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RUGBY: Booth hails derby success
2:15pm Sunday 3rd February 2013 in Sport News
BATH coach Toby Booth praised the character of his side as they grabbed a first win at Gloucester in seven years with a thumping 32-5 LV= Cup success.
Four second-half tries blew the game apart after the west country rivals had been level at 5-5 on 50 minutes.
Bath winger Olly Woodburn and Huia Edmonds shared the first-half scores but after full-back Nick Abendanon crossed Bath hit full throttle.
Replacements Matt Gilbert and Semesa Rokoduguni, plus New Zealander Stephen Donald, completed the rampage to secure a bonus-point win that sent Bath to the semi finals and coach Booth believes his side proved a point as they continue to show signs they are on the rise.
"We are in for the long haul and slow and steady improvement," he said.
"We will see how that pans out but we have spoken about how important it is to pull on a Bath shirt in any competition and we have tried to instil some pride into wearing the shirt. I think you saw that today.
"You saw the importance in the fixture - not necessarily in the competition sense but to the two clubs - in the quality of sides that the two clubs put out and that is important in building the way that Bath are trying to move forward."
Booth believes his side could have added even further points after they had tries disallowed in the absence of the television official.
"Although the scoreboard doesn't show it, we were held up over the line twice if not three times," he said.
"It is a topic for another day but if there was a TMO, it might have been a different result in the first half.
"But we were pleased with the amount of pressure we put on Gloucester. They are a tough side to beat, everyone knows that.
"We spoke a lot about not putting pressure on yourselves and allowing people to express themselves and I think you saw that. There was a freedom of how we played and a couple of times where it is always going to be an arm-wrestle."
Gloucester did themselves no favours in the opening period by having flanker Andy Hazell sin-binned for a tip-tackle on hooker Rob Webber, and, just as the back row returned lock Tom Savage was yellow carded for a line-out offence.
Gloucester assistant coach Carl Hogg warned his squad there will be some "harsh words" at Monday's first training session of the week as they prepare for a top-of-the-table Aviva Premiership clash with Saints.
Hogg said: "At 5-5 with 20 minutes to go, we were still in it but I think the players didn't adapt to the referee's interpretations.
"Conceding 17 penalties in a game and having two yellow cards means you are always going to put yourself on the back foot.
"Although we defended very well in the first half and, at 5-5, I thought we had weathered the storm but it took its toll in the last 20 minutes.
"When you are asked to defend for so long as we were during the first half, it is going to take its toll. It is difficult to take to concede so many points.
"It was a local derby with a lot of pride at stake but essentially we couldn't move through the competition.
"We have just got to use this as motivation moving forward."
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