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).

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
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

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture