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RUGBY: Day aims to replicate Tiger taming
SECOND row Dominic Day hopes Bath’s pulsating victory in their previous Aviva Premiership home match at the back end of last season set the template for future success against the top-flight’s elite.
April’s 27-26 triumph over Leicester, secured by Francois Louw’s late try, was by common consent one of the best game’s seen at the Rec for years and has been a source of inspiration for the squad as the Tigers arrive for the first home game of the new campaign today (3.15pm).
The fact that the Midlanders were crowned champions a few weeks later has merely reinforced the view that only that level of performance on a regular basis will take Bath back towards the top of the English game.
Day, who played the full 80 minutes of that match, said: “It was a great occasion. Some people say it was the best Premiership game they’d seen for some time and it gave us a lot of confidence.
“We just went out with the mindset that we wanted to dominate and got stuck in, not just for matchday but the whole week. Everyone was on form and ready to go and it’s similar this week.
“A lot of it maybe a mindset thing, a belief we can do it and we’ve got that because of how we went against them last year.’’
Bath’s pack – Day coming on as a second-half substitute - excelled in miserable conditions during last week’s opening Premiership win at Newcastle, but the former Scarlets man recognises a bigger challenge lies in wait today.
“We had to change our game plan (at Newcastle) a little bit,'' he admitted.
"We took them on up front and the boys were outstanding. For me, we won it in the first half. We were playing into the wind and the discipline was unbelievable. And we did well at scrum time as well.
“(But) we know it’s going to be a different level this week.
“They’re typical Leicester. They’ve a strong pack but they’ve got the backs to back it up as well.
“We’re going to have to meet it head on and get stuck in. We know they are going to come at us, especially after looking at what we did last week.
“But it’s another great challenge and if we want to compete for a top four place then these are the games we have got to meet head on.
“They’ve got a big squad with some quality players, some who are British Lions, but we know that and we’re psyched up. We’re going to be ready for it’’
With skipper Stuart Hooper and resurgent England ace Dave Attwood among those contending for the second row berths, Day admits his first task is to battle his way into a starting shirt. He has again been named on the bench for today's meeting with the Tigers.
But he said: “It’s a challenge I want, people to push me to try and get in that position. You’re fighting for it in training each week.
“We’re starting to grow a big squad of quality players. It’s very much the route we want to go down in terms of everybody being able to slot in and we can play equally as well with anyone in the squad.’’
Mike Ford believes Bath are ready to take risks and make their attacking game a more potent weapon in the pursuit of Aviva Premiership honours this season.
"We came in last season as a new coaching group and thought we had to put a bit of toughness in there - defence, discipline and getting field position," first team coach Ford said.
"This season, we want to challenge, so we want to score more points.
"We are not hiding away from that, and with that comes more attack, more risk. We think we've got the platform to do that.
"Teams will be respecting us more and preparing more, so we have to go up to another level again.
"Success for me this season will be how we attack and doing a lot better than last year in terms of the league position. Those are the two things for me."
Bath hand a Premiership debut to much-travelled Wales international centre Gavin Henson, but Leicester are without the likes of Tom Croft, Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and Geoff Parling.
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