In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath


Mercer: handful
By P G Tips
May 15 2019

Bath’s final Premiership fixture takes them into the lair of old rivals Leicester Tigers. Time was when Leicester v Bath was a mouth watering, red -blooded encounter fought tooth and claw which players and fans relished. Since 2015 those days have gone, with both teams in decline, neither hitting the heights they aspire to and their fans demand. This season Tigers’ claws have been blunted at home in 5 Premiership games, most recently by Bristol Bears. So, will they prove to be man eaters or easy meat?

Having lit a ray of hope with a late flourish against Wasps, Bath will hope to snatch another dramatic win against once iconic foes and secure Champions Cup rugby for next season.  However, having last won an away Premiership tie in December and since allowed four late leads to slip through their fingers, few would bet on Bath to beat a caged beast desperate to salvage some pride.

 

Tigers have been condemned as having the “worst attack in the Premiership” which seems surprising given their backline talent – Ford, Tuilagi, Toomua, Veianu, May and Worth all dangerous runners. It is also harsh as their 44 tries outperform Falcon’s meagre 41 and are not far behind Sale’s 45 and Bath’s 48. It is in defence and discipline surely where Leicester most lack the bite of old? They have conceded 77 tries this campaign, 14 more than relegated Newcastle and 26 more than Bath. Their discipline has also cost them 187 minutes with fewer than 15 players on the pitch. In their last 4 Premiership matches they have given away 12 penalties a match, while themselves relying on George Ford’s kicking for 65% of their points. Most tellingly for this weekend, they will be without Toomua, released early to return to Australia, Tuilagi who is injured and possibly even Eastmond, who has not played for a month.

 

With the talent they have behind the scrum it is tempting to blame Leicester’s forwards for their demise. Certainly they do not seem to possess the snarl and roar of previous years but Bath, threadbare themselves up front through injury, cannot afford to take them lightly. Tom Youngs is available again post suspension, Genge, Kalamafoni and Thompson are fiery and talented carriers while Polota –Nau, Cole, Kitchener and Spencer are seasoned warriors. Most of all though, this is Leicester v Bath and the Welford faithful will be baying for blood. Taming this tiger will not be easy –or for the faint hearted.

 

Against Wasps Bath showed welcome attacking intent offering promise of more to come as the Dempsey attacking philosophy develops. They also produced an intense storm in the last 20 minutes, dominating possession and territory and through a mixture of flair, doggedness and almost foolhardy bravado notched 3 tries in 7 minutes to snatch the match. Mercer, Watson, Joseph and McConnochie in particular were handfuls for the defence throughout, the bench all played their part and once Bath got Joe Cokanasiga into the game they looked increasingly likely to triumph. More of the same will be required, especially from the forwards.

 

Bath fans will sadly not be able to see Dave Attwood in action one last time- his knee injury has ended his season. Luke Charteris is also “officially retired” having not fully recovered from concussion, nor will Mike Roberts be fit. There is better news though for the front row where Antony Perenise and Max Lahiff are both fit and ready. Freddie Burns has been cleared to start, hopefully to show Leicester they erred when they released him two seasons ago.

 

Leicester: Bath encounters usually have at least one sub plot. On this occasion, relegation for Tigers will not be among them as Newcastle failed to rescue their season in the last round. There is though the small matter of West Country bragging rights, Bristol having done the double over Tigers this season and the fact that Bath must get a 5 point victory to be certain of securing 6th place and top European qualification in face of Sale’s challenge. The squad’s reaction to the recent coaching announcements is perhaps the most fascinating sub plot. They pulled out the stops for Blackadder’s last home game. Will they answer the sceptics with a similar showing to welcome the new DOR & return of Neal Hatley?

 

In his great book “Man Eaters of Kumaon” famed man eater hunter and conservationist Jim Corbett wrote “when India’s last tiger dies, India will be the poorer, having lost the finest of her beasts.” Many pundits would feel the same were Leicester’s Tigers to depart the top flight. Bath though will have no qualms in consigning them to their worst season for more than 30 years –if they can.

 

Possible Teams:
Bath:
, Obano, Dunn, Lahiff, Ewels (Capt.), Stooke, Ellis, Underhill, Mercer. Chudley, Burns. Cokanasiga, Wright, Joseph, McConnochie. Watson.

 

Replacements: v Rooyen, Walker, Perenise, Douglas, Reid, Cook, Davies, Rokodoguni

 

Leicester Tigers: Genge, Youngs, Cole, Kitchener, Spencer. Williams, Thompson, Kalamafoni. Harrison, Ford (capt.). May, Worth, Smith, Aspland-Robinson. Veianu

Replacements: Kerr, Polota- Nau, Heyes, Fitzgerald, O’Connor. White, Ford, Olowofela.

