Belfast Telegraph

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Ford sees the big prize

Head coach Mike Ford believes Bath can go on and win the LV= Cup after booking a home semi-final with a bonus point victory at Leicester Tigers, who bow out of the tournament with this result.

Bath's 35-17 four-try win means they top Pool Three with a perfect record of four wins from four games.

It is not clear yet who they will play in the semi-final at the Rec in March - but Ford is confident Bath can go all the way in a competition they have yet to win since it became the Anglo-Welsh in 2006.

He said: "Of course we can win it. We could be playing someone from this group in the semi-final but we are not going to worry about that.

"We will see who we have got on Sunday and then put that to bed and look at the next game, which is Newcastle.

"It's nice to have a home semi. The Rec has been special to us and we have done well there in the last 12 months. The fans are fantastic and we like playing there."

Ford admitted that Bath have targeted the LV=Cup and fielded a stronger side than Leicester.

They scored four tries through Samoa flanker Alafoti Fa'osiliva, man of the match Matt Banahan, fly-half Ollie Devoto and replacement Carl Fearns, with Gavin Henson kicking 15 points.

Ford said: "Leicester are in a different cycle to us. They have been a champion team for 10 years and still are. They have got bigger fish to fry in the Heineken Cup and, like us, the Premiership."

Two-time champions Leicester trailed 18-17 at half-time having scored tries through Argentina flanker Pablo Matera and full back Blaine Scully, with Owen Williams kicking seven points.

But Bath dominated the second half and played some good rugby despite the testing conditions as they rattled up 17 points without reply.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockderill said the LV= Cup was not high on their priority list, so they use the LV= Cup to give experience to their youngsters.

Cockerillk said: "It was a learning tool for our younger guys. We have always played mixed teams in this competition and seen where we get to.

"Tonight they had a better side out in terms of experience and we were under pressure in the second half. We were outmuscled.

"But no criticism of our guys, they worked hard and their character was fantastic. We were naive at times in the set-piece.

"I'm disappointed because you don't want to lose but Bath's agenda is different to ours in this competition."


From Belfast Telegraph