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Bath boss Mike Ford pleased with win over Exeter despite playing 'poorly'

Bath head coach Mike Ford pulled no punches in his assessment of his side's performance after edging out west-country rivals Exeter 19-17 at the Recreation Ground.

His son George Ford returned to club action after England's World Cup disappointment and kicked a 78th-minute penalty to secure the win, but Mike Ford acknowledged the overall display was not up to scratch.

"We're delighted to come away with the win despite having played poorly," he said. "Usually, you lose those games, don't you?

"Our line-out didn't function and our ball-control was poor. Ball in hand, we couldn't build any pressure - the only time we did, we scored.

"The boys will be massively disappointed - I know they will. But the character we showed, we tackled them over the line a few times."

England's unscheduled World Cup exit meant he was able to call on son George at fly-half and wing Anthony Watson to start.

And Ford brought Sam Burgess, Davey Wilson and Rob Webber off the bench in the second half.

"It was a good thing the internationals played because without them, we wouldn't have won," Ford said.

"It's a win for us. We move on. There were a few good performances but I thought we looked tired at times. They looked quicker than us. We didn't have any attacking shape. I'll have to analyse it."

Exeter chief coach Rob Baxter judged the display as his team's "best performance here in the Premiership".

"But we needed to be a little more together five metres from their line," he said.

"In a tight game it's too easy to say that it comes down to one or two decisions. We had our opportunities today - we've got to take them.

"Premiership games should always be tough encounters. You should take charge of the game and grab the opportunities."

Baxter defended his players' decisions to opt for an attacking line-out over penalty kicks on a couple of occasions.

"You've got to trust the players," he said. "We got held up over the try-line a couple of times but we got another penalty which we kicked.

"Overall, I'm really pleased with our endeavour. Our fitness looks good and a lot of our skills were very crisp. That was a pretty strong Bath attacking unit, maybe not their best but not far off it.

"We restricted them really well.

"What we didn't do was put together enough of the As, Bs and Cs to make sure the game went our way."


From Belfast Telegraph