Bath vs Leicester match report: George Ford destroys paper Tigers

Bath 45 Leicester 0: Bath humiliate old foes to go top of the league

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The Independent Online

George Ford orchestrated a record, five-try tanking of the Leicester Tigers but Bath’s England fly-half hopeful would be the first to acknowledge a stunningly dominant display by the home forwards.

Bath won a stream of penalties in the scrum, and dominated the battle for possession on the floor, as they inflicted a record win over their old rivals, beating a 42-0 result from way back in 1973.

To add to Leicester’s embarrassment in their first loss of the season, while Bath are top of the Premiership with three wins out of three, it was also Tigers’ first scoreless match of any kind in 10 years since a European tie in Ulster.

They had French scrum-half David Mele sent off for stamping three minutes from full time, and with Manu Tuilagi missing from the midfield with a groin problem, and Dan Cole, Marcos Ayerza and Ed Slater among a handful of forwards out injured, the returning Tom Croft was unable to repel a fired-up Bath.

 

“We have quality individuals missing but it’s my responsibility, it’s my fault,” said Leicester coach Richard Cockerill, “We were outmuscled from the start. When you get beaten 45-0 you’re going to get the piss taken out of you, and their [Bath’s] supporters are taking the piss out of us.”

England assistant coaches Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt saw a number of candidates shine as the 22 October announcement of the autumn internationals’ squad draws nearer, all of them wearing blue, black and white.

Dave Attwood, Rob Webber and Davey Wilson ruled the tight five. And the livewire Kyle Eastmond, who knows a rival for his inside-centre position, the rugby league convert Sam Burgess, will be arriving at Bath next month, finished a brilliant length of the field move for Bath’s third try in the 47th minute, after Semesa Rokoduguni and Jonathan Joseph went over for a lead of 23-0 lead at half-time.

Ford dropped a goal and converted seven of his eight place kicks including the conversions of late tries by Olly Woodburn and Peter Stringer.

Leicester’s day just got worse when their England hooker Tom Youngs lasted just 11 minutes before being replaced with a shoulder a/c joint injury, and Cockerill said there was also a worry about the latest in a recent series of bangs on the head suffered by the England lock Geoff Parling. Bath play fellow title contenders Northampton and Saracens next, and head coach Mike Ford said: “We’re stepping up.”

Line-ups:

Bath: L Arscott; S Rokoduguni, J Joseph (O Devoto 54), K Eastmond, M Banahan (O Woodburn 34); G Ford, C Cook (P Stringer 60); P James (N Auterac 52), R Webber, D Wilson (H Thomas 52), S Hooper (capt, D Day 57), D Attwood (Hooper 60-73), C Fearns (A Fa’osiliva 23), G Mercer, L Houston.

Leicester: M Tait; N Morris, M Smith (S Harrison 49), O Williams, N Goneva; F Burns (J Pohe 71), B Youngs (capt, D Mele 60); L Mulipola (R Brugnara 49), L Ghiraldini (T Youngs 49-60), F Balmain (T Pasquali 63), G Kitchener, G Parling (S de Chaves 34-41, 55), T Croft, J Salvi, J Crane (R Barbieri 71).

Referee: W Barnes (London).

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