Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

McGeechan lauds forwards

Sir Ian McGeechan

Bath rugby director Sir Ian McGeechan saluted a "tremendous" forward effort after his front five's dominance laid the foundations for their 23-18 Heineken Cup victory over Glasgow at The Rec.

Bath's Pool Three campaign has proved to be a disappointment, with back-to-back defeats to Leinster effectively ending their European aspirations before Christmas, but they at least managed to finish the pool on a high as two late Olly Barkley penalties helped them stave off a brave Glasgow fightback.

McGeechan said: "The forwards were tremendous. We out-scrummaged them, our driving line-outs were excellent, from which I felt we should have had more penalties. Our discipline and patience was outstanding and they gave us a great platform all day."

McGeechan added: "If the front five go well then the back row look good for it, so I give big licks to the front five. It allows us to work off that platform, to work quite hard on the back of our driving mauls and it was a really good tight forward performance."

An interception try from Tom Biggs and a rumble over from number eight Ben Skirving, plus seven points from Barkley's boot, had put the hosts in control at 17-6 up with their front-five completely on top at the set-piece as a string of scrum penalties and powerful driving mauls sapped Glasgow spirits

But wing Tommy Seymour and back-rower Rob Harley crossed for the Warriors to turn the game on its head and put the visitors 18-17 up, only for the Scottish side to display acute tactical naivety by attempting to play their way out of their own half against a Bath side down to 14 men after the sin-binning of scrum-half Chris Cook.

They were twice penalised, and twice punished by Barkley's unerring boot as the centre finished with a 100 per cent record and 13 points to his name.

The four-times Lions head coach was less happy to have seen his side relinquish their hard-earned lead, as they had done against Montpellier and Leinster earlier in the tournament, but praised them for learning the lessons of those defeats to secure the win on this occasion.

"We got to 17-6 and were playing well so I was disappointed we didn't kick on, but to come back to finish strongly and get hold of the game again was pleasing and those two penalties saw us home," he said.

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