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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 January, 2005, 14:41 GMT
Bath 23-27 Leinster
HEINEKEN CUP Pool Two
Danny Grewcock rumbles over the Leinster line for Bath's first try
Bath (13) 23:
Tries: Borthwick, Daniel
Cons: Barkley 2
Pens: Barkley 2
Drop: Malone
Leinster: (13) 27:
Tries: Jennings, Holwell, O'Kelly
Cons: Holwell 3
Pens: Holwell 2
Att: 12,000
Bath crashed out of the Heineken Cup when they allowed an amazing Leinster comeback to steal their thunder at the Recreation Ground.

Malcolm O'Kelly and David Holwell scored two late tries after a Brendon Daniel try had given Bath the lead.

Earlier Chris Malone dropped a goal and Steve Borthwick touched down for the hosts. Ollie Barkley kicked 10 points.

Shane Jennings scored Leinster's first try early on, while fly-half Holwell added 12 points with the boot.

Despite the last-gasp turnaround, Bath coach John Connolly was quick to salute the effort of his injury-ravaged side.

"The guys were focused, the effort was phenomenal but the odd mistake cost us the game and the players are incredibly disappointed," said Connolly.

"I have said it before, but teams will take it to them in the forwards which is what we tried to do today.

"But any team that has Brian O'Driscoll and up to six potential Lions in their line-up always has a chance."

And Leinster coach Declan Kidney admitted that his star-studded team had beengiven a major scare by Bath.

"We are starting to get a bit of stickability, but Bath played well and wewere up against a good team," said Kidney.

"If you get judged on results, then we are reasonably happy. If we are judgedon performance, then we have still got a lot of work to do."

Leinster led comfortably during the first half only to see the 1998 European champions storm back after the break to take a deserved 23-13 lead.

The Irish outfit were hammered up front in the second half, but it all changed in dramatic fashion as Holwell, who ended up with 17 points, charged down a kick to score and convert.

With two minutes remaining it was mercurial centre Brian O'Driscoll who sparked the last-gasp attack from which O'Kelly ultimately prospered.

Leinster flanker Jennings opened the scoring when he picked up an over-anxious throw by teenage hooker David Ward to score.

Leinster maintained their early stranglehold and almost went further ahead when some sublime approach work from O'Driscoll cut open Bath's midfield only for Girvan Dempsey to drop the ball with the line in sight.

Bath's Isaac Feaunati
Bath's Isaac Fea'unati is stopped in his tracks by Malcolm O'Kelly

A Malone drop goal from nearly 50 metres got Bath on the board, but the visitors hit back with two Holwell penalties.

But it all turned around in the 36th minute when England lock Borthwick rumbled over from a line-out. Barkley converted and then landed a straight-forward penalty to even the contest at the break.

After the restart Leinster were immediately forced back into their own 22.

Despite some brave tackling , they had to crack eventually and when Bath worked enough space for Daniel out wide the winger crossed for the score. Barkley kicked an angled conversion.

Barkley botched another penalty chance 13 minutes from time before finding his range after Bell had been helped off injured. This took Bath 10 points clear and within touching distance of a famous win.

But then came that dramatic Leinster comeback and they now look certain to receive a home draw in the quarter-finals after winning all their five group games to date and Treviso to follow next week.


Bath: Perry, Maddock, Crockett, Barkley, Daniel, Malone, Walshe,Barnes, Ward, Bell, Borthwick, Grewcock, Beattie, Lipman,Fea'unati.
Replacements: Loader, Stevens, Fidler, Scaysbrook, Hudson,Lewis, Baxter.

Leinster: Dempsey, Horgan, O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, D. Hickie,Holwell, Easterby, Corrigan, E. Byrne, S. Byrne, O'Kelly,Cullen, Miller, Jennings, Costello.
Replacements: Nebbett, B. Blaney, Potts, McCullen, O'Meara,Contepomi, Lewis.

Referee: J Jutge (France)




SEE ALSO
Heineken Cup 2004/5
29 Jun 04 |  European Club


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