Tigers’ pack suf­fer mauling at the death

The Rugby Paper - - Anglo-welsh Cup - ■ By ROGER PANT­ING

THE Anglo-Welsh Cup is much ma­ligned but here was a brilliant cut-throat spec­ta­cle to be­lie crit­i­cism of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Both teams went at each other in a fierce bat­tle be­tween the two old ri­vals.

De­feat was rough jus­tice on Le­ices­ter as they led un­til the 78th minute when a penalty try re­warded Bath’s to­tal scrum dom­i­nance af­ter Tigers had re­peat­edly in­fringed to in­cur a huge penalty count.

Le­ices­ter coach, Ge­or­dan Mur­phy, said: “It was a heroic ef­fort from our young­sters. We de­fended as if our lives de­pended upon it.

“We were un­der a load of pres­sure and we could have held on, but there were huge mo­men­tum swings as we lacked ex­pe­ri­ence at cru­cial times.”

De­spite the ef­forts of Harry Thacker and Fred Tuilagi, Le­ices­ter were sec­ond best up front – but be­hind the scrum they star­tled their op­po­nents with their in­ven­tion.

Harry Sim­mons and Jor­dan Olowofela looked fine prospects as Bath’s de­fence was fre­quently ex­posed. Coach Stu­art Hooper said: “They made some brilliant off-loads near to the break­down but our de­fence went to sleep, which you can’t af­ford to do against Le­ices­ter.

“For­tu­nately we had Fred­die (Burns), who is an in­tel­li­gent rugby player and he got us go­ing for­ward by telling oth­ers what to do.”

In what was Burns’ first game against his for­mer side, he tried too hard to im­press early on be­fore his class shone through with a solo try and some ex­em­plary goal-kick­ing.

Tom Hard­wick had put Tigers ahead with a penalty be­fore a mis­take from Burns gifted the open­ing try. On half-way, Burns at­tempted a chip over the de­fence but it was charged down by Char­lie Thacker, who booted the loose ball for­ward for Jonah Holmes to pick up and score.

Two penal­ties from Burns put Bath on the board be­fore an ex­cel­lent touch-finder from Hard­wick se­cured a line-out five me­tres from the try-line.

From there, Le­ices­ter won pos­ses­sion for Adam Thomp­stone to join the drive and touch down for Hard­wick to con­vert.

Trail­ing 17-6, the hosts looked in trouble but two pieces of skill from Burns kept them in con­tention.

First, a well-judged pass cre­ated space for Matt Bana­han, who sent Josh Bayliss on a run deep into the Le­ices­ter 22 be­fore the flanker was hauled down. The ball was re­cy­cled for an alert Burns to kick over the Tigers’ de­fence and col­lect to score a su­perb try.

Af­ter the restart, Burns kicked his third penalty but a cre­ative run from Olowofela and a neat off­load pre­sented the lively Holmes with his sec­ond.

Burns suc­ceeded with an­other kick but Tigers wouldn’t lie down as clever in­ter­play from Hard­wick and Sim­monds cre­ated the bonus try for Ben White.

How­ever Bath’s for­ward power fi­nally told as the Tigers’ pack was shunted back­wards for Zach Mercer to pounce, be­fore Joe Maksymiw was yel­low carded for pulling down a maul and the Le­ices­ter scrum wilted un­der a con­tin­u­ous on­slaught to con­cede the match-win­ner.

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

Come­back: Fred­die Burns scores Bath’s open­ing try

Threat: Tigers’ Harry Sim­mons makes a break

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.