To inflict Leicester Tigers’ heaviest-ever defeat in Aviva Premiership Rugby may be an impressive feat but Mike Ford insists his young Bath Rugby side will remain grounded.
England fly-half hopeful George Ford dictated the game with startling assurance, kicking 20 points as Bath Rugby scored five tries while keeping the visitors scoreless at the Rec.
With both sides coming into the game unbeaten, the hosts built an imposing 23-0 lead at the break through tries from Semesa Rokoduguni and Jonathan Joseph and the boot of Ford.
Kyle Eastmond, Olly Woodburn and Peter Stringer all crossed after the interval to secure Bath’s biggest victory over their opponents and move them to the top of the table.
And although head coach Ford admitted he was stunned by the margin of victory, he urged caution as his side prepare to take on reigning champions Northampton Saints next weekend.
"We were pretty good in all aspects, relentless really – to nil Leicester is absolutely fantastic,” he said.
"This time last year we were 21-3 up at half-time against Leicester and they came back so we seem to be better at learning from the past. That is what this young team needs.
"We know [Leicester] have got injuries but the way we played, the way we defended and attacked, was outstanding.
“The forwards set the platform, and the kids really enjoyed themselves behind the scrum.
"We've got Northampton away now, which is a sobering thought. We just want to get better and better as there is loads of potential in this team.”
Ford’s opposite number Richard Cockerill was left to rue the withdrawal of both first-choice centres Anthony Allen and Manu Tuilagi through injury shortly before kick-off.
A weakened Tigers side struggled to stand their ground against the Bath pack, allowing Ford to pull the strings and set up his back line.
And director of rugby Richard Cockerill admitted the scoreline accurately reflected his side’s performance as they found themselves outplayed in every department.
“Credit to Bath but it was pretty average from us, at best, and we got exactly what we deserved,” he said.
"It is my responsibility, my fault. I pick the team, I coach the team and the loss is down to me.
"They played very well and we couldn't cope with their physicality with the side we had available. We got beaten at every contact, every scrum, every line-out and every bit of skill.
"It hurts every time you play as poorly as that – we got our backsides smacked and that's how it is."
Bath Rugby: Arscott; Rokoduguni, Joseph (Devoto 53), Eastmond, Banahan (Woodburn 33); Ford, Cook (Stringer 59); James (Auterac 51), Webber, Wilson (Thomas 51), Hooper (Day 56), Attwood (Hooper 59), Fearns (Faosiliva 22), Mercer (Dunn 67), Houston
Replacements not used: none
Leicester Tigers: Tait; Morris, Smith (Harrison 49), Williams, Goneva; Burns (Pohe 67), B Youngs (Mele 59); Mulipola (Brugnara 49), Ghiraldini, Balmain (Pasquali 64), Kitchener, Parling (de Chaves 55), Croft, Salvi, Crane (Barbieri 64)
Replacements not used: none
Tries: Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Woodburn, Stringer
Conversions: Ford 4
Penalties: Ford 3
Drop Goals: Ford
Referee: Wayne Barnes