Dupuy's late swivel pulls plug on Bath ambitions

Leicester 20 Bath 15

At the final blast of the whistle at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday, REM were on the public address system, serenading all the "shiny, happy people" in green, red and white.

Had you blinked moments earlier you might have missed the rapid eye movement that sparked the joyous celebrations.

There were 53 seconds left to play when Julien Dupuy turned back from a ruck, some 25 metres out from the Bath try line, and clocked the opposition closing down on Sam Vesty and Geordan Murphy.

In an instant, Leicester's replacement scrum-half swivelled 360 degrees and – with the scores tied at 15-15 and extra time beckoning – went for a drop of instinctive Gallic inspiration instead of attempting to tee up a drop at goal. Six seconds later, the man from the Dordogne had settled the Heineken Cup quarter-final clash of the English heavyweights.

On his way towards the channel of the whitewash, he had given Joe Maddock the slip with a delightful step off the right peg. It was neat all right, and the vast majority of those in attendance on Saturday really loved those Tiger feet.

"Dupuy's bit of magic at the end was as good as it gets, I think," Richard Cockerill ventured to suggest.

Jack Nicholson might argue otherwise but then Leicester's old hooker is getting rather good himself at this acting business. This was his seventh win in nine games as acting head coach of the Tigers. His charges sit on top of the Guinness Premiership and now have a Heineken Cup semi-final date against the Cardiff Blues at the Millennium Stadium.

Their dramatic success on Saturday owed not a little to Cockerill's foresight in summoning Dupuy from bench duty in the 51st minute, swapping the doggedness of Harry Ellis for the sharpness of the Frenchman. As the acting head coach reflected: "Against tired defenders, Dupuy is one of the best in the world at doing what he does."

It is little wonder he relishes being let off the leash, having spent much of his time at Biarritz tethered to the bench, watching Dimitri Yachvili run the show for the Basques, as he did for the entirety of the 2006 Heineken Cup final defeat against Munster in Cardiff.

Dupuy's long-term future at Welford Road is far from clear, with his girlfriend back in France and the uncapped 25-year-old keen to join her, but Vesty, a fourth-generation Tiger, continues to look part of the fixtures and fittings. His five penalties, courtesy of some sterling work at the breakdown, kept Leicester in touch while Shaun Berne and Maddock ran in tries for Bath.

Vesty's conversion miss at the death was a luxury the shiny, happy Tigers could afford.

Scorers: Leicester Try Dupuy; Penalties Vesty (5). Bath: Tries Berne, Maddock; Conversion James; Penalty James.

Leicester: G Murphy (capt); S Hamilton, D Hipkiss, S Vesty, A Tuilagi; T Flood, H Ellis (J Dupuy, 51); M Ayerza, G Chuter, M Castrogiovanni, L Deacon (C Newby, 48), B Kay, T Croft, B Woods, B Pienaar (J Crane, 47).

Bath: N Abendanon (A Higgins, 75); J Maddock, A Crockett (S Berne, 32), S Hape, M Banahan; B James, M Claassens; D Flatman, L Mears, D Bell, J Harrison, P Short (S Hooper, 56), A Beattie, M Lipman (capt), J Fa'amatuainu (J Scaysbrook, 62).

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test