Aviva Premiership: George Ford kicks 17 points in Bath victory over Leicester
Last Updated: 14/09/13 10:10pm
George Ford (middle): Kicked five penalties and a conversion for his new team Bath
Bath's George Ford kicked five penalties and a conversion to inflict a first defeat of the new season on Aviva Premiership champions Leicester.
Ford, an ex-world junior player of the year, quit Welford Road this summer, helped Gary Gold's men to a tense 27-20 success at The Rec.
He converted centre Jonathan Joseph's first-half interception try and after Tigers were briefly reduced to 13 men when front-row forwards Tom Youngs and Logovi'i Mulipola received yellow cards Matt Banahan scored before the break.
That score handed the home side a commanding 18-point interval advantage although Leicester displayed admirable character and they fought back brilliantly.
Second-half tries by Steve Mafi, Ed Slater and Vereniki Goneva ultimately secured a losing bonus point.
It ensured a pulsating climax in the 100th-year anniversary fixture between two of English rugby's fiercest rivals, but Bath did enough to make it two wins from two after they triumphed at Newcastle last week.
Leicester, ravaged by an alarming early-season injury count that ruled out star players like Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft, enjoyed second-half dominance.
They scored 12 unanswered points from 21-3 adrift, but Ford - son of Bath first-team coach Mike Ford - calmed Bath's nerves, edging his team over the line despite Goneva's late effort.
There was a stoppage of almost 10 minutes near the end while Bath's replacement hooker Ross Batty required treatment before being carried off after he was felled attempting a tackle. It appeared to be a serious injury.
Play resumed with just over seven minutes remaining on the countdown clock and Bath turned the screw in terms of territory, which gave Ford a match-clinching penalty chance that he gratefully accepted.
Bath will head to Saracens next weekend seeking a third successive victory of their Premiership campaign.