Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby Geordan Murphy has defended the selection of an extremely inexperienced side that was thumped at home by Bath. Stuart Hooper’s team remained firmly in the play-off picture by crushing the callow Leicester Tigers side 38-16 at Welford Road, with England head coach Eddie Jones watching in the stands.

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Leicester fielded one of their youngest starting line-ups in Premiership history, with head coach Steve Borthwick handing out three debuts, making 13 changes and resting all his England contingent apart from prop Dan Cole.

Bath showed no mercy, cruising home at the start of a hectic period when all Premiership clubs will play three games in just over a week.

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The visitors scored four first-half tries through front-row forwards Will Stuart, Tom Dunn and Lewis Boyce, while wing Ruaridh McConnochie also touched down and fly-half Rhys Priestland kicked three conversions.

One-way traffic continued in the second period as prop Beno Obano and substitute back Tom De Glanville – son of former England captain Phil De Glanville – added further tries, with scrum-half Ben Spencer kicking one conversion.

All Leicester could manage were two early Johnny McPhillips penalties and consolation tries from replacement hooker Charlie Clare and flanker Luke Wallace.

Asked about Tigers’ team selection, Leicester rugby director Geordan Murphy said: “We picked the side as a coaching group together, and we were in agreement with the side we wanted to pick.

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“It was really important on the back of the short pre-season we had that we gave guys the opportunity to go and play.

“We thought the best thing for us was to rotate and give the guys an opportunity to play.

“Obviously, we are not happy with the result, but the young guys did a pretty reasonable job and they will learn from that and benefit down the line.

“We started the game very well, but we gave away a couple of poor penalties and gave them opportunities.

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“At half-time when we were 26-6 down against a side with that experience, and we had an inexperienced side, there is always a danger you could capitulate and it could have been 60.

“The guys put in a lot of effort. We did a lot of good things.”

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