Thursday, 20 August 2020

Leicester vs Bath preview by Tom Dabinett

Leicester Tigers Vs Bath Rugby Preview. 

Referee: Karl Dickson 

Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Jack Makepeace 

TMO: David Grasshoff

Citing Commissioner: Tony Diprose



Tigers win

Bath wins: 29

Draws: 5


25/1/20 Premiership: Bath 13-10 Tigers 

5/10/2019 Premiership Rugby Cup: Bath 7-18 Leicester 

18/05/2019 Premiership: Tigers 31-32 Bath 

Last weekend both teams gave a good account of themselves. Although differing results. 

Bath ran out fairly comfortable winners 34-17 over London Irish at The Rec as Leicester made the 
trip down the M5 to Sandy Park to play Exeter, where the hosts got a hard-fought 26-13 win. 

I saw a big improvement in the Tigers’ performance, especially in the first 40, even with a few 
lesser-known names such as winger David Williams, full-back George Worth and back-rower 
Tommy Reffell in the starting line up. Although a couple of the more experienced heads impressed 
me, the likes of Dan Cole, the Youngs brothers and former Bath fly-half George Ford really took 
the game by the scruff of the neck before Exeter's organisation and cohesion shone through to 
take the win in the second half. I asked Tigers supporters Dan Pennington & Shaun Gibson for 
their thoughts on the game;

“Definitely an improvement. The first 35 minutes were brilliant and even when Exeter took charge 
a bit, we stayed in the game and heads didn’t drop. Definite shouts of recovery” Dan also shared 
his thoughts on the fixture this coming Saturday;

“I’m expecting a close game, any little extra improvement will be welcomed. The same level of grit 
and intensity and we’ll be in the hunt, but Bath are looking good. Saturday is a good chance to 
run out a few new plans before next season” said Dan.

Shaun added; 

“The way I saw it was very positive. First 20-25 our defence was very aggressive and knocking 
Exeter back for 6 phases a number of times. The line-out has been a major issue for a few 
seasons but it is already much improved. Clear signs of Borthwick’s signature. They (the players) 
seem much fitter and didn’t let going behind dampen the spirits and they kept going” 

I agree with Dan I think the game is going to 
be tight and how the two scrum-halves get 
on maybe the difference on the day. Ben 
Spencer (left) really impressed on his debut, 
scoring the first try of the game running in 
from his own 22 after intercepting a Curtis 
Rona offload. Spencer also controlled the 
game well with the speed of ruck ball he 
produced. He was calm and patient when 
needed and quick and zippy when attacking 
in and around the 22. His box kicking was 
exceptional. You can see the influence 
Richard Wigglesworth has had on him. The 
Bath game plan under Stuart Hooper this season has been what many consider as ’10 Man Rugby’ and to do this effectively you need a 
quality half-back partnership. With the addition of Spencer, we are well on the way to having just 
that. He’s going to get the chance to be the first 
choice 9 and the general every pack needs. On 
the other side of the coin, nobody knows how 
to control a game at Welford Road better than 
Ben Youngs (right).

I anticipate minimal changes from Bath, with 
the changes coming next week with 
Wednesday's trip to Franklins Gardens. I’m 
predicting a change in the second row. With 
Josh McNally, who was hooked off at half time 
against Irish dropping out of the 23 altogether 
with Elliot Stooke being promoted from the 
bench and returning academy graduate Will 
Spencer coming onto the bench against his 
former employers. Also would not be surprised if 
the loose-heads swapped places. With Obano coming into start and Lewis Boyce dropping to the 
bench. Saying that, Lewis Boyce did absolutely nothing wrong, but with the impact, Beno had off 
the bench I think it's hard not to start him this week. 

Leicester Tigers vs Bath Rugby or Bath Rugby vs Leicester Tigers has always been special, 
especially for my family as my wife, Hannah and her family (for some reason and for their sins 
support the Tigers)  

Bath Supporter Ryan North is looking forward to the game.

“ So Leicester Tigers away at Welford Road. For a long time, those words would strike fear into 
most Bath fans. But Bath have won there the last two seasons by small margins and despite 
Leicester being at the bottom end of the table it’ll be another tight affair. There’s bound to be 
squad rotation with the Northampton Saints game on Wednesday night and I’m interested to see 
what kind of side Bath put out with the way the table is. I’m going Bath by 4 COYB!”

So all in all supporters of both sides think it will be tight and looking at the results of the last 3 
times the sides have met then that would suggest it’ll be the case again on Saturday. Bath by 6. 

By Tom Dabinett for BathBytes 

(twitter: @tomdabs) 

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