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Wilson: Bath Rugby ready to take final step

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Davey Wilson insists Bath Rugby’s time is now as they bid to mark their renaissance with the Aviva Premiership Rugby crown on Saturday.

Bath have undergone a major transformation with Mike Ford at the helm over the past two years, narrowly missing out on last season’s play-offs before falling to Northampton Saints in the Challenge Cup final.

And their response to those near misses has been emphatic – securing a home Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final this time around before putting Leicester Tigers to the sword in a brilliant display of counter-attacking rugby.

Standing in their way at Twickenham on Saturday are Saracens, who have their own scores to settle at Rugby HQ after that last-gasp defeat to the Saints a year ago.

Whereas Sarries are used to competing on the biggest stages of them all – they also reached the Heineken Cup final last year – Wilson admits Bath’s squad are a little wet behind the ears.

But the England prop is adamant that his side can keep their heads this weekend and produce the beguiling rugby that has won them so many admirers.

“It’s my first major final so it’s going to be incredible to walk out there and take it all in,” said Wilson. “To be honest the fact that most of our squad haven’t played in a major final might make a difference.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, suddenly realise you’re in a big game and choke.

“But I think our squad has taken a lot from the experience of playing a European final against Northampton Saints last year.

“We’re in a far more comfortable position as a squad now and I really feel we are in a better place than we have ever been before. 

“Saracens have been part of a lot of big games so they know what needs to be done. It’s a real 50/50 game that looks like it’s going to be won and lost on territory.

“If we hold firm and keep them out of our 22 it could go our way but there’s so many things that need to go our way.

“In a big final like this one a missed tackle or a failed pass can end up deciding the result.

“So we need to play our own game, not get overwhelmed by the occasion and hope we get that bit of luck on the day.”

Wilson himself has timed his return from a neck injury impeccably, having started Bath’s last three games.

However, the 30-year-old is aware that Leicester matched them at scrumtime on Saturday – despite the result – and admits there must be an improved performance at Twickenham.

“It was a brilliant result, you never know what’s going to happen in a semi-final like that so it was unbelievable to get the win,” Wilson added.

“We didn’t make many trips into their 22 but our backs did well and we managed to keep them out.

“We did give away a few too many penalties early on which put pressure on ourselves in the beginning but credit to us we made the most of our opportunities to get the win.

“I think I’m getting there slowly. It took a few games to get back into it but at the weekend I felt I was back at my best in terms of getting round the park.

“The scrum didn’t go as well as we’d hoped so we need to improve on that for the final but we’re just massively excited to be there.”

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