BATH RUGBY: ‘We’ll be ready for the run-in’, vows coach Hatley

Neal Hatley

Neal Hatley

First published in Sport by

FIRST-TEAM coach Neal Hatley is confident that Bath’s players won’t be overawed by their multiple assault on silverware in the final months of the season.

Bath’s handsome 35-17 victory at Leicester last Friday booked a home semi final in the LV= Cup to stand alongside their home quarter final against Brive in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

The club also remain in great shape to reach the end-of-season Aviva Premiership play-offs, lying third as they embark on their next round of league matches starting with Newcastle Falcons at home tomorrow (3pm).

Going for glory on three fronts is not a position Bath have been used to in recent seasons, but Hatley believes the squad will stand up to scrutiny as the chase for prizes intensifies.

“We put up some goals at the beginning of the season and we adjusted them as we’ve gone on,’’ he said.

“We’ve initially started a critical part, I suppose you’d call it, and we’ve come out of it with a home semi final and a home quarter final and we were not all that far off the (league) points we were trying to get, so we’re very pleased.

“But as the season has gone on, I think you start to get a little bit greedier and you start to want more.

“(Hooker) Rob Webber spoke passionately this week about this next four to six week block and how important it is to the players and the club as a whole, so I think the players understand where they are and the position they’ve put themselves in.

“We’ve worked so hard since well before pre-season to get to here, but what we do over the next four to six weeks will dictate how the season ends up.

“The boys are massively focussed and genuinely aware of the situation they are in.’’

Prop Davey Wilson was in contention to return from his calf injury sustained before Christmas against his former club Hatley added: “We’ve been very patient with him and we want to make sure he’s really confident in that calf injury.

“If it’s all good, we’d like to use him on the weekend and I know England will be in a hurry to get him back, just for the immense value he brings as a scrummager.’’

Bath’s Dave Attwood has been retained in an unchanged England 23 to face Scotland in their second RBS 6 Nations Championship match at Murrayfield tomorrow, with backs George Ford and Anthony Watson released back to the club.

Prop Paul James is on the bench for Wales’ match against Ireland in Dublin.

Meanwhile, David Sisi and Max Northcote-Green have gone out on loan to Leeds Carnegie and Coventry respectively.

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