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Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam

Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

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'They are confident. There is a lot of interest. It is a great club'

By PA
Bath Rugby v Wasps – Gallagher Premiership – The Recreation Ground

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett says there are “a lot of people who are very positive” about the Gallagher Premiership club’s future.

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Wasps went into their Premiership clash against Bath after filing a notice of their intention to appoint an administrator with the High Court.

They are being pursued for unpaid tax and have been served with a winding-up order by HM Revenue and Customs, while Wasps are also having difficulty in repaying a £35million bond that was raised to help finance their relocation from High Wycombe to Coventry eight years ago.

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Players and coaches met with senior Wasps representatives, including club owner Derek Richardson and chief executive Stephen Vaughan, on Thursday.

“It (meeting) started with Stephen Vaughan and Chris Holland (Wasps chief operating officer), and then Derek Richardson joined later in the meeting.

“The players were able to ask any questions they wanted, and they were as honest as they are and gave direct answers.

“They gave assurances, but no-one can guarantee anything. That is why I like what they said and were honest in their appraisals of where we are.

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“I am confident with those guys in place they will do the right thing for the club and we will have a club, that is for sure.”

Asked about Wasps’ prospects of surviving the season, Blackett added: “They are confident. There is a lot of interest. It is a great club.

“There has been a lot of interest, new interest coming forward. I get very little information, as I don’t ask, but there are a lot of people who are very positive.”

Bath finished bottom of the Premiership last term, yet they pushed Wasps to the limit, threatening to wipe out a 29-point deficit through an outstanding second-half display, but the visitors held on.

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In difficult circumstances, Wasps defied the odds as they stormed ahead through first-half tries from wing Josh Bassett, flanker Jack Willis and scrum-half Will Porter.

Jacob Umaga kicked four penalties and two conversions, with Bath’s sole response being a Matt Gallagher try that Orlando Bailey converted.

Wasps secured a bonus point midway through the third quarter when Bassett collected his second try, and Bath looked down and out.

But a Tom Dunn try double and Jonathan Joseph touchdown, with Bailey adding one conversion and Piers Francis two, set up a pulsating finish, before Francis and Umaga kicked late penalties.

Bath, though, remain without a win after their first three Premiership games and have already conceded more than 100 points.

They also lost flanker Chris Cloete and number eight Richard de Carpentier to injury, increasing a worrying early-season casualty count.

Bath head coach Johann van Graan said: “I think the positive for me is that everybody at the game would have seen that we’ve got fight. As a coach, that is something we have potentially been lacking in the past.

“Injuries are a difficult one. We keep losing, significantly in the forwards, players to massive injuries.

“We are game three in the season and already very, very thin. Ball-carriers are something we are currently short on, and there is there’s no perfect solution on that one.”

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