Vesty leads Tigers into their fifth final in a row

Leicester 24 Bath 10: Bath blitzed as Leicester stay on course for a domestic and European double

You had to feel sorry for the poor Leicester faithful. Perhaps they stopped off at the ticket office on their way out to ask for a refund. There was no penalty shoot-out in this week's semi-final; no repeat of the last minute match-winning score that settled a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Bath here four weeks ago. Just a boring, bog-standard 14-point victory that took Richard Cockerill's Tigers into – yawn, yawn – another final, keeping them on course for a European Cup and domestic championship double.

On this occasion, Leicester were home and hosed with 11 minutes left on the clock. That was when Julien Dupuy – the French sniper of a scrum-half whose 80th-minute dart had delivered the knock-out blow to Bath in the Heineken Cup match – converted a try by that crazy old war horse Lewis Moody to put Cockerill's men effectively out of reach.

For Moody, on the field as a replacement for just three minutes and only two weeks into a comeback from a broken ankle, it was a happy return to scoring form. For another Leicester and England back-row veteran, though, it was "thank you and goodnight". Back in training after suspension and knee ligament trouble, but unable to fight his way into the Tigers' selection frame, Martin Corry thanked the Leicester fans on a lap of honour, then announced that – as had long been expected – he would be hanging up his boots at the season's end.

"If someone is more injured than I am, I'm still in the mix," the 35-year-old former England captain said, with reference to the two finals his club face in the next fortnight. "But the body has said, 'That's it.' It's an easy decision to make."

For Cockerill, with Tom Croft accommodated in the second row and Moody pushing to get back into the mix, there are simply no back-row openings. "Who do you leave out?" Leicester's coach asked. He did so rhetorically.

The questions asked of his side by Bath were of a similar vein. Steve Meehan's men clawed their way back to within seven points before Moody's try, but the outcome never looked to be in serious doubt. Six days on from their extra-time Heineken Cup marathon against the Cardiff Blues, the Tigers had more than enough in their tank to secure a fifth successive appearance in the Premiership final. Prompted by Sam Vesty at outside-half and inspired by their captain and full-back, Geordan Murphy, they could have blitzed Bath by half-time.

"The start was really important for us," Cockerill said. "There was a bit of motivation from their camp saying earlier in the week that they'd come here and run us off our feet."

Leicester fielded 14 of the XV who started at the Millennium Stadium but they were up and running from the start, despite the late disruption of Aaron Mauger's failure to negotiate a fitness test (prompting a shift from outside to inside centre for Dan Hipkiss and a call up for Ayoola Erinle). It was Hipkiss who made the first breakthrough, wriggling over to the left of the posts in the 16th minute. Dupuy converted and would have had another midway through the first half had Shontayne Hape not denied Johne Murphy in the right corner with a finger-tip touch after a brilliantly instinctive hack up-field by Vesty.

Bath were unable to bottle another piece of Vesty brilliance when the outside-half seized a pass from Dupuy from afive-metre scrum on the right and burst through the defensive line. His half-back partner converted, something Ryan Davis was unable to do from out wide after first Michael Claassens and then Stuart Hooper crossed the line for Bath.

At the other end, Dupuy had added a penalty. All it needed was for the Tigers to get their tails up one more time and they did so with 11 minutes on the clock. Geordan Murphy aimed a grubber into the left-hand corner and after Nick Abendanon had taken out Johne Murphy with what looked to be a blatant trip, Moody pounced to apply the scoring touch. The crowd were celebrating long before Vesty lined up a last-minute drop at goal. It drifted wide, but that was an affordable luxury for Leicester yesterday.

Leicester: G Murphy (capt; T Varndell, 77); S Hamilton, A Erinle (M Smith, 75), D Hipkiss, J Murphy; S Vesty, J Dupuy (H Ellis, 72); M Ayerza, G Chuter (B Kayser, 58), M Castrogiovanni (J White, 61), T Croft (M Wentzel, 44-57), B Kay, C Newby (M Wentzel, 78), J Crane, B Woods (L Moody, 66).

Bath: N Abendanon (S Berne, 78); J Maddock, A Crockett (capt; A Higgins, 78), S Hape, M Banahan; R Davis, M Claassens (S Bemand, 72); D Flatman (D Barnes, 64), L Mears ( P Dixon, 64), D Bell, J Harrison, P Short, A Beattie, S Hooper, J Scaysbrook.

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

News
Courtney Love has admitted using heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean Cobain, her daughter with Kurt Cobain
people
Sport
Murray celebrates reaching the final
tennis
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness