Butch back with a bang

Butch James helped Bath torture Leicester’s Tigers in his comeback game.

The Bok World Cup-winning flyhalf, outstanding in the first month of the season before dislocating his shoulder, played for the first time in two months as Bath hammered Leicester 26-12.

James kicked three penalties and a conversion in an impressive return which will give Bok coach Peter de Villiers a bit more comfort. De Villiers is a known fan of Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant, but outside Grant there has been nothing to enthuse about among South African Super 14 flyhalves.

James, superb in the World Cup final, adds to De Villiers’s options, but to be in contention he needs to be playing.

Bath, with James back and strengthened by six current and former England internationals in the pack, crushed Leicester in the first half and led 23-0 after 43 minutes.

The Tigers fought back in the last quarter, but their second try five minutes from time could not make up for the embarrassment of the first 40 minutes.