Can Bath handle the altitude?

Sun, 22 Dec 2013 09:10
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Bath will get the chance to prove they belong at the top of the table with their next three games against Premiership title contenders.
 

Bath will get the chance to prove they belong at the top of the table with their next three games against Premiership title contenders.

After a convincing win over Harlequins coach Toby Booth believes it's no coincidence his side are tussling near the top of the Premiership after beating Harlequins 14-3 - but is eyeing more big games before any Christmas cheer can truly start.

George Ford - the newly-crowned November Premiership Player of the Month - drilled through three penalties before Jonathan Joseph wowed The Rec with a stunning second-half try.

And Quins' backs were well and truly blunted as a solitary Nick Evans penalty was all Conor O'Shea's men had to show for their efforts.

Booth issued a note of caution as trips to Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers lie in wait, but he insists Bath are no imposters to the Premiership's top four.

"Look at the consistent top four performers - we've got three in three weeks," he said. "We'll have a better idea after that of our progress. But we aren't where we are in the table by accident.

"We are in a good position but we're in a situation where we are still speaking about the player empowerment side and the culture - we haven't really spoken about outcomes.

"Everyone knows about how Harlequins play the game and to keep them to three points is impressive.

"But the defence, along with a bit of forward domination, paved the way for the victory.

"We drove well and we scrummed exceptionally well - and we got control of the game.

"The quality of this league is that, unless someone is having a particularly bad day, you're not going to see the fruits of your effort until 50 minutes in, really.

"And often it's a softening up process and eventually your quality tells."

Defeat means Quins lose ground on the top three and with both Leicester and Exeter Chiefs, who saw off Newcastle Falcons on Saturday, are entrenched in a battle for fourth place.

And director of rugby O'Shea admits the battle may have been lost in the first five minutes after his team's sluggish opening.

"We gave them an easy six-point start," said O'Shea. "And the try they scored from a set piece from 50 metres was off a line-out when we were down to 14 men.

"Our guys stuck at it right to the end, but probably didn't get the reward they deserved. It was a pretty tight game and every little thing went their way as opposed to ours.

"It was a very tightly balanced game. I didn't see them getting another try. We spent a lot of time on the opposition line in both halves but came away with nothing.

"You have to be fairly philosophical but we have to look at where and how we let the game get away from us."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 10 8 0 2 40
Gloucester 10 7 0 3 32
Saracens 10 6 0 4 31
Bath 10 6 0 4 30
Wasps 10 6 0 4 29
Leicester Tigers 10 6 0 4 28
Harlequins 10 5 0 5 24
Newcastle Falcons 10 5 0 5 24
Sale Sharks 10 4 0 6 23
Northampton Saints 10 4 0 6 22
Worcester Warriors 10 2 0 8 14
London Irish 10 1 0 9 8