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BATH RUGBY: They have got a lot of sting
BATH hooker Lee Mears expects London Wasps to arrive at the Rec with plenty to prove despite the visitors’ extraordinary collapse in their Aviva Premiership opener last weekend.
While Olly Barkley booted Bath to a 24-23 triumph in their first match at Worcester Warriors, tomorrow’s opponents blew a 40-13 lead in the final quarter to lose 42-40 to champions Harlequins in an astonishing clash at Twickenham.
Mears admits he was among those taken aback by the scale of the turnaround but believes Bath should take notice of the potency Wasps showed in attack as they prepare for their first match at the Rec (2.15pm).
“We always know how deadly they (Wasps) can be,’’ said the former England and British Lions ace.
“Like Quins last week, if you give them that space they will cause you havoc all over the park.
“Strength in depth is a little bit of an issue for them I think, but they will be upset because to score 40 points and not win is tough.
“They will have definitely thought they had done enough to win it, but they know that one area of their game is right but that they have to stop the opposition scoring, which is what they will be trying to do to us on the weekend.
Bath themselves were try-less at Sixways, but after just two league away wins last term, a winning start was the more important statistic.
“Coming back from 15-3 down was pretty tough to do, but there was a lot left out on the field really,’’ said Mears.
“We were pleased to come away with an away win, but we know there is a lot more to come.’’ Bath were also turned over five times on home soil in the league last season, something Mears knows they need to remedy this time.
“If you look at any team that has been top four in the Premiership in the last few years, their home record has always been very strong and intact and then you are picking up those few wins away,’’ he added.
“We achieved phase one last weekend but it’s about making the Rec a stronghold for us.’’
Prop Anthony Perenise and back rowers Simon Taylor and Josh Ovens return to the squad for tomorrow’s match, while flanker Francois Louw has been named on the bench for South Africa’s Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Perth tomorrow.
Bath coach Toby Booth was also delighted with Barkley’s display at Sixways “Olly kicked the ball exceptionally well off the floor which was great,’’ said Booth.
“He’s put a lot of work in and I thought he was one of our standout performers.
“I know there have been questions over his goalkicking and the best way to answer is to produce a performance like that.’’