Live updates on the action from the Recreation Ground
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Northampton 24-29 Saracens: Farrell inspires Sarries to reach final
24 min: Auterac is on temporarily while James is treated. James was penalised for leading with his head in a tackle, Burns’ kick lacks certainty but it’s between the posts and that should settle his nerves.
22 min: Leicester showing lots of energy and are working hard to make ground but they cannot find a decisive break. Tait goes closest but play is stipped for a head injury sustained by James, who collides with Goneva’s knee as the Leicester player ran towards him. There’s quite a lot of blood but he does not appear dazed so should continue once the flow is stemmed.
20 min: The frantic start has been tempered and Leicester have plenty of the ball. Burns finds touch from halfway and Tom Youngs will deliver another lineout inside the Bath 22.
18 min: Leicester win a second penalty within kicking distance and this time Burns hits the left-sided post. Only two Leicester players follow it up for and Bath clear to halfway.
16 min: From the lineout, Leicester go back on the attack via Tait and Bath concede another penalty before the visitors progress to within 10m of the line. Burns gives it to Goneva who gives it to Tait and he is halted. They spill the ball, Stringer picks it up and swiftly hoofs away.
14 min: Bath concede a penalty from a second scrum in the same area. Burns kicks to just outside the 22. The lineout progresses to Loamanu and he drives forward before being smashed by Louw. But Leicester recycle, make a few yards through Slater and Crane but the former wraps himself over the ball and Bath force the turnover. Ford clears to touch near halfway.
10 min: Eight phases later, Leicester take possession on their own 10 but they meet some powerful resistance and fail to make ground, moving sideways, before the move breaksdown near halfway and Bath are awarded a scrum. The evergreen Stringer – he’s now 37! – to put in.
8 min: Bath have started so, so well. A Burns kick is caught by Watson deep in his 22 but he bursts forward and break past halfway with a stunning turn of pace.
7 min: And Burns cannot find the target, shaping his kick too far to the left.
4 min: Leicester, orange-clad today, are attacking immediately from the restart and soon make it into the Bath 22. Goneva makes a break before Tait feeds Loamanu before Ford produces a really good tackle. Bath are then penalised for offside, Burns goes to touch, and after the lineout, with an advantage to play, attempts a speculative chip which produces nought. We will go back for the penalty a little bit to the right of the posts.
2 min: What a start! There are only 90 seconds on the clock when Ford picks out Joseph on his left. His shimmy buys him a yard of space before picking out Banahan who goes over into the corner. The conversion is a difficult one but Ford finds his range.
1 min: Eastmond sends it back, Burns skies it back to Eastmond, who is tackled in the air by Watson and Ford sends the penalty to touch on the Leicester 22.
Freddie Burns gets us going.
Here come the teams! It looks like a lovely day in Bath – certainly brighter than the charcoal sky outside my office window in London – and the pitch is said to be firm. This should flow a bit more than Saints-Sarries.
It has been five years since Bath were last in the play-offs. So much has changed at the Rec since and while it would be easy to list off a series of weak motoring puns about the Fords, much of this season’s success can boil down to the father and son combo.
George has been this season’s standout performer at fly-half, deservedly named player of the year, and his father, Mike, displayed such impressive tactical nous throughout he was named coach of the year. “If you’re not feeling good for these kind of games you’re probably in the wrong business,” George says in the run-up to this one.