Aviva Premiership: Three red cards as Leicester Tigers beat Bath at Welford Road
Last Updated: 01/12/12 3:47pm
Matt Banahan of Bath tackles Leicester's Graham Kitchener
Leicester Tigers emerged from a bad-tempered end to their game with Bath with a 17-12 victory in an encounter that saw three red cards handed out.
Bath finished the game with 13 men, having had Francois Louw and Matt Banahan sent off, and at one stage they had only 12 on the field as Stephen Donald was sent to the sin-bin.
Simon Taylor had previously also seen yellow for Bath while the Tigers had Brett Deacon sent off at the same time as Banahan walked for Bath.
It was an eventful game for Donald who along with his yellow card also scored Bath's first try of the game and converted their second from Tom Biggs.
Four penalties from George Ford and a try for Adam Thompstone did the damage for the hosts as they got the better of a frantic last 20 minutes with a flurry of cards being handed out.
Fly-half Donald gave Bath the lead after just 12 minutes, but after he missed the conversion that proved to be the only scoring of a scrappy first half.
Both kickers were guilty of missing early penalties, while the Tigers nearly drew level midway through the first half as they put several well-worked phases of play together but Niall Morris' try was ruled out by the TMO for a forward pass by Graham Kitchener.
Both teams played some enterprising rugby despite the anarchy and ill-discipline of the first ever Premiership encounter to feature three red cards but Leicester held on to continue their excellent home record against their arch enemy.
George Ford did finally find his kicking boots to get the home side on the scoreboard with a penalty early in the second half and, after Simon Taylor was sent to the sin bin, he edged his team in front with another long-range attempt.
With Bath down to 14 men, Thompstone finished off an overlap and Ford added another penalty to put the hosts ahead again before the match became almost farcical with players exiting the fray left, right and centre.
Leicester weren't ahead for long though as Donald's long pass put Banahan away down the left wing and the giant centre popped the ball inside for Biggs to stroll over the whitewash.
A feisty encounter then turned distinctly sour moments later as the influential South African Louw was sent off for the use of an elbow, prompting a lengthy period of ill-discipline from both sides.
Banahan was given a red card for a nasty-looking high tackle that left Anthony Allen out cold for quite some time and Deacon suffered the same fate for throwing a punch at the Bath centre in the aftermath.
The drama didn't end there as the TMO was called into again soon afterwards and Donald was sin-binned for flailing his arms in the direction of replacement Dan Bowden's face.
Amid it all, Ford slotted over another three points with the aid of the left-hand post to stretch the Tigers' lead and the severely depleted Bath outfit were never really likely to mount a comeback.
Sat 16th May
Bath50 - 30Gloucester
Exeter44 - 16Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers22 - 14Northampton
London Irish40 - 40Wasps
London Welsh17 - 68Saracens
Newcastle Falcons37 - 21Harlequins
Sat 23rd May - Semi Final
Northampton0 - 0Saracens
Bath0 - 0Leicester Tigers