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Bath silent on salary cap claims

Bath have remained silent on claims that they are being investigated by Premiership Rugby, the body that oversees the top flight in England, over breaches of the salary cap.

Bath beat old West Country rivals Gloucester 39-16 at Kingsholm thanks to a penalty try, two touchdowns by replacement flanker Matt Garvey and six penalties and three conversions from fly-half George Ford.

It was a record league victory for Bath against the men from The Rec as replacement Dan Robson scored a late consolation try, which fly-half James Hook converted, to add to three penalties from scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.

But Bath's win was overshadowed by the claims made earlier that they were being probed about paying more than the £5.5million limit on players.

When Bath head coach Mike Ford was twice asked if he knew about an investigation and what the club thought about the claims, his reply, which he repeated twice, was: "We agree with the salary cap."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys declared his club were in support of the salary cap both now and in the future, saying: "Mine and the club's view is that it is a huge issue which is not for public debate.

"It goes to the core of the game here. From someone who was involved in the Pro12 (Celtic League), one of the big things talked about here was the competitiveness of it and that any team can beat anyone else.

"So I think it is a fantastic league to be part of and the salary cap is something we support and certainly going forward, we will be supporting it."

On the field, Bath's cross-code convert Sam Burgess, who started against French outfit Montpellier in the European Champions Cup last week, was on the bench for the West Country derby.

Burgess came on for wing Semesa Rokoduguni with 14 minutes of the game left and with Bath leading 32-9 but is scheduled to have a longer run-out in the club's final A League game at home to London Irish on Monday evening.

Ford praised Bath's defence which was rock solid for the vast majority of the match and held off a remarkable effort from Gloucester that saw them go through 28 phases.

The head coach said: "Our defence won it today. They had 28 phases in the first-half and were very disciplined. That took the sting out of the first-half and it was similar in the second-half.

"I think we wore them down in the end. We put on our bench and got a couple of late tries. The score is not a true reflection on what went on out there. It looks like we gave them a good hiding but it is not like that at all. It is a lot closer than the score suggests."

Humphreys agreed that Bath's defence was the key factor and reflected: "I thought the scrum was a major issue for us. From the first 11 penalties given away, six were at the scrum and within kicking distance of George Ford who didn't look like missing.

"We kept the ball through a number of phases and yet their defence stood firm so we have to go away and look at how we can be more effective in attack."


From Belfast Telegraph