BATH boss Todd Blackadder was a relieved man after his team claimed a first Aviva Premiership victory over Leicester at Welford Road since 2003.

Bath's 27-23 triumph came despite having three players - Kahn Fotuali'i, Matt Garvey and Matt Banahan - sin-binned during a frenzied final 12 minutes.

But they held on to give themselves a flying start in the league before hosting European champions Saracens next Saturday.

"I am just so pleased we hung on by our fingernails, basically," rugby director Blackadder said.

"Probably the question for us is that we shouldn't have put ourselves in that position. We had the game under control, and we let them back into it.

"I haven't really had a good look at them (yellow cards). But you can't afford to put yourself at risk. We could have got a yellow in the first half for what looked a high tackle that we probably got away with."

Bath's poor away form last season probably derailed their title play-off hopes, and Blackadder added: "All of our pre-season games were away, we have been training away once a week, and I thought the boys did a great job.

"Probably that last 20 minutes, there was a nagging doubt that we had been here before, we were on the road, would we blow it? But I am just so pleased that we didn't.

"We will take a lot of lessons from today, and we will take a lot of confidence, too."

Ultimately, Bath stole Manu Tuilagi's thunder after the England centre scored his first Premiership try since the opening day of last season as he started a first competitive Leicester game for eight months.

Bath's Wales-born centre Max Clark touched down twice in the first half, while wing Semesa Rokoduguni posted an 80-metre interception score and fly-half Rhys Priestland added all three conversions, plus two penalties.

Tigers fly-half George Ford kicked two penalties and a conversion against the club he left earlier this year, but Leicester never got going as they crashed to an opening weekend defeat despite debutant Jonny May scoring two late tries.

Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor said: "We probably had enough opportunities to win, but I certainly wouldn't say we deserved to win. We left a lot of opportunities on the field.

"We made a lot of line-breaks, and didn't execute on those for a number of reasons. We gave Bath a big start, and we weren't good enough to reel it in at the end.

"After our first try, I thought we looked pretty comfortable, but they came back into the game and exerted a lot of scoreboard pressure, which changed the dynamic of the game in the second half.

"They were allowed to control the tempo off the back of their lead, and put us under pressure.

"There are a huge amount of positives for us to take away, even though we didn't take the four points, which is incredibly disappointing. There are 21 games to go, and there are a lot of new combinations.

"I think simple errors let us down on the day."

Six tries at Welford Road made it a record 50 Premiership touchdowns for the the league's opening weekend.

And reflecting on the try spree, O'Connor said: "The new tackle law changes it.

"It's very hard, as you saw in the second half, to stop teams if they have got momentum and quality ball carriers."