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Ford praise for duo

Bath coach Mike Ford backed young duo George Ford and Ollie Devoto to continue getting better and better after the pair helped his side to an eighth successive win in all competitions with a 21-16 triumph over Exeter.

Fly-half George Ford, the coach's son, scored all of Bath's points with six penalties and a drop-goal in a faultless kicking performance while his fellow 20-year-old Devoto produced a mature display at inside centre.

Mike Ford, whose side's victory cemented their spot in the top three of the Aviva Premiership, said George's performance shows the benefits of playing week-in, week-out.

He said: "He just wants to keep playing.

"The more pressure, the more decisions he has to make, the better he'll become. This is his first full season where he's playing every week so he'll only get better. Yes, he kicked his goals. He's pleased with his dropped goal as well.

"He will get better - as will all the players. At Leicester he wasn't getting that opportunity to learn, because he wasn't playing much. It's going through that process of the working week on a regular basis."

Ford also sees a bright future for Devoto, adding: "Ollie is the same as George. Again he just has to keep playing as he is doing, learning every day. He was fantastic.

"Twelve months ago, you'd have wondered what he was doing around the first team squad. Now look at him - not his size, not his strength, not his power, but his composure. He's getting better and better."

Ford was content with the win, despite seeing Bath being outscored two tries to none.

"Exeter are a good side. They challenge you and if you give them the ball, you won't see it again for three or four phases," he said.

"Our ball control was poor in the first half as were our kicks. But we still went in 9-8 at half-time. At times rugby doesn't go all your way. You've got to find a way to win - and we did. You have to credit our defence."

Left with just a losing bonus point, Exeter head coach Rob Baxter admitted to being a little disappointed and frustrated but said: "It was a great game of rugby and it could have gone either way, really.

"I was really pleased with our attitude. We had our best start to a game with Bath and didn't concede a couple of tries in the first 10 minutes, which was nice!"

Baxter, who now gets to work preparing his side for a clash with Heineken Cup champions Toulon, added: "We were always in it. There were a few individual errors but if you are going to focus on those when you are doing your review, then it probably means that the performance as a whole is pretty good.

"I just said to the players, I think we're bubbling along really well.

"At top level it's all about being competitive for the full 80 minutes. Today's performance would have beaten a lot of sides. Their kicker could have had an average day and we would have won.

"That's why you've got to sit back and look at the bigger picture."

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