Champions Cup: Bath v Leinster

The defending European champions head to The Rec with Sexton and co back in the saddle

Patrick Madden Sat, Dec 8
LIVE: Champions Cup: Bath v Leinster

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  • Good afternoon!

    Welcome to our coverage of Leinster's Champions Cup clash with Bath at The Rec (kick-off 3.15pm).

    Memories of November and Ireland's famous win over New Zealand are still brilliantly fresh in the memory - but there's no time for a comedown.

    This afternoon Leinster welcome back their core of All Blacks-slayers, as they bid to get the defence of the Champions Cup back on track.

    Leo Cullen's side were left with the strange taste of defeat in their mouths after their second round trip to Toulouse, as they were edged out by a point in France.

    Today they travel to play struggling Bath hunting for a victory which would see them return to the top of Pool One.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action throughout the afternoon, as Leinster's pursuit of a fifth European title resumes.

    Come on!!!


    Bath: R McConnochie; S Rokoduguni, J Willison, J Roberts, J Cokanasiga; J Wilson, W Chudley; N Catt, T Dunn, H Thomas; D Attwood, C Ewels (capt); T Ellis, S Underhill, F Louw. Replacements: J Walker, J van Rooyen, M Lahiff, E Stooke, M Garvey, K Fotuali’i, C Vuna, A Davies.

    Leinster: R Kearney; J Larmour, G Ringrose, N Reid, J Lowe; J Sexton (capt), L McGrath; C Healy, S Cronin, T Furlong; D Toner, J Ryan; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, D Leavy. Replacements: J Tracy, E Byrne, A Porter, R Molony, J Conan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, R O’Loughlin.

    Referee: M Raynal (France).

  • Scott Fardy misses out this afternoon because of those pesky rules about non-European players. You can only have two Kiwis/Aussies in each European squad, and an injury to deputy scrumhalf Nick McCarthy means Jamison Gibson-Park is selected in the 23 along with James Lowe.

    James Ryan and Devin Toner start in the secondrow in Fardy's absence. Bath beware.

  • Scandal in south-west England as Bath confiscate 1,500 flags from Leinster supporters.

    They may take our flags, but they'll never take our Furlong. . .

  • Gavin Cummiskey is our man in Bath today, you can read his match preview HERE.
  • Big result in Pool Two 2 - Gloucester have beaten Exeter 27-19 at Sandy Park. That's a potentially big result for Munster, who play Castres tomorrow.
  • 15 mins until kick-off!
  • It's chucking it down at The Rec.
  • Bath are very light at outhalf, with Rhys Priestland and Freddie Burns both injured. 35-year-old utility back James Wilson takes the number 10 jersey today and gets to line up opposite the World Player of the Year.
  • Here come the teams.
  • A few last gasps on his inhaler for Sean Cronin. Johnny Sexton has the ball in hand and will get us underway.


  • 1 min: Sexton's deep restart picks out the hefty frame of  Rokoduguni. Bath run a couple of phases before finding Sexton in backfield with a kick and he gets scragged. Solid ball retention from the visitors and McGrath boxkicks.
  • 2 min: Bath on the ball on the Leinster 10 - the old Welsh warhorse Jamie Roberts heavily involved. Bath kick through to Kearney who has to scramble to secure the ball before McGrath clears again.
  • 3 min: The ball is yet to go out of play from the restart and Bath are playing the rugby, trying to make an early statement. But they try to be too clever and Leinster turn it over in opposition territory. Ringrose kicks down the left and Lowe thunders through to collar Chudley. Bath under pressure before Wilson relieves into touch.
  • 4 min: First set-piece after nearly four minutes. Leinster win lineout ball on the Bath 22 before there's a Bath knock-on.
  • 6 min: Leinster's scrum outside the 22 has to be reset twice. Decent shunt from the visitors but the ball goes loose as Leavy tries to pick and go. Leavy recovers and Leinster attack the shortside but Ellis locks on over the ball and earns his side a penalty.
  • 8 min: Roberts carries inside the Leinster 22. Hooker Dunn clears Sexton out of the way but does so illegally. The World Player of the Year finds a good touch on the right.
  • 10 min: Big take from Toner at the lineout. Leinster move it and there's a high tackle on number 12 Reid.

