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, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 20 15 0 5 75
Saracens 20 14 0 6 67
Wasps 20 12 1 7 61
Newcastle Falcons 20 13 0 7 59
Leicester Tigers 20 2 0 8 57
Gloucester 20 11 1 8 56
Sale Sharks 20 10 0 10 54
Bath 20 9 0 11 46
Harlequins 20 7 0 13 36
Northampton Saints 20 7 0 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 6 0 14 31
London Irish 20 3 0 17 22