RUGBY: Ford salutes Saracens after first Rec defeat

Wiltshire Times: Mike Ford Mike Ford

BATH head coach Mike Ford admitted his side's humbling at home by Saracens was a reminder of the strides the Recside still have to make after watching them suffer their first defeat of the season last night.

Makeshift fly-half Alex Goode converted tries by wings Chris Wyles and David Strettle, while adding two penalties and a drop-goal as the London side claimed a crushing 23-10 win at the Recreation Ground

Ford had no complaints following the loss, saying: "Look, let's give credit to Saracens. They're a very good side. They're ahead of us in their development cycle, we've only been together since July with this new squad.

"Their experience told in certain places. They control the scoreboard and force you to do things you don't really want to do. And the second try just before half-time was a killer.

"We're going to hurt for three days but we'll come back again on Tuesday and start work again."

He added: "We've got to get up to their level. I said to the team, we've come a long way this season but we've got to get better."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hailed Goode's near faultless performance, saying: "This week was a five-day turnaround too and we got Alex Goode back from England only on Wednesday. He was getting ready to play full-back tonight and with 30 seconds to go, he's asked to play fly-half.

"He did an amazing job and we had to re-adjust a lot of people. The team put those setbacks behind them and just rolled up their sleeves. It was a great performance.

"Alex hasn't been at the club for four or five weeks, apart from a couple of days. To have to step in and play fly-half against a really good team in a big atmosphere, in a big game, and do what he did, was pretty special."

McCall had to reshuffle his side after fly-half Charlie Hodgson pulled out during the warm-up feeling unwell, so victory was all the sweeter.

"We are very satisfied. I thought the effort was extraordinary, the way they fought for each other. From minute one to minute 80 it was a brilliant team effort,'' he added.

"Charlie was feeling really dizzy and light-headed. It would have been wrong to expose him to a game like this."

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND IN NEXT WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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