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Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 34 Brive 20

Todd Blackadder was delighted with the way Bath Rugby bounced back from their Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat to Saracens last weekend, to book their spot in the Challenge Cup semi-final with a 34-20 victory against Brive.

Taulupe Faletau and Semesa Rokoduguni were the stars of the show as they scored two tries each in the win, while Tom Homer also crossed.

Bath lost 53-10 to rivals Saracens last weekend, but put that behind them in style – playing attacking rugby which thrilled the Rec crowd and left Blackadder purring.

“I am really pleased with the response from last weekend,” he said.

“They are always big weeks when you have got to turn things around really quickly. There were a lot of things to fix, but I feel we are definitely on the right track.

“Things needed to be addressed, and we just highlighted things. It wasn’t a case of baby out with the bath water, but our attack just hadn’t been functioning. We hadn’t been scoring tries, and there were reasons for that.

“I was a little bit concerned when they got back to 27-20. We kept feeding their strengths. They are a big team, and we didn’t want to get into a set-piece battle with them.

“We started out with plenty of intent, and I am pleased with the result, although we can be so much better than what we were in the second-half.”

Brive threatened a memorable comeback in the second period as Fabien Sanconnie powered his way to two quick-fire tries, before Rokoduguni’s stunning effort completed Bath’s win.

And Blackadder was pleased with their resolve, although admitted they fell below par for that brief second-half spell.

“We wanted to ask a lot of questions and put Brive under the pump. I felt we did that in the first-half, but in the second-half, we had so many opportunities but didn’t make the most of them,” he said.

“They asked a lot of questions, but we can certainly be better than we were in the second-half.

“I thought Brive did a good job trying to shut us down, but I was pleased with our intent. We tried to play, and we changed our mindset from where it had been.”

Bath Rugby: Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Banahan (Tapuai 63), Homer, Priestland (Hastings 79), Fotuali’I (Cook 70), Catt (Obano 57), Charles (Graham 70), Palma-Newport ,(Knight 71) Ewels , Charteris (Douglas 73), Mercer, Ellis (Grant 70), Faletau.

Brive: Germain, Ngwenya, Mignardi, Burotu (Galala 41), Masilevu, Ugalde (Laranjeira 49), Iribaren (Lobzhanidze 60), Devisme (Asieshvili 55), Da Ros (Acquier 41), Buys (Bekoshvili 41), Snyman (Waqaniborutu 70), Mela (Le Devedec 70), Hireche (capt), Luafutu, Sanconnie.

Bath Rugby 34
Tries: Faletau (2), Homer, Rokoduguni (2)
Conversions: Priestland (3)
Penalties: Priestland

Brive 20
Tries: Sanconnie (2)
Conversions: Germain (2)
Penalties: Germain (2)

Referee: Marius Mitrea

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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