Planet Rugby

'Liefling' Leicester's new darling

04th October 2008 16:12

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Alesana Tuilagi EDF v Bath

Too Strong: Alesana breaks thorugh some Bath tackles

Derick Hougaard kicked himself immediately into the hearts of his new public at Leicester, landing three penalties, a conversion and a drop goal to help the Tigers to a 19-15 win over Bath in the EDF Energy Cup at the Rec on Saturday.

Reunited with his former Blue Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer - but absent for the first portion of the season because of a shoulder injury - Hougaard was a calming influence when Bath threatened to overrun the visitors.

Both sides made wholesale changes after midweek victories in the Guinness Premiership, which confirmed them as the top two in the league.

Bath included scrum-half Scott Bemand, who was making his first full outing since signing from the Tigers, while there were also debuts for former Northampton player Robbie Kydd and Shontayne Hape - the club's latest recruit from rugby leaue.

The hosts showed their attacking intent from the second minute when Kydd led a counter up the left wing and just three minutes later they opened the scoring through right-wing Andrew Higgins after Michael Stephenson came across from the left to open up the Tigers defence. Kydd was wide with the conversion.

Hougaard kicked his first points in English rugby almost immediately as Bath were penalised at the breakdown and he added a second penalty on 15 minutes from longer range.

Before the hosts had time to regroup scrum-half Youngs scooted through a spread-eagled defence after Ben Hemingway had stolen a line-out.

Bath continued to move the ball wide at every opportunity and Ayoola Erinle performed heroics to prevent Higgins scoring again, turning over possession into the bargain.

Hougaard was off-target with another long-range penalty and then a last-ditch tackle by Kydd halted a storming run by lock Sam Raven.

Although Bath lost second row Justin Harrison to a shoulder injury on 27 minutes then continued to attack from all parts of the field, Hape impressing with some subtle touches.

The Kiwi was twice involved in a thrust from deep but the try, when it came, had a touch of farce as Sam Vesty scuffed his clearance kick to Higgins, who touched down in the corner.

However, Kydd could not convert and Leicester held a 13-12 lead at the break.

As the predicted rain rolled in from the west, scoring opportunities were severely restricted in the second half.

The one-point margin was maintained as Kydd and Hougaard exchanged penalties and the closest Leicester came to a try was when Alesana Tuilagi bulldozed his way just short of the line, only to be penalised for holding on.

Hougaard stretched the lead to four points with a drop goal in the 70th minute and Bath were unable to make any impression.

The scorers:

For Bath:

Tries: Higgins 2

Con: Kydd

Pen: Kydd

For Leicester

Try: Youngs

Con: Hougaard

Pens: Hougaard 3

Drop goal: Hougaard

Bath: 15 Robbie Kydd, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Shontayne Hape, 12 Tom Cheeseman, 11 Andrew Higgins, 10 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 9 Scott Bemand, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Josh Ovens, 5 Scott Hobson, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 David Flatman (c).

Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Nathan Catt, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Adrian Griffith, 21 Mike Baxter, 22 Rhys Crane.

Leicester: 15 Sam Vesty, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Ayoola Erinle, 12 Tom Youngs, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Brett Deacon (c), 7 Seb Pearson, 6 Dan Hemingway, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Sam Raven, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Mefin Davies, 1 Boris Stankovich.

Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Santiago Bonorino, 18 Marco Wentzel, 19 Tom Armes, 20 Sam Harrison, 21 Matt Smith, 22 Will Hurrell.

Referee: Dean Richards (England)

Touch judges: Stuart Terheege (England), Roger Baileff (England)

Assessor: Clive Leeke (England)

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