Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Meehan puts Bath on Biarritz alert

Steve Meehan

Bath boss Steve Meehan has put his team on full alert against the danger of Biarritz marksman Dimitri Yachvili kicking their Heineken Cup hopes into touch.

Meehan knows Bath must get off to a winning start in Pool Four when Yachvili and company arrive at the Recreation Ground on Sunday. Anything less, and the initiative will pass to last season's beaten Heineken finalists in a group that also includes Ulster and new Italian side Aironi.

Only four players - Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Jones, Diego Dominguez and David Humphreys - have scored more points in the tournament than France international scrum-half Yachvili, and Meehan acknowledged: "He is a very important member of their team."

Meehan continued: "He really marshals the forwards well and brings their players into the game around him, he scoots well from the base of the ruck and picks his times when to change direction pretty well.

"We know that they kick those penalties and those drop-goals to keep the scoreboard ticking over, and our game coming out of our bottom third is going to be really important this weekend.

"You can put in a long kick from your own line, only to meet Yachvili, who knocks over a drop-goal from the sideline 45 metres out. They are dangerous.

"Biarritz are less structured than the teams we are used to playing. They will go one way, get halfway across the field and come back the other way, then they will turn.

"They are all over the place, single runners just looking for holes, probing away all the time. It's very important for us to concentrate defensively and be very well organised."

Bath will be without England captain Lewis Moody, who suffered an eye injury during the 18-3 Aviva Premiership defeat against Gloucester last week, so Scotland international Simon Taylor features in the back row alongside Andy Beattie and Luke Watson.

Props Nathan Catt and David Wilson also gain call-ups as Bath look to subdue a Biarritz outfit that contains their former player Iain Balshaw, together with ex-Sale and England flanker Magnus Lund and his brother Erik, who was at Leeds last term.