Premiership: Bath 47-10 Leicester Tigers

Matt Banahan
Banahan scored his first try in the second minute and completed his hat-trick late on
Bath (21) 47
Tries: Banahan 3, Eastmond, Stringer, Ford, Watson Cons: Ford 6
Leicester (10) 10
Try: T. Youngs Con: Burns Pen: Burns

Bath reached their first Premiership final since 2004 with a comfortable play-off semi-final win over Leicester.

A brace from Matt Banahan and a Kyle Eastmond try put the hosts in control, but they ended the first half with 13 men as Tom Youngs replied.

Second-half tries from Peter Stringer, George Ford and Anthony Watson sealed Bath's passage to Twickenham as Banahan completed his hat-trick late on.

The Blue, Black and Whites will face Saracens in the final on 30 May.

Leicester, the 10-time Premiership champions who reached nine consecutive finals between 2005 and 2013, dominated territory in the first half at the Rec but were undone by Bath's decisive attacking.

The hosts took the lead in the second minute through Banahan but Freddie Burns missed two penalties as he looked to reply for the Tigers; skewing his first attempt wide and then seeing his second come back off the post.

The fly-half's third strike from the tee was successful but Bath hit back immediately through Banahan's second try.

Bath scored for a third time when Semesa Rokoduguni brushed past Vereniki Goneva and chipped ahead for Eastmond to score.

With Tigers camped on the Bath line, Anthony Watson and Leroy Houston were sin-binned in quick succession for infringements, and Leicester brought themselves back into the game on the stroke of half-time through Tom Youngs.

However, their hopes of a comeback faltered as Burns and Tommy Bell missed second-half penalties either side of a lengthy stoppage in play which saw Tigers full-back Niall Morris stretchered off with an ankle injury.

Bath continued to soak up pressure and then increased their lead as Francois Louw broke through and set up veteran scrum-half Stringer, playing his last home game before his summer move to Sale.

Ford, who put in a near-perfect kicking display, Banahan and Watson then ran in simple tries late on to give Bath an emphatic victory.

Bath head coach Mike Ford:

"We were so clinical in the first half - the attack was outstanding.

"The boys kept their composure and once the bench came on and we got that fourth try, the game was over.

"I thought Leicester played better than the scoreboard suggested.

"We would be stupid to change unless it is absolutely a monsoon next Saturday. Saracens will know what's coming - they are an excellent kick-chase side.

"My job with this young side is to keep them pressure-free, make them have fun and enjoy it and go out and do what they do."

Leicester director of ruby Richard Cockerill:

"I have no complaints about the result.

"We controlled the game for large parts, we just didn't have enough firepower to get over the line.

"The penalty count was horrendous against Bath, but every time we got within five or six metres of the line, the referee was quite lenient on offences.

"To have only two guys binned and not be under the sticks for a penalty try was frustrating, but that's life.

"Once they got away from us, they were away and we had no way of clawing that back."

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Banahan; Ford, Stringer; James, Batty, Wilson, Hooper (capt), Attwood, Burgess, Louw, Houston.

Replacements: Auterac for James (45), Thomas for Wilson (48), Day for Hooper (52), Webber for Batty (53), Garvey for Burgess (54), Fearns for Houston (57), Devoto for Eastmond (67), Cook for Stringer (71).

Sin bin: Watson (32), Houston (34).

Leicester: Morris; Thompstone, Tait, Loamanu, Goneva; Burns, Ben Youngs (capt); Ayerza, Tom Youngs, Cole, Thorn, Kitchener, Slater, Salvi, Crane.

Replacements: Bell for Morris (44), Gibson for Crane (54), Harrison for Ben Youngs (61), Catchpole for Tait (67), Briggs for Youngs (69), Balman for Cole (70), Rizzo for Ayerza (70), De Chaves for Kitchener (70).

Attendance: 13,349.

Referee: JP Doyle (RFU).

Kyle Eastmond
Kyle Eastmond's try put Bath firmly in control at a sold-out Recreation Ground
Matthew Tait and Ben Youngs
Ten-time Premiership champions Leicester dominated territory but only scored one try
Peter Stringer and George Ford
Peter Stringer (left) scored on his final home appearance for Bath

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