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RUGBY: Bath can absorb Barkley departure, says Gold
10:26am Sunday 23rd September 2012 in Sport
BATH head coach Gary Gold believes Bath have enough firepower in the squad to account for the loss of 30-year-old Barkley when he joins French club Racing Metro after next Saturday's home clash with Sale.
Barkley maintained his fine early-season form by kicking five penalties and converting Kyle Eastmond's try in the 29-22 defeat at London Irish yesterday - his penultimate match for the club before departing for France.
Gold said: "Stephen Donald is a World Cup-winning kicker, Sam Vesty is a kicker, Tom Heathcote is an outstanding talent and Jack Cuthbert can kick.
"So Olly is in that position at the moment and that is why he took the kicks, but we're lucky we have very good international players who have played at that level.
"He was just the one assigned to take the kicks today and when he is gone, someone else will be assigned."
The Exiles started the afternoon rock bottom of the Aviva Premiership, without a win in three matches and having lost all of those by over 40 points.
But tries from Tongan prop Halani Aulika, on his debut, and centre Jonathan Joseph - plus some serious resistence when their backs were to the wall - gave Irish the glory.
Centre Steve Shingler added 19 points with five penalties and Irish had flanker Jamie Gibson sent to the sin-bin for a ruck offence on their own line in the second half amid intense pressure from the West Country side, but they managed to keep Bath out.
Gold felt his side made the right decision in going for tries when they had the hosts on the rack after flanker Gibson was yellow-carded.
Despite Barkley's wonderful kicking this season, they went for a line-out when they were awarded a penalty 10 metres from the Irish line. And Gold admitted Bath had "enough penalty-kick chances to win the game".
Captain Stuart Hooper held his hand up to say it was his decision to go for tries, and said: "The rationale was that they just had a guy put in the sin-bin who was doing a lot of work in their defensive line-out.
"We felt we had them on the rack and felt we could have scored."
Gold said: "The balance in the first couple of weeks was there was a perception of criticism around the fact that we were kicking everything and we are a boring team.
"That is not what our intention is, though. We want to have that balance to back ourselves. They had a guy in the sin-bin and I back Stuart's decision 100 %. As a group of coaches, we thought it was the right decision.
"We are not just going to do that (kick goals) all day long and hope we win. We want to score tries."
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