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BBC rugby correspondent Ian Robertson
"Leicester confirmed and underlined their authority"
 real 14k

Leicester captain Martin Johnson
"It was rough, tough, bruising and niggling"
 real 14k

Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Impressive Tigers wrap up double

Cap that: Martin Johnson powers over
Leicester 22-10 Bath

Leicester grabbed their second trophy of the season and kept their treble hopes alive, with a comprehensive victory over Bath in the Zurich Championship final on Sunday.

Despite the best efforts of the West Country outfit, Martin Johnson's side proved too good on the day, showing their class in virtually every phase of play.

The result brought Bath's 10-match winning run at Twickenham to an abrupt end.

And the game will have caused Lions coach Graham Henry some nerves, as flying back Iain Balshaw had to leave the field with an injured arm.

  Final facts
Tries:
Leicester: Johnson, Healey, Stanley
Bath: Thirlby
Conversions:
Leicester: Stimpson (two)
Bath: Perry
Penalties:
Leicester: Stimpson
Bath: Perry
A first-half try from England skipper Johnson set Leicester on their way and two more in the second period from Austin Healey and Winston Stanley wrapped up the victory.

Bath wing Rob Thirlby managed a consolation try - but by then their fate had already been settled.

Leicester, who wrapped up the league title last month, must now quickly turn their attentions to the European Cup final against Stade Francais.

And should they play with the same ruthless professionalism, the French outfit will have to be at their best to compete.

Early nerves

Although much has been said of Bath's undoubtedly talented back line, it was Tigers fly-half Pat Howard and company who looked the more adventurous in the opening half.

In a nervy start, both sides showed equal combinations of ambition and error, with numerous opportunities falling victim to some poor passing.

Leicester celebrate their latest triumph
Champions: Leicester celebrate their latest triumph
The scrums were similarly a problem, though Bath failed to make use of an unusually high Leicester penalty count.

With opposing fullbacks Matt Perry and Tim Stimpson both failing with the boot early on, the crowd were made to wait 20 minutes until the deadlock was broken.

Perry's penalty from in front of the posts gave Bath an early lead. But, true to form, the Tigers came back strongly, thanks to some wonderful midfield play from Lloyd and Howard.

Driving deep into the Bath 22, Johnson hit back with a powerful charge over the line for a popular score.

In doing so he became the first player to be awarded a domestic try courtesy of the video referee.

Healey magic

If the first 40 minutes of the inaugural Zurich championship final had been singularly unimpressive, there was little improvement in the opening stages of the second.

Bath hardly touched the ball for the first five minutes and although Stimpson finally found form with the boot to push Leicester 10-3 ahead, mistakes again dominated.

Neil Back, so renowned for his handling, dropped a perfectly weighted pass with a clear overlap on the left.


Professional: The Tigers were as ruthless as ever
And Bath's first attacking play came to nothing when Catt followed Back's example.

Add to that the constant shriek of the referee's whistle it is little wonder slow handclaps replaced the early terrace chants.

But just when the crowd were in danger of completely losing interest, in stepped Austin Healey.

A fantastic break by Geordan Murphy earned Leicester a penalty just yards from the line. Healey, typically quick in thought as well as action, pounced over to add his side's second try.

At last the players woke up - so too should Rob Howley and Matt Dawson. Healey is clearly in no mood to spend his Lions tour on the bench and on this performance nor should he be.

Nevertheless, at 17-2 down Bath at last realised they needed to pick up the pace of the game. But again the Leicester defence held firm.


Impressive: Leon Lloyd on the break
Welsh international Gareth Copper showed his pace with an arcing run to release Balshaw, who worryingly for the Lions selectors then left the field holding his forearm.

The Tigers were wise to Bath's ploy, however, and quickly launched a counter-attack of their own.

Again they gave Bath a lesson in attacking flair to release Canadian Stanley on the right to add to Bath's woe.

Such was the Midlanders domination, Bath looked in danger of ending the game without a try.

Thirlby did give the Bath supporters something to cheer, however, showing his blistering pace on the righht to add a consolation score minutes from the final whistle.


Leicester: Stimpson, Murphy, Lloyd, Howard, Stanley, Goode, Healey, Rowntree, West, Garforth, M. Johnson, Kay, Corry, Back, W. Johnson.

Replacements: Hamilton, Gelderbloom, Cockerill, Freshwater, Nebbett, Moody, Gustard.

Bath: Perry, Balshaw, Maggs, Berne, Voyce, Catt, Cooper, Emms, Long, Mallett, Gabey, Borthwick, Gardiner, Clarke, Lyle.

Replacements: Preston, Regan, Barnes, Cox, Thirlby, G. Thomas, Lloyd.

Referee: Steve Lander (RFU)

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See also:

13 May 01 |  Rugby Union
Balshaw 'should be fit for Lions'
13 May 01 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union finals clockwatch
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