Nathan Catt admits Bath Rugby have got to focus on executing for the full 80 minutes this weekend against Bristol Rugby, if they are to banish the demons of recent weeks.
Todd Blackadder’s side sit fourth currently in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but could be even better placed had they not squandered leads against Exeter Chiefs and Newcastle Falcons in consecutive league matches.
The 24-22 loss at Kingston Park last weekend was particularly frustrating for Catt, who has featured in 11 of Bath’s 13 Aviva Premiership Rugby clashes this term.
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) January 9, 2017
And the prop insists if they are to turn their fortunes around against league rivals Bristol in the European Challenge Cup, they must deliver the goods from the first whistle to the last.
“It was a hugely frustrating game for us as I thought that we were actually pretty poor in the first half particularly,” said the Bristol-born 29-year-old.
“I thought we were going to be alright when we were playing quite well in the second, and then for the second time in two weeks – and it doesn’t happen very often – we managed to give up a lead.
“That was really disappointing for the boys and the changing room was pretty silent afterwards, but there is no better way to get back at it than a local derby against Bristol this week, and both teams still have plenty to play for in the competition.
“The boys will be looking to put it right; we have been talking about executing for 80 minutes, and looking at the affects small errors are having on the whole team.
“We hope that both of those games will be a bit of an anomaly. We’re very much looking to right some wrongs against Bristol. If we work hard we should be fine.”
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) January 11, 2017
Mark Tainton’s Bristol may be bottom of the pile in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but Catt believes Bath’s West Country rivals are one of the most dangerous sides in the country at the moment.
Having won four games on the bounce in all competitions before giving Northampton Saints an almighty fright at Franklin’s Gardens last weekend, Bristol will be a tough test for Bath, and Catt is anticipating a grandstand encounter.
“Bristol are in good form, and this weekend is teed up to be a really good game. They’ve got some momentum and will want to keep that running,” added Catt, who will be hoping to catch the eye of Eddie Jones with Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler both set to miss the start of the Six Nations.
“Whereas we’ve lost three on the bounce and are really keen to go and get a win in a local derby, so both sides will be highly motivated and it will be a big old battle.
“We know they’ve got a very good set-piece – a good scrum, good lineout, and good maul – so we don’t want to be letting them get on top there, especially in our own half.
“It’s about making sure we control what we can control and limiting their opportunities.”
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) January 10, 2017