Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

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Bath head coach Mike Ford positive despite defeat to Toulon

Published 10/01/2016

Bath head coach Mike Ford remained positive despite defeat to Toulon
Bath head coach Mike Ford remained positive despite defeat to Toulon

Bath head coach Mike Ford still believes his side can escape from Pool Five and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup despite a second defeat after going down to Toulon.

Their 12-9 reverse at Stade Felx-Mayol leaves them needing to win their final two matches, against Leinster Rugby in Dublin on January 16 and then at home against Toulon in round six.

They currently trail pool leaders Wasps by five points and second placed Toulon by three.

"We have nine points and two matches left to play. We can still qualify, but we have to win our last two games," said Ford.

"We had the edge and we showed heart and the will to win. It is tough playing here and we gave away too many penalties in the first half.

"It is gutting to lose because they are such small margins. The way we gave them that last penalty was disappointing.

"It was a good game and we could easily have won it with one or two better passes in the first half. We need to bank what we did this week both as a team in terms of preparation and as individuals.

"I knew during the week when they came back in from the defeat in Newcastle that I had got a reaction from the players. We went out and proved what a good team we are."

Toulon director of rugby Bernard Laporte was full of praise for the spirit shown by his players and was delighted with the way in which his team responded to his half-time call to cut down on errors and be more adventurous.

"Even though we won the game we cannot really say that we were better than Bath. But such is this tournament that they are probably eliminated and we are still in the running to qualify," said Laporte.

"We did not play well in the first half, we had problems at the set-piece and Bath kicked very well. I told my players at half-time that we cannot lose this game.

"I asked them to play with more accuracy and more adventure and we were much better in the second half.

"However, we still had chances that we didn't take, although I must congratulate my team on the spirit they showed to win a difficult game.

"At this level the most important thing is discipline.

"If you can get that right you won't concede points and then you will not lose. Now we must improve for the next game."

George Ford kicked two drop goals after an early penalty as Bath threatened to pull off a shock win.

But a late Frederic Michalak penalty four minutes from time denied Bath even a share of the spoils. Toulon's other points came from three Eric Escande penalties.

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