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Todd Blackadder calls on Bath to close out games

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder wants his players to learn how to close down a game after only a last-gasp penalty from Rhys Preistland earned them victory over Northampton.

The Saints came back from 22-9 down to lead 30-29 with three minutes to go before Priestland edged the hosts to a 32-30 win.

"To get five points is huge for us. I'd take that any day," said Blackadder.

"The learning for us is that we let them back into the game. We've got to learn to shut teams out.

"We let them back in through our indiscipline. Their line-outs were hard to stop. I have to say, if anything, there are a few demons running through people's heads."

He added: "A couple of times we had the ball in their 22 and were rushing things too much and panicking a little bit. We just left them off the hook by just playing too much, instead of putting them under pressure."

Before the game, Blackadder had said he wanted to see more aggression from his players.

"I was really pleased with that. We carried a lot harder and our physicality was a few notches up. I have to give credit to Northampton too.

"They are a good side to fight their way back and they had to play some very good rugby to get back into the game with a chance of winning it. I take my hat off to them."

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder was more concerned with the officiating of key moments in the match, particularly what appeared to be a forward pass from Ben Tapuai to Chris Cook for Bath's bonus-point try.

"We conceded a penalty try from the scrum. We had a maul five metres out, charging for the line, and was brought down. They got a yellow card there. And then of course, their last try when they were down to 14 men. I'd just have loved Wayne (Barnes) to go upstairs and use the technology which was available."

He said: "My first instinct straightaway was 'forward'. It looked forward. Looking at the replays I can see it's forward. I just wish everybody else could see that.

"I think Bath were the better team in the first half and put us under pressure. We conceded a couple of weak tries. Certainly the Rokoduguni try, there was poor defending there, but we came back into it and played well."

On the injury situation in the midfield, he added: "George Pisi and Luther Burrell are a couple of weeks off, so they are making improvement."

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