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RUGBY: Bath requiring a solid Gold display
HEAD coach Gary Gold hopes Bath learned “vital lessons’’ from last week’s loss at London Irish as they prepare to face one of the Aviva Premiership’s other ‘crisis clubs’ tomorrow.
Gold could not disguise his unhappiness at last weekend’s 29-22 reverse at the Madejski Stadium as his below-par troops slumped against a side that had shipped 40 points in each of their first three games.
The South African believes his side’s own deficiencies, rather than the Exiles’ performance, contributed to the defeat and has demanded a rousing response against the Sharks at the Rec (2.15pm).
“I’m still unbelievably disappointed – we really let ourselves down,’’ admitted Gold, who pointed to passive tackling and inadequate kicking as just two problem areas.
“For myself and the coaches, and what we are setting out to achieve, those are the days we are trying to get rid of. It was an unacceptable performance.
“There will be days when we play really well and lose, because there are some very strong teams in this league. But what we can’t have is when we’re the reason for our downfall.
“I’m OK with guys making errors, what I am questioning is whether all 15 guys on the field understood what was required and what an unbelievably tough task it was going to be. That’s what we face again this weekend.’’
Sale, with just one point from four games, are under the cosh, chief executive Steve Diamond stepping back in alongside director of rugby Bryan Redpath after the sacking of forwards coach Steve Scott this week.
But Gold said of Sharks’ troubles: “It’s irrelevant to us – we’ve absolutely no control over it and we have no interest in what’s going on at Sale at the moment.
“We can’t get the win from last weekend, but we can get some vital lessons. I think it’s fair to say we realised we’ve a long way to go.’’
Bath have lost Francois Louw for another fortnight, the flanker recalled by South Africa for the Test against Australia in Pretoria tomorrow.
Prop Dave Wilson should return after sitting out last week with a back tweak, but centre Ben Williams (groin) misses out.
Scrum-half Michael Claassens and centre Dan Hipkiss are available after being cleared by a citing panel over incidents in last week’s defeat, although Gold criticised the process by which the citings came about.
“I’m unbelievably disappointed with the process by which this information came to light and the malice of a few people to want to highlight these incidental situations,’’ he added.
“I’ve no issue with rubber-stamping foul play and I don’t condone it in any way and will never coach it.
“These weren’t two incidents, in our opinion, where there was any foul play at all. The referee saw both incidents while they happened and chose not to do anything about them, not even a penalty, let alone a yellow card, red card, or a citing.
“It’s a contentious area in the game at moment and unbelievably disruptive for teams.’’
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