Battered Bath may lose Abendanon for brawl
Bath 6 Leicester 37
Monday 28 March 2011
As a hangover cure for Leicester's England half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs after their dire defeat in Ireland a week earlier, this was sweeter than any hair of the dog. It was not just Bath's heaviest home defeat in any of the main league and cup competitions – it smashed the record.
Bath began well but could not cope with the visitors' muscle and the 31-point margin exceeded the former English and European champions' previous worst at home: 18 in the 28-10 Heineken Cup loss to Ulster last year, and 18 too in the league to Leicester (27-9) and Northampton (29-11), both in March 2002.
Youngs made two coruscating runs to set up tries for Flood and Tom Croft, who each scored two of the Premiership leaders' five tries. "When we play like this," said Youngs, "with the power that we have with the big Samoans, and Floody directing us and the forwards we have, it can be quite daunting, how powerful we can be."
Nick Abendanon would say "aye" or possibly "ouch" to that. Battered about by the Tuilagi brothers, the Bath full-back bravely kept launching attacks but was out of position for a couple of Leicester scores. Abendanon may also face disciplinary action: he apologised to the referee for running back on to the field to join in a mass brawl a few seconds after he had been substituted.
Leicester's Kiwi No 8 Thomas Waldrom may be available to England now rather than him waiting until 2013 for residency. Waldrom says his 80-year-old maternal grandmother Margaret was born in England, which would qualify him if his "Test" appearances for the New Zealand Maori do not count. The next step is for a Justice of the Peace in Wellington to witness the original birth certificates of Waldrom, his mum and his "Nana" before the Rugby Football Union complete the international paperwork.
"I've had no contact from England," said Waldrom. "I've just put it out there and we'll see what happens."
Scorers: Bath: Penalties James 2. Leicester: Tries Allen, Croft 2, Flood 2; Conversions Flood 3; Penalties Flood 2.
Bath N Abendanon (J Cuthbert, 66); M Banahan, B Williams, S Vesty (S Hape, 60), T Biggs; B James, M Claassens (M McMillan, 60); D Flatman (N Catt, 55), L Mears (P Dixon, 60), D Bell (D Wilson, 52; Bell, 76), S Hooper, D Grewcock (I Fernandez Lobbe, 60), B Skirving, L Watson (capt; G Mercer, 72), S Taylor.
Leicester Tigers S Hamilton; H Agulla, M Tuilagi (M Smith, 66), A Allen, A Tuilagi; T Flood (J Staunton, 73), B Youngs (J Grindal, 58); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 63), G Chuter (R Hawkins, 63), D Cole (J White, 63), S Mafi, E Slater, T Croft, C Newby (capt; B Woods, 60), T Waldrom (J Crane, 52).
Referee D Pearson (Northumberland).
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