 

 

pqs: qs:
Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Comeonmylovers.co.uk (IP Logged)
Date: 15/05/2019 19:15

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:05:17:11:59:06 by P G Tips.

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Bathovalballer (IP Logged)
Date: 15/05/2019 20:52

Superb summary as always PGT. Well done.

Regrettably, I cannot see us winning as our pack is somewhat neutered with no Attwood and will be out fought/muscled by Leicester's wizened older players and are not up to their physical challenge. Tigers will play keep ball and kick for position and George will wait for the penalties to come and mount on the scoreboard.

Unless things change, with no noticeable replacement for the likes of Attwood, we will have to get used to our pack being bullied, as has happened over the last 2/3 seasons, and will continue next year unless some of our forwards muscle up and grow some. Sale and Bristol are building huge physical strong packs which will blow us away unless things change and the late arriving Hatley can reverse things. Hooper thinking/planning that the forwards he will have available can dominate sides is on current evidence a pipe dream and one that we will suffer from. Similarly, if we get in the top Euro competition, without rough tough forwards we will only be making up the numbers.

With the back 3 we are able to field, it is a criminal waste of talent when those guys will never get a regular flow of decent fast clean ball, especially for a 9 & 10 having to live off scraps from a retreating beaten pack.

Still I have renewed my season ticket and look forward to another season of rebuilding and underachieving.

Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa Rokoduguni

The Rock that is Semesa and how he will be rocking this season.

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Boldangrey (IP Logged)
Date: 15/05/2019 21:37

BoB Attwood has been off form in the last few games.

You obviously haven't been watching Stooke and Levi Douglas.

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: shipwrecked (IP Logged)
Date: 15/05/2019 23:05

Agree BnG, since you've been away BoB the club have recruited to have a decent set of forwards and added an excellent forwards coach. Your old argument has died a death.
In addition there is a danger in engaging in anti SH rhetoric you are contradicting yourself.

I don't like the absence of a new HC but Stuart Hooper is spot on with concentrating on the forwards, it all starts there. Backs will find ways of scoring tries behind a forward rumbling pack.

Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Sadly injured for the rest of the season!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Bathovalballer (IP Logged)
Date: 16/05/2019 08:53

Fully agree Shipwreck about sorting out the forwards but these signings and our existing pack have a mountain to climb when compared with the other Prem forward packs.

Stooke hasn't even got on the field in the last game and should be a nailed on starter from what I have seen. He shows more guts and grit than most and I watched the last TB video on Somerset Live and hear something about him not making enough tackles. Bizarre.

I have always been a fan of Douglas after seeing him in a United game 2 seasons ago, and have hopes he will fill out and develop into a top class forward. However he has a long way to go yet and similarly so has Ewels. When Douglas came on against Wasps, partnering Ewels, the first scrum dissolved as if no one was pushing. It didn't happen when Atters was there. Another reason for Stooke starting as well.

And Garvey is not and should never be a starting second row, bench cover at best. Perhaps he could captain the United.

As for the prop signings, at least they are young and will hopefully under Hatley's guidance get better as they get stronger and with more experience, but not for a season or two. Boyce has never kicked on at Quins and regrettably Stuart has got a serious injury which probably will mean he misses preseason. Now Judge does excite me, having seen him play for the Cornish Pirates and latterly hold his own at Saracens.

As a fan, I have watched every Bath game but one this season and can see the glaring weaknesses in skill levels, passing, support running, driving maul (which is why we should never attempt one near the try line), decision making and on field leadership. The latter could paper over many cracks but the troops either are not 'led' or cannot be bothered or ignor the leader. To me this is a real problem that needs resolving.

This Tigers game is a good place to start as they are playing poorly and lack personnel and confidence. If we have a modicum of pride and resilience, should consider this game as a win after our last game. However, with our mental fragility and unable to withstand pressure points in a game, I regret this will not be the case. Let's hope I am wrong.

Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa Rokoduguni

The Rock that is Semesa and how he will be rocking this season.

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Old Bath Tub (IP Logged)
Date: 16/05/2019 16:56

Good summary, Tigers may be off form but you can guarantee they won't be when playing Bath at Welford road !
I believe McNally will certainly add some go forward in the pack next season. (Sm128)

Adopted Player 2018/19 Ross Batty

"AN OUNCE OF ACTION IS WORTH A TON OF THEORY"
FRIEDRICH ENGELS

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Stopsy (IP Logged)
Date: 16/05/2019 18:03

Thanks PG tips, it depends on which Tigers team turns up and can they put it together for more minutes if they look like people who have met each other before.

The players arenít bad individuals but something is dreadfully wrong as a collective on and off the pitch.

I watched your game v Wasps and could only admire the fight.

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 11:58

Team Up. Watson's 100th appearance:

Bath Rugby team to face Leicester Tigers

15. Anthony Watson

14. Joe Cokanasiga

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Max Wright

11. Ruaridh McConnochie

10. Freddie Burns

9. Will Chudley

1. Beno Obano

2. Tom Dunn

3. Max Lahiff

4. Levi Douglas

5. Charlie Ewels (c)

6. Tom Ellis

7. Sam Underhill

8. Zach Mercer

Replacements

16. Ross Batty

17. Jacques van Rooyen

18. Sam Nixon

19. Elliott Stooke

20. Francois Louw

21. Kahn Fotualiíi

22. Rhys Priestland

23. Semesa Rokoduguni


PG

Re: In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Shadders (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 11:59

(double post)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:05:17:12:00:13 by Shadders.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:00

Would have preferred Stooke to start if honest. Surprised that Flouw is available - hope he is fit enough, but what a sub to bring on with the game in the balance!

COYB!

PG

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Shadders (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:02

Leicester Tigers (v Bath Rugby, Welford Road, Saturday 4.00pm)

15 George Worth

14 Sam Aspland-Robinson

13 Matt Smith

12 Kyle Eastmond

11 Clayton Blommetjies

10 George Ford

9 Sam Harrison

1 Ellis Genge

2 Tom Youngs (c)

3 Dan Cole

4 Will Spencer

5 Graham Kitchener

6 Mike Fitzgerald

7 Brendon OíConnor

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau

17 Facundo Gigena

18 Joe Heyes

19 Harry Wells

20 Valentino Mapapalangi

21 Ben White

22 Tom Hardwick

23 Leonardo Sarto

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:04

Thanks Shadders.

I can see this being one hell of a battle royal. Neither club's record suggests quality can be taken for granted, but this looks closely matched and could well be highly exciting.

PG

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Rawce (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:07

Tigers' pack should be doing a hell of a lot more than they have recently been achieving. Our team looks strong, stronger in the backs and bench I feel. Hopefully they continue to play slightly more like drains than us.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:09

Bath team looks strong - very pleased that Levi gets a chance to start after his cameo against Wasps. In the Chron Todd mentioned that Stooke was being rested after a long season but also that he wanted him to get involved a bit more when he comes on - I suspect that now he is seen as covering 6 he is being used as a strong and versatile lock / back row sub?

Leicesters team is reflective of their backs being down to bare bones due to injuries etc. and nothing but pride to play for - I'm sure that they will want to finish on a high at home after a tough season.

COYB!

[Adoptee 18/19: Man Mountain Dave Attwood, back in the BB&W and ready to smash]

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Bath Hammer (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:37

I must say that Iíve never heard of some of their backs which donít look too impressive. Their pack looks pretty strong though. No idea what to expect but we ought to have s good chance of 4 points but that may not be enough anyway.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Dorset Boy (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:44

Let's hope we can improve on our solitary Welford Road win since 2003...

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: gaz59 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:45

Quote:
Bath Hammer
I must say that Iíve never heard of some of their backs which donít look too impressive. Their pack looks pretty strong though. No idea what to expect but we ought to have s good chance of 4 points but that may not be enough anyway.

Well we know a lot about their 10 but 14 and 15 are young, fast and quality

I rate their bench 9 too

With usual 16th man of welford road it will be tough. Need to keep discipline as yellow cards will bolster tiger forwards and crowd but if we can do that and stop them slowing up our ball 5 points is very possible

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: ballsout (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 12:47

Their pack really isn't up to much, especially back 5.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: gaz59 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 13:51

Quote:
ballsout
Their pack really isn't up to much, especially back 5.

That is just so disrespectful. Spencer is a tough, hard running cookie, Kalamofoni can do the power stuff with big hits and carries, O'Connor more than a decent GP jackler and that's before you look at two international props

They may be seriously under-performing to date but the inspiration of one last performance for pride in front of home crowd against old foe could see a very different team

Just hope your statement doesn't find its way on to their dressing team wall for pre-match prep

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Shorty Shorty iiv (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 13:53

Glos not up for doing us any favours as they rest a lot for the trip to Sale, we're going to need those 5 points as Sale have more wins than us and 4 points would secure them 6th.

Gloucester Rugby:

Charlie Sharples; 14. Tom Seabrook, 13. Henry Purdy, 12. Matt Banahan, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Lloyd Evans, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Kyle Traynor, 2. Henry Walker, 3. Gareth Denman; 4. Tom Savage (capt), 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Jake Polledri, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Gareth Evans


Replacements:

Todd Gleave, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Paddy McAllister, 19. Alex Craig, 20. Aaron Hinkley, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Dom Coetzer, 23. Tom Marshall


Sale
Sale Sharks: 15.Chris Ashton; 14.Denny Solomona, 13.Sam James, 12.James OíConnor, 11.Byron McGuigan; 10.AJ MacGinty, 9.Faf de Klerk; 1.Ross Harrison, 2.Rob Webber, 3.WillGriff John, 4.Josh Beaumont, 5.James Phillips, 6.Ben Curry, 7.Tom Curry, 8.Jono Ross (capt.)