    Sexton will look to get Leinster on the board from inside the 10-metre and to the right of the posts. He drills his kick and it hits the righthand post!


  • 12 min: A good passage from Bath, Chudley arcing a run and finding Roberts on a good line from deep. The hosts are carrying hard, Leinster just about living with them at the breakdown. Prop Thomas tries an adventurous ball off the deck which goes loose, Leinster scrum inside their own 10.  
  • 14 min: Scrum penalty for Leinster, Sexton with a touch finder up the left.
  • 15 min: Van der Flier knocks forward from the lineout. Bath just about hold firm to secure the ball and it's cleared deep to Lowe on the Leinster left.
  • 16 min: Sexton has taken one from Underhill. Bath's linespeed thus far has been impressive.
  • 18 min: Great carry from Underhill down the right, bursting into the Leinster 22. Kearney then scrambles to haul down Rokoduguni before Roberts picks and goes quickly. Bath are awarded a penalty for offside and they kick for a five-metre lineout.
  • 20 min: Great platform for Bath but the throw isn't straight. Leinster scrum.
  • TRY BATH!!!!!!!!!!
  • Leavy gets gobbled up at the base of the Leinster scrum and Bath force a huge turnover on the five. Bath throw bodies in and after a couple of short carries Thomas is driven over the line.

    Wilson converts.


  • 24 min: Leinster carrying on halfway, looking for their first sustained spell of possession. Lovely loop on the right between Lowe and Sexton, who scampers into the Bath half and is collared by Cokanasiga.

    Leinster have momentum for the first time and Ringrose then shows a trademark step and dances into the 22. Great defence under pressure from Bath - Ellis with another huge steal.

  • 27 min: Knock on from Bath, Reid spies space in behind on the right and turns  Cokanasiga with a kick. Great chase from Larmour, blue shirts flood in and win a penalty. Sexton sticks it into the corner.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!!!!
  • Leinster hit back as the lineout machine clicks into gear. Cronin hits Ruddock, the maul is formed. The visitors grind over and Cronin touches down at the base. Formidable.

    Sexton splits the posts.


  • 32 min: Good kick from Bath putting Kearney under pressure - he covers back and ducks under the covering  Cokanasiga. Cunning like a fox. Good recovery from Leinster, McGrath clearing the lines.
  • 34 min: An excellent line and barnstorming run through the heart of the defence from a tighthead prop - only for once it's from Bath's Thomas and not Leinster's Furlong. Try scorer Thomas thunders onto a short ball from Wilson on halfway, Kearney hauls him down on the 22. Luckily for Leinster the ball squirms forward.
  • 36 min: Leinster with a decent shunt at scrumtime and they looks to play their way out down the shortside, Ringrose bringing Larmour in off his wing. The visitors give the ball away but then earn a penalty on the Bath 10-metre after Louw goes in off his feet. Sexton finds touch, but not much of it.
  • 38 min: Good ball off the top for Leinster who move it left. Big carries from Ryan and then Leavy - the visitors are deep inside the Bath 22.
  • 40 min: 20 phases for Leinster, Bath defending grimly.
  • 41 min: Ringrose dummies and tries to scythe through - more excellent work from Louw over the top. Bath survive.
  • The teams are back out for the second half - and Taylor gets us back underway!
  • 41 min: Bath steam after the restart and Ruddock spills the ball. The hosts carrying hard on the Leinster 22,  Rokoduguni with a big rumble on the right. Eventually, Bath's bright start to the half is killed by a knock-on.
  • 43 min: Free kick for Leinster from the scrum. Sexton sends it high and it's well taken by McConnochie who carries back at the visitors. Bath concede a penalty on halfway though after a big tackle by Leavy - Sexton finds touch down the right.
  • 45 min: Leinster win the lineout ball and move it left, trying to build under the posts. It's not quite working for them at the moment and referee Raynal awards a penalty for crossing, which Sexton is hardly amused by. Bath clear to touch down the right.
  • 48 min: Good kick from Chudley down the right which Underhill wins ahead of Lowe. Good Bath pressure,  Rokoduguni carrying deep into the 22, but Leinster's scramble defence is excellent and Healy wins a penalty. This is a real battle.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!!!!
  • Cronin's lineout throw is horribly crooked and falls for a Bath shirt at the base. The hosts look to move it left but Wilson's misspass is well read and picked off by Larmour on halfway, and nobody is catching him as he scoots clear and under the posts.

