Connor and a stunner from Telusa Veainu, and they led 21-13 going into the last quarter of an hour despite Jonathan Joseph’s try.

But that’s when Watson struck, and Leicester assistant coach Geordan Murphy admitted there was some frustration at the way the Tigers fell away.

He said: “We are really disappointed. The first 25 minutes, we played the way we wanted to, then I think we just switched off a little bit.

“We are disappointed with our lack of execution. I think we were in Bath’s 22 seven times, and we only executed twice (in terms of points) and that kills you.

“In the last 15 or 20 minutes, I thought we just forced things and made uncharacteristic mistakes. It is a lesson for us to learn.

“It is going to be a bit of a shoot-out to see who can probably pick up bonus points and hopefully get three wins from their remaining games.

“If we can go out and get our wins, then hopefully we will nick a top four spot. I don’t ever remember it being this tight, but it is. We have still got control of the situation.”

Bath Rugby: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Tapuai, Ford, Brew; Ford, Fotuali’i (Cook 73); Catt (Obano 66), Batty, Palma-Newport (Knight 56), Ewels, Stooke, Ellis (Denton 61), Louw, Faletau.

Replacements not used: Brooker, Z Mercer, Priestland, Homer

Leicester Tigers: Veainu; Thompstone, Tait (Roberts 48), Memoz, Pietersen; Burns (O Williams 67), B Youngs (White 73); Genge (Rizzo 73), T Youngs (McGuigan 41), Cole (Balmain 73), Barrow, Kitchener, Fitzgerald (M Williams 63), O’Connor, Hamilton (Thacker 71)

Scorers

Bath Rugby
Tries: Joseph, Watson 2
Cons: Ford 3
Pens: Ford 2

Leicester Tigers
Tries: O’Connor, Veainu
Cons: Burns
Pens: Burns 3

Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 61,868

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

Latest News

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

Nick Kennedy delighted with first pre-season hit-out for London Irish

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy is looking forward to seeing his side build on Saturday’s thrilling contest against…

Nick Kennedy

Philadelphia bound Nick Civetta can’t wait for American Series challenge with Newcastle Falcons

NICK CIVETTA HAS had an unlikely path to the top level but as he prepares to embark on his second season…

Nick Civetta

Demetri Catrakilis relishing chance to reunite with old friend Tim Swiel

Harlequins fly-half Demetri Catrakilis has revealed he is ready to join forces with  compatriot and old acquaintance Tim Swiel – insisting…

Worcester Warriors to use number of players in Hartpury test

Warriors will look to use up to 37 players during their fixture against Hartpury College this Saturday in their first…

GJ van Velze

Emergency Services workers invited to London Double Header

Saracens are offering up to eight free tickets to any member of the London Emergency Services for the upcoming London…

London Double Header

Newcastle Falcons teams for double-header v Doncaster and Nottingham

Three-time French title winner Maxime Mermoz is among the Newcastle Falcons players making their debuts in Saturday’s home double header…

Nili Latu