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The unwanted record Bath surrendered in loss to Leinster

By PA
Garry Ringrose /PA

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Bath head coach Neal Hatley admitted the mood was “downbeat” in the home dressing room after their biggest-ever losing margin at the Recreation Ground in any competition.

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Leinster scored 10 tries in all in a 64-7 Heineken Champions Cup win, with one of their lesser-known players taking man-of-the-match honours.

Leinster wing Jimmy O’Brien scored four tries, while Jordan Larmour, Josh van der Flier, Ciaran Frawley, Andrew Porter, Hugo Keenan and Dan Sheehan also scored while Bath’s consolation came from Max Clark.

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Hatley said: “The boys are really disappointed. We’ve worked hard but there’s a gulf in class at the moment. Look at the tables and you can see that. They showed what a good side they are when they get opportunities.

“It wasn’t the winning or losing of it but we had chances to close the gap and we didn’t take them.

“Sometimes rock bottom is the best foundation. Other clubs have found themselves where we are now. We’re not happy with it. We’re not proud of where we are. But we’ve got to put things in place at this great club so that we never find ourselves in this position again.”

Hatley pointed to promising young players such as Orlando Bailey, named in Eddie Jones’s England squad this week and finding himself up against Ireland captain Johnny Sexton.

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He said: “Sexton is world-class, has a hundred caps and has been one of the best fly-halves of the last 10 or 12 years. But I think you also saw glimpses from Orlando as a 20-year-old in a team that has been put together around him. I thought he was outstanding.

“He’s a hard-working individual. He’s got to learn from people like Sexton and he will. One of the things about him and why he has been called into the England set-up is how quickly he learns and how well he prepares.”

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen hailed wing O’Brien as moving to “the next level” with a four-try display against Bath.

Cullen said: “Jimmy scored four tries but some of his defensive work too, especially down in the corner here, was phenomenal.

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“This builds on last week (when O’Brien scored in an 89-7 win over Montpellier) in moving up to the next level. So we are really pleased with him.

“The challenge now is to change our approach with a different squad for Cardiff in the (United Rugby Championship) while a number of players go away to Ireland camp.

“We have more games during the Six Nations now, which is going to be a great opportunity for a number of guys who are sitting at home at the minute, feeling a bit frustrated after some tight selections.”

The Pool A standings are disrupted by Covid but Cullen said: “We’ll see how it all unfolds now. It’s a guessing game.”

Cullen acknowledged the home team had had their moments despite the scoreline.

He said: “I thought they came strong at the start, to be fair to them. They missed a few opportunities. They put us into the corners as we gave away a few penalties. We managed to hold out and hit them for two quick scores, then a third.

“We were a little bit loose at times and gave them an intercept try but credit to our players, they’ve shown really good attacking intent. To score five tries in each half is a pretty decent effort.”

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