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RUGBY: Brive will have our utmost respect, says Bath coach Ford
BATH have learned the lessons of last season’s Amlin Challenge Cup disappointment, ensuring they will be on red alert for the visit of Brive to the Rec for Sunday’s quarter final, according to head coach Mike Ford (2pm).
Last year’s European campaign ended in bitter disappointment at the same last-eight stage for Ford’s men when, after breezing unscathed through their qualifying pool, they came unstuck at home against Stade Francais 36-20.
This Amlin campaign has proved almost a mirror image so far, Bath again winning six out of six in the pool stages, but with French opposition again blocking their route to the semi finals, Ford says his players have no intention of making the same mistake.
“We're not going to fall into the same trap as we did last year and think the French team can't travel and are going to get a hiding, that's not going to happen,’’ he said.
“(Against Stade), we fell in the trap last year of thinking we're at home and we'll win. We'll give them (Brive) the utmost respect, because if we don't we'll lose.
“We've prepped Brive really well and they're doing okay. They're a tough side to beat and are very dangerous on the counterattack. But basically it's what we do, which will be more important.
"We're determined to put on a show for the fans. We owe them one, losing those last three games (at home).’’
The latest of those home reverses came against Sale in the Aviva Premiership last Friday, arguably the lowest point of Bath’s season as they failed to cement their position inside the Premiership play-off places.
Ford though has dismissed fears that his squad may be starting to feel the tension as the campaign moves towards its business end.
“What we've done really well this year is learn really quickly,’’ he added. “We've put things in place and this young team has learned what to do every week. You don't want to lose, but ultimately you will learn more.
“We've got to keep playing our way and not think about whether we win or whether we lose. We need to perform like we train.
“(Last) Friday night and Saturday was tough for everybody, the players and the organisation because we should have won.
We're bitterly disappointed because we could have been very comfortable sat in third (in the Premiership). But it's not to be.
“It's one of those games. You look at it and then you rip it up and throw it in the bin. That's what we've done because we feel it's in isolation.
“We understand we've lost three games at the Rec on the run and we're not happy about that, but it's not a crisis or anything.
“We're hugely excited about the rest of the season. The Premiership is still in our hands and so is the Amlin.
“You look at the overall view of the season and we're still in a good place.’’
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