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Bath explain their 'keeping the foot on the throat' attitude

By PA
Bath's Sam Underhill celebrates (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Bath head of rugby Johann van Graan savoured a six-try, 41-24 victory over Exeter having earmarked it as one of the big games of the season. “I knew this was going to be a battle,” he said.

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“We prepared that way and we started really, really well, going 12-0 up. This was one of our best-disciplined performances but in the first entry we gave them (to our 22), they scored off the one phase.

“Going into half-time we spoke about it being a 23-man effort and that we had to manage the weather and the big moments. I felt we did that in the second half.”

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He added: “We managed their yellow card really well in terms of getting momentum, something that we have worked on – keeping the foot on the throat.

“I thought we created a lot in the first half. Not everything went to hand but we had a dominant scrum and the lineout went well tonight. Once we got over the gain line we were difficult to beat.”

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Sam Underhill was awarded player of the match and van Graan was not about to disagree with that verdict, saying: “I thought he was really good, with some big moments, not only defensively but also from an attacking point of view: his running lines, his offloading decisions, when to keep the ball and when to offload.”

Attention now turns to the Investec Champions Cup and the visit of Ulster to The Rec next Saturday, with every likelihood that Bath tighthead Thomas du Toit will confront his fellow Springbok Steven Kitshoff.

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Van Graan said: “We fought so hard last season to be in the Champions Cup. It’s a competition that I love. With the club I coached before [Munster], I learnt so much about what it is about and its history. We will enjoy tonight and on Monday morning it’s all about the Champions Cup.”

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said he could look “very positively” at his side’s showing in the first eight games of the league season, but lack of discipline undermined their effort against Bath.

“The yellow card murdered us; in that period of the game where it got away from us. But by the time that happened, we had been the architects of a lot of what happened at the end.

“Our penalty count at one stage was 13-3. I genuinely know the lads are working hard but sometimes, how quickly we lose the direction of our energy is quite scary. We scramble really well, which is part of what we are good at, and then someone goes off their feet and it’s a penalty.

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“Then it’s territory, then it’s a try and we are on the back end of the scoreboard through a lack of discipline. We need to find the root causes.”

Reflecting on the first eight games and happy that his side had scored three tries and been competitive throughout most of the game, he added: “We have had some good results and we are kind of at the right end of the table and that’s nice. We need to be careful we don’t expect too much of this squad though.”

  • Click here for all the RugbyPass stats from the Bath versus Exeter Premiership game
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Red and White Dynamight 4 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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