Bath 23-16 Leicester Tigers: Hosts up to fifth in Premiership with win

Semesa Rokoduguni tackles George Ford
George Ford kicked 11 points for Leicester to help his side to a losing bonus point
Gallagher Premiership
Bath (15) 23
Tries: Roberts, Catt, McConnochie Con: Burns Pens: Burns, Priestland
Leicester (7) 16
Try: May Con: Ford Pens: Ford 3

Bath moved up to fifth in the Premiership as they battled to a 23-16 victory over Leicester at The Rec.

Jonny May's try gave the Tigers the lead after gathering George Ford's kick forward, but Bath hit back with scores from Jamie Roberts and Nathan Catt.

A penalty from Ford cut the lead after the break before Ruaridh McConnochie crossed for the hosts.

Ford added two more penalties either side of a Rhys Priestland kick to help the Tigers secure a losing bonus point.

Leicester, who ended their worst run of form since 1975 with victory over Harlequins last time out, took the lead following a smart kick into space from Ford which allowed May to run in for his seventh league try of the campaign.

However, Bath dominated territory and possession in the first half, piling pressure on the Tigers line and, after having two potential scores ruled out by the television match official, went ahead through Roberts' converted try.

Catt powered over to give them a 15-7 lead at the break, but the Tigers began to threaten more in what was an attritional second half.

McConnochie showed a turn of pace to race down the wing for Bath's third try, although the hosts could not find the fourth score which would have put them level on points with fourth-placed Harlequins.

The Blue, Black and Whites, who beat Wasps before Christmas, also lost captain Matt Garvey and England flanker Sam Underhill to ankle injuries as they ended 2018 with back-to-back wins.

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder:

"I was really pleased with our persistence and resilience in playing at the right end of the field, just keeping attacking.

"Sam Underhill was brilliant. He and Francois Louw were all over the ball.

"Will Chudley drove our forwards and his man-management skills were right up there, producing lightning-quick ball.

"If we were playing on the front foot it was because he was delivering those really good passes."

On Underhill's injury: "He's just rolled his ankle. It was serious enough for him to come off."

Leicester director of rugby Geordan Murphy:

"We started the game really well. There were some very positive moments defensively and we worked really hard for each other.

"Bath were big and physical and came at us, but we made some great tackles. Little things didn't go for us and we found ourselves behind.

"You couldn't fault the effort, though, as sometimes you come out the wrong side of it.

"Some big decisions didn't go our way, but that wasn't the reason we lost. It's tough in this league at the moment - it's a dogfight."

Bath: Wilson; Rokoduguni, Wright, Roberts, McConnochie; Burns, Chudley (co-capt); Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Garvey (co-capt), Stooke, Ellis, Underhill, Louw.

Replacements: Batty, Van Rooyen, Lahiff, Ewels, Mercer, Green, Priestland, Vuna.

Leicester Tigers: Worth; Holmes, Tuilagi, Toomua, May; G Ford (capt), B Youngs; Genge, Kerr, Cole, Wells, Kitchener, Fitzgerald, O'Connor, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Polota-Nau, Ma'afu, Heyes, Williams, Evans, White, Owen, J Olowofela.

Referee: JP Doyle (RFU).

For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunionexternal-link on Twitter.