– Leicester 36-31 Bath – In Leicester’s second league win of the season, Ford scored 21
After having to separate himself, Steve Borthwick, Leicester’s rugby manager, watched the game on TV at home. At the end of the first quarter, when his side trailed by 14 points and conceded two bad attempts that demonstrated why they were in the lower reaches of the table in recent years, he would have been tempted to press the off button, but by the end his charges were a changed guy. The late attempt of Josh Beaumont sealed Sale’s narrow comeback victory at GloucesterRead moreLeicester’s England full-backs Ben Youngs and George Ford both overcome faltering starts to lead the comeback in their first season premiership appearances and the destructive ball carrier The destructive ball carrier that Leicester has missed for so long arrived in the form of No. 8 Jasper Wiese, who survived Still, Bath was unable to get off to a better start.
Borthwick is renowned for its attention to detail and since he took over in the summer, Leicester’s lineout has strengthened, but contact broke down after Harry Wells intercepted Tom Youngs’ throw on the hosts’ 22nd throw on the hosts’ It was bizarre what happened next. As though he had the ball with his brother Ben behind him, Youngs exploded from the maul. Actually, the player in possession was Josh McNally of Bath’s second row and he made his way to the line. He was tackled by Nemani Nadolo a few yards from the line, but Beno Obano was on hand to give Bath a fast start to their quest for a fourth consecutive Premiership victory. There was nothing to offer Leicester. Until fellow half-back Youngs shot a free-kick straight at goal, Ford missed a 40-yard penalty. The England scrum-half played alongside Ben Spencer, who, despite outstanding results for Bath, has become an international outcast.
It was Spencer who first added some consistency to the game when he found there was no guard on an attacking ruck on the 10-meter line of the home side, and Leicester flanker George Martin cut a gap that proved too wide. The bounce was unkind and he was sent on a diagonal run toward the post by his flykick. Nadolo dragged it back, but at that point it was a pointless effort that was his team’s upshot. Ford and Youngs suddenly stepped up to the line.
In the first half, Bath conceded 12 penalties and Ford scored two of them to lead his team into a battle that had passed them by. Nadolo deflected off Watson and Ellis Genge beat Jonathan Joseph to set up a series of drives, then Youngs immediately took a penalty. After the forwards were called back, Ford claimed the ball and mocked the defense while waiting for Steward to make a late run. If Ford’s pass was long, Watson had the dilemma of whether to challenge the full-back or hold his line, but he was stuck in the middle of nowhere as Steward took Leicester to Bath within a point. Had they not taken advantage of two penalties after the clock hit zero to force lineouts in Bath’s half, a Rhys Priestland penalty would have given Bath a 17-13 interval lead. For the first time two minutes after the restart, Leicester took the lead when Ford moved to the flank and palmed Nadolo’s pass, leaving Wells free. Lions tour of South Africa in doubt as talks continue on new coronavirus variantsRead moreBath equalized by two kicks from Priestland, and after Ford had regained Leicester’s lead, he equalized again. Wiese missed rucks with two penalties and spent the afternoon playing at the edge. He had the afternoon on the credit side with his ball handling: he covered 115 meters and played a leading role in the transfer that led to the third and decisive attempt of the Tigers, scored by second row substitute Cameron Henderson. The tactics of Leicester were not difficult. After the break that faded as the receiver attempted to catch the ball as if it was being borne by the wind, Ford, who ended up scoring 21 points, checked Bath’s three-man defense with a series of kicks and resorted to heavy, spiraling bombs. Seven minutes from time, the chaos he caused led to his fifth penalty, which gave his side a 10-point advantage, but he may have created a variation.