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Leicester 20-15 Bath

Leicester (6) 20 Tries: Dupuy Pens: Vesty 5
Bath (7) 15
Tries: Berne, Maddock Cons: James Pens: James


Julien Dupuy touches down under the posts against Bath
Dupuy was a second-half replacement for scrum-half Harry Ellis

A moment of brilliance from Julien Dupuy saw Leicester seal their place in the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup after a hard-fought win over Bath.

The replacement scrum-half squeezed through Bath's onrushing defence in the final minute to score under the posts.

Sam Vesty - a late replacement for the injured Toby Flood - was in fine form, landing all five of his penalty kicks.

Bath ran the home side close with tries from Shaun Berne and Joe Maddock, but were made to pay for poor place kicks.

Fly-half Butch James, in particular, was guilty of missing kickable chances, opportunities which will haunt the west country giants for the rest of the season.

The two-time champions will now travel to Cardiff in the semi-finals to face the Blues in May.

The Tigers were forced into changes after Flood suffered a dead leg in the warm-up, with coach Richard Cockerill moving Vesty to fly-half and Ayoola Erinle starting at inside centre.

And it was Vesty who kicked the first points of the match on 18 minutes when Bath full-back Nick Abendanon was penalised for not releasing the ball in the tackle.

The 28-year-old doubled the lead two minutes later with an identical penalty from 40m out, again from another Bath offence at the breakdown.

Bath were presented their first shot at the posts on 31 minutes, but James completely skewed his attempt from 35m out as the ball sailed closer to the corner flag rather than the uprights.

The visitors were handed another penalty on the half-way line four minutes later, but South African James - clearly lacking confidence following his earlier howler - opted to kick for territory.

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However, his decision was fully vindicated when Justin Harrison claimed the line-out, with Shontayne Hape bursting through the Tigers defence on the 22m line before feeding Berne for the opening try of the match, duly converted by James.

The World Cup winner made further amends for his earlier miss three minutes after the interval, extending Bath's lead with an exemplary kick straight through the posts.

But two further Vesty penalties saw the Tigers take a two-point advantage going into the final quarter.

A last-ditch tap tackle from Michael Claassens cut Vesty down as the number 10 looked to run into open space following an intelligent line burst.

Bath were handed a reprieve when the South African scrum-half's floated pass was intercepted inside his own 22m by Dan Hipkiss, but Leicester failed to capitalise on their advantage.

But Bath dramatically regained the lead on 65 minutes when hooker Lee Mears charged down Geordan Murphy's 22m drop-out clearance, allowing Claassens to send a brilliant reverse pass for winger Matt Banahan, whose burst set up Maddock to touch down from 10 metres.

James struck the upright with his conversion attempt and Leicester immediately responded when Vesty's trusty right boot added its fifth penalty to level the scores going into the final 10 minutes.

With the game heading for injury time, Dupuy - a second-half substitution for Harry Ellis - searched for Murphy in the pocket for a last-ditch drop-goal attempt outside of Bath's 22m line.

But as the Bath defence rushed up to cut down the time and space for the drop-kick, the Frenchmen opted for a different tactic, spinning 360 degrees before bursting through a gap to touch down under the posts in what proved to be the final move of the game.


Leicester : G. Murphy, Hamilton, Hipkiss, Erinle, Tuilagi, Vesty, Ellis, Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, L. Deacon, Kay, Croft, Woods, Pienaar.

Replacements : Dupuy for Ellis (51), Newby for L. Deacon (47), Crane for Pienaar (46). Not Used: Davies, Cole, Rabeni, J. Murphy.

Bath : Abendanon, Maddock, Crockett, Hape, Banahan, James, Claassens, Flatman, Mears, Bell, Harrison, Short, Beattie, Lipman, Faamatuainu.

Replacements : Higgins for Abendanon (74), Berne for Crockett (32), Hooper for Short (56), Scaysbrook for Faamatuainu (67). Not Used: Hawkins, Ion, Bemand.

Att : 26,100

Ref : Allan Lewis (Ireland).



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see also
Cockerill confirms Dupuy to stay
11 Apr 09 |  Leicester
Tigers are in top form - Chuter
09 Apr 09 |  Leicester
Crockett calls for ruthless Bath
09 Apr 09 |  Bath
White hit by two-week suspension
07 Apr 09 |  Leicester
Leicester 37-31 Sale
04 Apr 09 |  English
Bath 3-19 Harlequins
04 Apr 09 |  English
Heineken Cup 2008/9
17 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union


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