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Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 17:08 UK

Leicester 43-20 Bath

Leicester (25) 43
Try: Tuilagi 2, Parling, Allen, Penalty Cons: Flood 3 Pens: Flood 4
Bath (13) 20
Tries: Maddock, Banahan Cons: Barkley 2 Pens: Barkley, James

Anthony Allen holds off a tackle to score
Centre Anthony Allen was on the scoresheet at Welford Road

Leicester maintained their place at the top of the Premiership thanks to a five-try bonus-point win over Bath.

Fly-half Toby Flood kicked 18 points while winger Alesana Tuilagi scored two first-half tries, ending Bath's run of seven successive league wins.

Additional scores from Geoff Parling and Anthony Allen, along with a penalty try, secured a comprehensive win.

Olly Barkley converted tries from Joe Maddock and Matt Banahan for Bath, and Butch James slotted a penalty.

The victory stretches Leicester's lead at the top of the Premiership to three points over second-placed Northampton, although Saints still have a game in hand over their title rivals.

606: DEBATE
leicestertigerfox

Leicester were boosted by the return of Ireland full-back Geordan Murphy, while there were recalls for Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni and England second-row Louis Deacon as head coach Richard Cockerill pressed for his eighth victory in nine matches.>

Meanwhile, resurgent Bath recalled prop David Barnes at loose-head prop while Ben Skirving took over duties at number eight.

However, the visitors conceded a try after just 26 seconds when Matt Smith robbed Shontayne Hape before feeding a quick pass to Tuilagi, who raced over from the halfway line, with Flood adding the first of his four conversions from wide on the left.

Barkley reduced the arrears to four points with a penalty before Flood restored the seven-point advantage with a simple kick.

Western Samoa international Tuilagi added his second touchdown following a well-worked line-out move in the 16th minute, although Bath responded seven minutes later when winger Maddock evaded the challenge of Lewis Moody to add five points, successfully converted by Barkley.

Bath were further hampered when Peter Short was sin-binned in the 34th minute for an offence at a ruck, handing Flood the opportunity to stretch the score to 18-10.

But, despite a second Barkley penalty, Leicester took a 25-13 half-time lead when Tom Croft set up Parling in first-half injury time, easily converted by Flood.

Allen secured the bonus-point three minutes after the interval, while a third Flood penalty on 47 minutes extended Leicester's lead to 20 points.

Banahan reduced the arrears in the 56th minute following a neat pass from James, who added the conversion.

But Bath's misery was further compounded when referee Sean Davey awarded a penalty try as the visitors' scrum capitulated under pressure from a dominant Leicester pack in the 75th minute, a score successfully converted by Flood.


Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill asked if the performance was the best from his side this season:

"It's up there because everyone had been talking about Bath and how good they are. But the intensity and physicality of our team is immense, you have to be very good to beat us.

"We took their line-out apart in the second half and our scrum was first-rate.

"We did get a bit sloppy at times and put ourselves under pressure. We needed to be a bit more clinical at times.

"Everybody wants to knock us because we are good. I keep telling the players 'everybody hates us and we don't care'.

"Everyone has been talking about everybody else and this team deserves a bit more respect than that."

Bath head coach Steve Meehan:

"Leicester's line-out and scrum were very good and we couldn't get a grip on the game at all.

"The other areas weren't great but it was the set-piece where we had problems.

"I thought at 33-20 down with 20 minutes to go we were still in with a shout, but we went on to lose four line-outs in a row and if you haven't got the ball you can't put pressure on the opposition.

"It certainly reinforces the point that in this competition whoever you are playing, home or away, you've got to front up and play with a level of intensity that's going to give you a chance in the match."


Leicester: G Murphy (capt); Hamilton, Smith, Allen, Tuilagi; Flood, Youngs; Ayerza, Davies, Castrogiovanni, Deacon, Parling, Croft, Moody, Crane.
Replacements: Chuter, Cole, Stankovich, Kay, Newby, Grindal, Staunton, J Murphy.

Bath: Abendanon; Maddock, Hape, Barkley, Banahan; James, Claassens (capt); Barnes, Mears, Bell, Short, Hooper, Beattie, Salvi, Skirving.
Replacements: Dixon, Catt, Jarvis, Grewcock, Faamatuainu, Bernand, Little, Carraro.



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