Bath to pull the plug on Tigers resurgence

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Can Anthony Watson redeem himself after a horror-show at Leicester back in January?

Two sides whose confidence is riding high on the back of good runs in both the Gallagher Premiership and European Challenge Cup come together for a do-or-die game in terms of their play-off hopes.

Leicester are one place and one point better off than their hosts in seventh place with a win for either team guaranteeing them a top-half position come the end of Round 15.

With only seven games remaining after this, there is no margin for error and, given we’re approaching high stakes territory, both teams may have to fight for their points a little harder than at Welford Road earlier this season when the Tigers 36-31.

With Bath and Leicester having been involved in a series of high-scoring matches of late – the aggregate number of points from their last four fixtures is 64.25 points and 62.5 points, respectively – the total match points line is understandably high at 54.5 points, but we’re erring on the side of caution.

Key to Leicester’s win last time out was George Ford’s impossible-to-deal-with ‘spiral bomb’ – Anthony Watson probably has nightmares still – Jasper Wiese’s hard carrying and the assurance of Freddie Seward at the back. 

Seward outplayed Watson hands down and the England full-back will have a point to prove today. He is a generous 23/10 to be an anytime try-scorer with Paddy Power.

First for fun

Bath raced into a 14-0 lead in Leicester back in January and tend to be a ‘busy’ first-half team, scoring 24 of their 40 league tries before the interval. Just under half of the 56 tries they have leaked came in the first 40, too.

Tigers score on average 1.2 first-half tries to Bath’s 1.7 but only conceded an average of 1.3 to the blue, black and whites’ 1.9. Steve Borthwick’s side are more inclined to build a score through the boot of Ford, with 21 of their 32 penalties kicked coming in this period.

Again, the first-half points line of 27.5 looks frustratingly accurate, so our recommended bet – as well as the Watson punt – is for each team to score at least one try in each half (4/7, Paddy Power) and a modest investment on Bath to win by 6-10 points (5/1, various).

Bath: 15. Anthony Watson, 14. Joe Cokanasiga, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Will Muir, 10. Josh Matavesi, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Beno Obano, 2. Jack Walker, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Charlie Ewels ©, 6. Taulupe Faletau, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Zach Mercer.
Replacements: 16. Jacques du Toit, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Mike Williams, 20. Miles Reid, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Orlando Bailey, 23. Alex Gray.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green, 6 George Martin, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Jasper Wiese.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Matt Scott.

 

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