Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Ford vows to attack in final

Bath boss Mike Ford has vowed there will be no change to his team's scintillating attacking approach when they contest next Saturday's Aviva Premiership final against Saracens at Twickenham.

The west country club scored seven tries to blitz play-off opponents Leicester 47-10 at the Recreation Ground.

In doing so, Bath booked their first Premiership final appearance since 2004, and Saracens could have their work cut out to contain a team led majestically by England backs George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond and Anthony Watson.

Wing Matt Banahan scored three tries, while Ford, Watson, Eastmond and scrum-half Peter Stringer also touched down as Leicester were swamped eight months after being demolished 45-0 on the same ground.

"We were so clinical in the first-half - the attack was outstanding," Bath head coach Ford said.

"The boys kept their composure, and once the bench came on and we got that fourth try, the game was over.

"I thought the scoreboard was a bit skewed. I thought Leicester played better than the scoreboard suggested.

"I am very pleased that we were able to soak up a lot of pressure, and then be clinical on attack. I think good teams do that.

"We would be stupid to change unless it is absolutely a monsoon next Saturday. Saracens will know what's coming - they are an excellent kick-chase side.

"At the same time, I would be devastated if we don't take opportunities when they are on.

"We've done that all season, and my job with this young side is to keep them pressure-free, make them have fun and enjoy it and go out and do what they do.

"I don't think Saracens will change. They are very good at what they do, and if they get in front then it is very difficult to beat them."

Leicester were infinitely more competitive than they had been at Bath eight months ago, but fly-half Freddie Burns missed four penalties, with his only successful kicks being a first-half penalty and the conversion of hooker Tom Youngs' 40th-minute touchdown.

Bath successfully overcame a worrying spell when they had full-back Watson and number eight Leroy Houston sin-binned two minutes apart, and they will now head to Twickenham 11 years after being beaten by Wasps in English rugby's domestic showpiece.

Leicester battled hard during a feisty forward contest, with Youngs, prop Dan Cole and flanker Ed Slater at the hub of their best efforts, yet Bath possessed a definitive edge in terms of back-division sharpness.

"I have no complaints about the result," Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill said. "I thought we probably could have managed the game a bit better.

"We came here to win. We controlled the game for large parts, we just didn't have enough firepower to get over the line.

"The penalty count was horrendous against Bath, but every time we got within five or six metres of the line, the referee was quite lenient on offences.

"To have only two guys binned and not be under the sticks for a penalty try was frustrating, but that's life. Once they got away from us, they were away, and we had no way of clawing that back.

"We need to be better, and we will be. There is a lot of quality to come back into that side, and I have got no qualms about where we will be at, quality-wise.

"If Bath play like they can, and they are allowed to play like they can, they will certainly score points. But if any side are going to contain an attacking side, Saracens would be that side."


From Belfast Telegraph