Muir (21, 79), Reid (67)
Bath versus LeicesterGallagher Premiership
Sunday, April 18, 3 p.m.
Leicester was denied a first Gallagher Premiership win at the Recreation Ground for 10 years after Ben Spencer’s late conversion gave Bath a dramatic 21:20 win.
The Tigers’ last league win on Bath soil took place in March 2011, but George Ford’s five penalties and center Matias Moroni’s attempt seemed sufficient. However, Will Muir’s bath wing scored his second attempt two minutes from time, and half Spencer stepped forward to landing the touchline switch and thwarting Leicester.
Muir landed early in the action and there was also a try for substitute flanker Miles Reid, with Spencer kicking three conversions.
Leicester had dominant spells on strong striker foundations were based. English support Ellis Genge shone on the set piece and in the easy and South African No. 8 Jasper Wiese hit hard in attack and defense.
But they couldn’t get Bath out of the way and the home team showed strong resilience to ultimately one winning intense competition, highlighted by the performance of a man of the game from home, No. 8, Zach Mercer.
Bath showed three changes from the side that eight days ago the quarter-final opponent of the European Challenge Cup, London Irish, defeated. Josh Matavesi played at halftime, while Muir and Flanker Sam Underhill also started.
Leicester boss and former Bath captain Steve Borthwick remembered Ben Youngs, Ellis Genge and Dan Cole, with Ford taking on his old club, as Tigers tried to maintain an impressive run of form.
Bath made the early race, going through phase by phase to throw Leicester off beat, but Tigers took the lead in the 12th minute with an angled Ford Penalty.
It was against the course of the game, but Leicester continued to grow into the game and Ford kicked a long-range penalty after Bath lost England center to Jonathan Joseph through injury.
But the home team formed strong new and she went ahead after Joseph’s England international Anthony Watson countered from his own half. Bath held the momentum after Watson’s adventure and Muir went wide before Spencer moved from the sideline.
Leicester was back up at halftime, helped by the strong race from Wing Kini Murimurivalu, and Ford put Tigers back in front, as he completed his penalty hat trick.
Bath pressed for a second try as the first 40 minutes came to an end, but they sacrificed a penalty and Leicester retained a 9-7 interval advantage.
The Tigers built took off their lead within five minutes of restarting after Bath failed a spiral Ford kick. Watson couldn’t get close and Leicester quickly recycled possession before Murimurivalu handed Moroni a goal pass.
Ford missed the makeover, but Leicester had good value for its lead in the middle of a third quarter they were regarding dominated the territory while Bath was asked questions about the attacking fringes.
And when Bath asked defensive questions, Leicester was up to the task by erasing the threat after Taulupe Faletau, who had previously been treated for a pat on the back , intercepted a Ford pass and found Mercer to help.
A fourth Ford penalty gave Leicester respite, but Bath hit back 13 minutes before the end after Reid put concerted pressure on for a close-range touchdown challenged.
Spencer’s move brought the home team back to just three points and set up a tense final.
Ford kicked a fifth successful penalty enough to get Leicester across the line, but Muir and Spencer struck.
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