Connolly reins in Bath's party preparations

Leinster 19 Bath 22

Little wonder then, that with a victory over Leinster to celebrate, a grinning Bath head coach John Connolly announced: "I'll put the ankle bracelets on them tonight to make sure they don't go astray."

It is doubtful, however, that they would have had the energy to party after what they went through on the Royal Dublin Showground on Saturday. They had a tough enough time trying to free themselves from the shackles clamped on them by Leinster.

Bath lost both matches against Leinster in last year's European Cup, and they looked to be well on the way to an unenviable hat-trick by the interval. But revenge is not always a dish best served cold. Some like it hot. Bath clearly do, because they contributed to a fiery second half, with a far more positive attitude than they had shown in the opening 40 minutes, when a passionate Leinster side had outplayed and out-thought the West Countrymen. The hosts rediscovered their desire right at the end to create a finale that crackled with tension. Leinster flung everything at Bath as the minutes ticked down. But to their credit, Bath threw it all back at them - kitchen sink, taps, plug and all.

They had the stamina to survive those last desperate minutes. For all the attacks that Leinster launched, they just did not seem to have enough left in their legs to get around Bath's gritty defence, hence the relief in the visitors' camp, especially after their poor start.

Connolly clearly felt that this win was an achievement in itself, and it prompted him to dwell on the possibility of Bath reaching the knock-out stages of the competition. "It will be tough for us, but we will cause teams problems. The key is to win your pool and try to get a quarter-final at home."

On this evidence Bath will give teams cause for hope if they reproduce their first-half performance. The Irish peppered them with high balls, and time and again Bath justified the tactic by bungling the take.

The Premiership side were also guilty of indiscipline, and worst of all, apart from the occasions they were caught offside and committed myriad other technical infringements, they could not resist talking back to the referee, Nigel Whitehouse, from Wales. It was the wrong sort of talking to do on the pitch. And they were punished for it.

In the opening exchanges they were surprisingly flabby in attack, never truly threatening the Leinster line, and instead relying on the boot of Olly Barkley to keep them in the game at the interval. Leinster had real penetration out wide; all they lacked was the killer finish. The rookie winger Robert Kearney looks a real prospect: strong under the high ball, quick-witted, quick-footed and with a good pass, he will trouble defences at the very highest level before long.

The Leinster No 8, Jamie Heaslip, a callow 21-year-old, also looked special. In the dying minutes of the game, he was a real handful, bursting out of his own half at one point dangerously quickly and getting far too close to the Bath line for their liking.

Bath were also fortunate to catch Leinster without their Ireland internationals Brian O'Driscoll and Denis Hickie, and the former England prop Will Green; the latter forced to pull out on the morning of the match suffering from a chest infection. That trio could have made a mighty difference to the outcome.

Leinster: Try Contepomi; Conversion Contepomi; Penalties Contepomi 3; Drop goal Contepomi. Bath: Try Beattie; Conversion Barkley; Penalties Barkley 4; Drop goal Malone.

Leinster: G Dempsey; K Lewis, G D'Arcy, S Horgan, R Kearney (J Hepworth, 73); F Contepomi (capt), B O'Riordan (B O'Meara, 58); R Corrigan, B Blaney (B Jackman, 58), E Byrne, B Gissing (M O'Kelly, 58), B Williams, C Potts, K Gleeson, J Heaslip.

Bath: L Best; D Bory (S Finau, 77), T Cheeseman, O Barkley, F Welsh; C Malone, M Wood; M Stevens, L Mears (P Dixon, 75), D Bell, S Borthwick (capt), D Grewcock, A Beattie, J Scaysbrook, I Feaunati (G Delve, 75).

Referee: N Whitehouse (Wales).


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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine