Gallagher Premiership: Bath go fifth with narrow win over Leicester, Bristol beat Newcastle in bottom-of-the-table clash
There were just two games in the Gallagher Premiership but both were absolute thrillers.
Below you can see the best of the action from Bath vs Leicester Tigers and Bristol vs Newcastle Falcons.
Bath 23-16 Leicester Tigers
Determined Bath climbed back into fifth place by beating Leicester 23-16 in the Gallagher Premiership.
Tries from Jamie Roberts, Mike Catt and Ruaridh McConnochie gave the home side enough of a platform to see off a Tigers comeback which earned a losing bonus point.
Buoyed by the bonus-point win over Harlequins that ended a run of seven defeats, Leicester took the lead after just two minutes as Jonny May latched on to a grubber kick by England team-mate George Ford, who also landed the conversion.
Bath responded with a sustained attack which earned a succession of penalties and a hard look from the TMO, but no try. Leicester had some respite when Ellis Genge won a scrum free-kick on his own line.
There was no let-up though and Francois Louw thought he had scored against the post on 19 minutes, only to be denied again by the TMO. Referee J P Doyle had been playing advantage so Burns kicked the penalty.
As Bath were enjoying nearly 80 per cent of territory and possession, skipper Will Chudley was stripped of the ball on the goal-line by Manu Tuilagi. Tigers won the scrum but hooker Jake Kerr spilled a pass from the resulting ruck and this time the home side were not to be denied.
Steady scrum ball allowed Chudley to feed Roberts on the crash ball on 27 minutes and Burns converted for a 10-7 lead.
Five minutes later he chased down Jonah Holmes deep into the visitors’ 22 and Catt was driven over for a second unconverted try to establish a two-score lead at the break.
A fast and furious start to the second half saw England flanker Sam Underhill helped off with his foot heavily strapped as Leicester started to threaten, eventually earning a penalty kicked by Ford.
But Bath’s riposte was immediate as Louw again broke the defensive line and swift passing gave McConnochie just enough space to evade Genge and score in the corner.
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That third unconverted try made the score 20-10 on 55 minutes but Leicester looked dangerous on the break as Ford continued to sniff out opportunities for his runners.
Ford twice brought the visitors into losing bonus-point range with two penalties while Rhys Priestland came off the bench to kick a goal from 45 metres for Bath.
Bristol 35-28 Newcastle Falcons
Bristol stormed back from a half-time deficit to pick up a valuable five Premiership points with a thrilling 35-28 victory against Newcastle at Ashton Gate.
Tom Pincus scored the match-winner three minutes from time with Bristol’s other tries coming from Charles Piutau, Luke Morahan and Harry Randall. Ian Madigan converted two and kicked two penalties with Callum Sheedy adding a penalty and a conversion.
Newcastle’s tries came from Vereniki Goneva, Adam Radwan and Callum Chick with Toby Flood converting two and kicking three penalties.
Bristol made an explosive start to take the lead after only 75 seconds with a brilliant try. A neat handling move saw Morahan make the crucial break before Randall showed strength to fend off the cover defence and force his way over.
Madigan converted before Falcons responded with a sustained period of pressure. Stern defence from the hosts kept their try-line intact but Flood put his side on the scoreboard with a simple penalty.
However, the visitors maintained their territorial dominance for the remainder of the first quarter and were rewarded with their first try when their pack drove Goneva over.
Flood converted before he extended the lead with his second penalty after Bristol wing Pincus was penalised for not releasing.
Newcastle then lost two players simultaneously with both Micky Young and John Hardie leaving the field for injury assessments before they suffered a further setback when Madigan knocked over a penalty.
The injury disruption did not stop Falcons’ momentum as their pack possessed too much power for Bristol, illustrated by their second try. The lively George McGuigan burst away from a line-out giving Chick the easy task of picking up and driving over.
Just before the interval, error-ridden Bristol rose from their slumbers with a free-flowing 60-metre move with Piutau, Dan Thomas and Chris Vui all making telling contributions but they lacked the accuracy to finish, leaving the hosts trailing 20-10 at half-time.
After the restart, Bristol continued their improvement to reduce the arrears when Madigan’s pass sent Piutau over.
The score galvanised Bristol, who regained the lead with their third try. Morahan secured a vital high ball to give his side a platform from which Harry Thacker sent Morahan sneaking over.
Madigan missed the touchline conversion but succeeded with a penalty to give transformed Bristol a 25-20 lead going into the final quarter.
Newcastle responded with their third try when Radwan won the race to touch down a well-judged kick from Flood for the wing to celebrate his 21st birthday in style.
Bristol immediately changed their half-backs with new fly-half Sheedy kicking a penalty. That was soon nullified by one from Flood, before a superb burst from Ed Holmes set up the winner for Pincus.
Source: SportsLatest TS