Replacements: 16.Curtis Langdon, 17.Valerey Morozov, 18.Joe Jones, 19.Bryn Evans, 20.Josh Strauss, 21.Will Cliff, 22.Luke James, 23.Arron Reed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:05:17:13:54:21 by Shorty Shorty iiv.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 13:59

If Sale can beat Glos then they have done something that we couldn't do this season in the league so they deserve it.

[Adoptee 18/19: Man Mountain Dave Attwood, back in the BB&W and ready to smash]

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: ballsout (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 14:25

Quote:
gaz59
Quote:
ballsout
Their pack really isn't up to much, especially back 5.

That is just so disrespectful. Spencer is a tough, hard running cookie, Kalamofoni can do the power stuff with big hits and carries, O'Connor more than a decent GP jackler and that's before you look at two international props

They may be seriously under-performing to date but the inspiration of one last performance for pride in front of home crowd against old foe could see a very different team

Just hope your statement doesn't find its way on to their dressing team wall for pre-match prep

I'm not sure if you're being serious or trying to parody Bathovalballer.

They're fine club players but if you want clue number 1 as to why Tigers aren't the force they once were, look at their forwards... Kalamafoni? O'Connor? Fitzgerald? Kitchener? Williams?

Let's be clear, I'm not saying the pack we're putting out tomorrow is any better, far from it, and I think we'll probably lose, but I can't agree they look "strong". First choice, sure but not "strong".

And if the Tigers forwards are so bothered what some bloke on a message board says about them then they really are in a hole.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019:05:17:14:28:08 by ballsout.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: gaz59 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 14:36

I don't have to parody BoB. Like Brexit, he just does that so well himself

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: abendanon-anon-anon (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 16:01

Crikey, if anyone needs cheering up, go and have a red of the Tiggers board - they are expecting a drubbing!

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 16:21

Yes they make this place seem positively chipper. Mind you we have become used to mediocrity but they are having to experience boom to bust.

Skybet has Bath by 4 so not sure about a drubbing (much as that would be nice).

[Adoptee 18/19: Man Mountain Dave Attwood, back in the BB&W and ready to smash]

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: tigerburnie (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 21:38

Tigers selections are odd, it's a farewell party side, yes there's a few carrying knocks, but had we needed to win this game for survival, then a lot of players would not be on early holiday leave and this side would not be taking the field.
I think Tigers fans are shell shocked with what has happened over the past few years, it feels like someone has turned the light off at the end of the tunnel. I still have a feeling that relegation might not have been such a bad thing, we seem to crashing from one rock to another with no one at the helm, hence the expectation of another inept performance tomorrow and a ship wreck at the end of it.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: dannyf2 (IP Logged)
Date: 17/05/2019 22:57

Quote:
abendanon-anon-anon
Crikey, if anyone needs cheering up, go and have a red of the Tiggers board - they are expecting a drubbing!

They unanimously have us taking 5 points tomorrow. And we thought our season had been ropey!

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: ballsout (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2019 00:39

Someone should tell them we've won 1 away game in eight months.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Bath Hammer (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2019 03:36

That seems to be an excessively pessimistic view from Tigers supporters. Obviously it would be great for us to win but having watched some of their recent matches they havenít been annihilated & we havenít been setting the rugby world on fire. I think we should totally disregard such comments as pride is a massive motivator & as BOB says just look at our away record.

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2019 07:06

Quote:
ballsout
Someone should tell them we've won 1 away game in eight months.

I did, but I was out-gloomed.

[Adoptee 18/19: Man Mountain Dave Attwood, back in the BB&W and ready to smash]

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: CoochieCoo (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2019 15:07

Sam Underhill is ill, so Francois Louw plays Jack Walker to bench.

http://zdgzqa.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p7Mwi7pLXeM89TY2KFdDQ-UUDGSv1FKNdhYdrW-koAuRN3tsqCPfE3onFxuO-3cZ0057Tom1uJai3vjkz3dvY_Q/1998%20Euro%20Champs.jpg http://zdgzqa.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pFul9UAV5zEXOzeRc1kmmlgDKXTYTIlTnGoQzYelH6KzdCeU-exN0IGo74QN2OGvlSoEiVjzAESvHx9BFlBsNFA/Bath%202008.jpg

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: Stopsy (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2019 20:26

It appears that our gloominess was warranted and predictions of a tbp win for Bath were right, thatís one thing we have got right this season sad smiley

Re: Team Up. In The Tiger Den: Leicester v Bath
Posted by: shipwrecked (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2019 22:46

Only just!

Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Sadly injured for the rest of the season!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg

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