    Sexton knocks over the converison.

    50 MIN: BATH 7 LEINSTER 14

  • 51 min: Toner is penalised on the deck and Bath have a chance to strike back quickly, but Wilson's effort from the 10-metre doesn't curl back inside.

    53 MIN: BATH 7 LEINSTER 14

  • 55 min: Leinster scrum on halfway, they work the shortside then come back into openfield through Reid. Reid thent ries to stab a kick through, giving the ball back to Bath. Not the smoothest of Leinster performances.
  • 57 min: There's a pedestrian passage of play as kicks are traded between both sides. Neither side have been able to gain any sustained territory.
  • 59 min: Big Leinster scrum on their 10, winning a penalty. Sexton finds a good touch on the right, just shy of the Bath 22.
  • 60 MIN: BATH 7 LEINSTER 14
  • 61 min: Ryan wins the lineout but Leinster have little go forward and the ball is sent high, McConnochie with another great take on the 22.  
  • 62 min: Leinster with the ball on halfway, Ryan with a big carry before Conan is driven back by Ellis. Luke McGrath opts for the box kick which again McConnoshie takes. This has hit a real flat spot.
  • 63 min: The TMO is called into action after Luke McGrath takes Chudley's boxkick and gets clotheslined by Cokanasgia. The Leinster nine was on his way to ground when he took the hit, so Raynal will only award the penalty.
  • 65 min: Leinster have a lineout deep inside the Bath 22 - but it gets pinched.
  • 66 min:  McConnochie has been excellent today and he takes another high ball under pressire from Larmour in the Bath 22.  
  • 68 min: Good kick down the left and Bath win the lineout on the Leinster 22, decent platform. They set the maul and grind slowly forward, Cokanasiga coming into the line from the shortside. Great hit in midfield on Walker and the ball goes forward, Bath are then pinged for offside.
  • 69 min: Great work over the ball from Underhill - the Bath backrow have been very good today. Ross Byrne is on for Reid.
  • 70 MIN: BATH 7 LEINSTER 14
  • 71 min: Thrilling passage. Bath are in the ascendancy in the Leinster 22 but the visitors turn it over. Gibson-Park finds Lowe who clears with a huge kick. Excellent Leinster kick chase - Lowe thumps  Cokanasiga - and blue shirts steam in to turn it over.

    Ross Byrne will go for goal with the penalty - splits the posts.


  • 75 min: This remains attritional, Leinster grinding it out in the mud. Bath need two scores.
  • 76 min: Deep kick to McConnochie who tries to scamper out of trouble but gets scragged by van der Flier. Deep Bath kick but it's straight to a Leinster shirt.
  • 78 min: Bath have the ball inside the Leinster 22. Lovely break from Willison up to the five but he can't get the ball away. Bath hammering away on the five - they've got a penalty advantage.
  • 80 min: Wilson knocks over a penalty from under the posts. That gives them the bonus point and they'll have one play to try and force the game.

    No they won't - that's yer lot.

  • James Ryan is named man of the match. That was a real battle.
  • Right, thanks for joining this afternoon. We'll be back tomorrow as Munster welcome Castres to Thomond Park. Gavin Cummiskey's match report from The Rec will be live shortly.