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Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Saturday, 26 March 2011

Bath 6-37 Leicester

Bath (3) 6
Pens: James 2
Leicester (22) 37
Tries: Allen, Croft 2, Flood 2 Cons: Flood 3 Pens: Flood 2

Toby Flood
Flood banished the nightmare of last weekend in Dublin with a fine performance

Toby Flood landed a 22-point haul as he inspired Leicester to a 37-6 bonus-point victory and a record Premiership home defeat for Bath.

The hosts started well but passed up a possible 18 first-half penalty points to go in 22-3 down after tries by Anthony Allen, Tom Croft and Flood.

Bath toiled after the break but could only add a second Butch James kick.

Flood and Croft went over again as the Tigers finished off an accomplished performance to put the game to bed.

Both sides started in top gear and Bath nearly scored on five minutes when Stuart Hooper crossed the line but the video referee decreed the ball had been knocked on in-goal.

Despite a bright opening quarter-of-an-hour from the hosts it was Leicester who took the lead through Flood's boot after an infringement at the scrum.

Tigers launched a counter-attack after Nick Abendanon was turned over and Allen first broke a weak tackle from James before selling Matt Banahan a dummy to glide in under the posts.

Ed Slater was sent to the sin-bin after 22 minutes for killing the ball in front of his posts as James made it 10-3 with the resulting penalty.

Banahan somehow failed to score a seemingly a certain try just before the half hour after Michael Claassens had produced a great break up the middle.

Ben Youngs
Ben Youngs was back to his best for the Tigers

Bath were made to pay a minute later when Ben Youngs shaped to pass from a line-out but raced through a hole in the middle and fed Croft who galloped home for the Tigers' second try, which Flood converted.

The hosts continued to throw everything at Leicester but the Tigers soaked up the pressure and, perhaps more crucially, Bath overlooked three kickable penalties that could have pulled them back to within a score.

Leicester provided Bath with a lesson about how to take your chances when Youngs again seized on a half chance and, after yet more missed tackles by Bath, Flood went in at the corner just before half time.

Bath drew first blood in the second half after they built phases with some dazzling off-loading, including the excellent Duncan Bell, and earned an easy penalty which James converted.

But Leicester just eased back through the gears, with Youngs creating huge holes around the fringes as the England half-backs combined well for Flood's second try which went unconverted.

Flood made amends with a second penalty on 63 minutes to make it 30-6 and put the result beyond any doubt.

Bath toiled to create a meaningful opening but when Abendanon, who was courageous in the face of several huge hits, hacked on a spilt ball, it fell straight to Croft who raced clear under the posts.

With the result beyond any doubt Bath's frustration boiled over and a 70th minute brawl saw Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and Horacio Agulla singled out for spells in the sin-bin.

The manner of Tigers' performance suggests a home Premiership play-off semi-final, with just five games left for them to play, is now a certainty.

Bath head coach Steve Meehan:
"We played some good rugby, but Leicester took all their chances and they are certainly going to be difficult to stop.

"It was disappointing to get no points out of the game, and it does make life more difficult, but we cannot rely on other results.

"Our preparation for this game wasn't great, our training wasn't as accurate as it needs to be, but that was not the reason why we didn't finish the opportunities we created.

"Some of the players said afterwards that it was an embarrassing scoreboard from our point of view, and there is no doubt that we need to improve in most facets of our game."

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill:
"I thought both of them, Toby (Flood) and Ben (Youngs), in terms of their attitude, were outstanding.

"Bath are great on the front foot, but they are not that comfortable when teams run at them, and our job was to make sure we had the ball as often as we could.

"On the face of it, it is a great result for us, but we started pretty poorly and we were lucky not to concede a couple of tries early on.

"At half-time, we were a little upset because we probably hadn't played as much as we should have done, but this is a great win, but was it a great performance?"

Bath: Abendanon, Banahan, Williams, Vesty, Biggs, James, Claassens, Flatman, Mears, Bell, Hooper, Grewcock, Skirving, Watson, Taylor.

Replacements: Cuthbert for Abendanon (67), Hape for Vesty (60), McMillan for Claassens (60), Catt for Flatman (55), Dixon for Mears (60), Wilson for Bell (52), Fernandez Lobbe for Grewcock (60), Mercer for Watson (72).

Sin Bin: Fernandez Lobbe (68).

Leicester: Hamilton, Agulla, M Tuilagi, Allen, A Tuilagi, Flood, Youngs, Ayerza, Chuter, Cole, Mafi, Slater, Croft, Newby, Waldrom.

Replacements: Smith for M. Tuilagi (67), Staunton for Flood (74), Grindal for Youngs (58), Stankovich for Ayerza (64), Hawkins for Chuter (64), White for Cole (64), Woods for Newby (60), Crane for Waldrom (52).

Sin Bin: Slater (18), Agulla (68).

Att: 12,200

Ref: Dave Pearson (RFU).

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see also
Gloucester 34-22 Bath
05 Mar 11 |  English
Leicester 14-15 Saracens
05 Mar 11 |  English

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