While every point is crucial in the pursuit of an Aviva Premiership Rugby top-four place, Kyle Eastmond insists Bath Rugby cannot afford to underestimate London Welsh on Sunday.
Mike Ford’s side enter round 18 of Aviva Premiership Rugby occupying the final play-off spot by virtue of match points difference alone, being tied on both points and wins with Leicester Tigers.
Yet the West Country side are also just one and two points adrift of Saracens and Exeter Chiefs respectively in the race for a home semi-final behind current leaders Northampton Saints.
With the standings so tight at the top, Bath will head to the Kassam Stadium looking to get back to winning ways on the road, having lost their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby away encounters.
But Eastmond is adamant that his side will first need to make sure of victory over the Exiles, before they can turn attention to trying for a potentially vital bonus point.
“We are looking forward to it, we have prepared really well for a good game as it is always a tough game in the Premiership,” he said.
“We definitely won’t be taking London Welsh lightly and we will show them the respect they deserve by preparing the best way we can.
“We fully expect Welsh to present a tough test as they will be scrapping away to get a victory.
“We can’t go into the game worrying about things like bonus points and instead just have to be looking to win and play to our capabilities.”
Although the Exiles remain winless in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season, history is slightly on their side in this fixture, with Bath having lost on their only previous visit to the Kassam Stadium in November 2012.
And after a recent extended break under the guidance of new head coach Rowland Phillips, Exiles winger Seb Jewell is confident his side are well placed to redouble their efforts for the final run-in.
“I think the break has been a good time for us, because it has given us a five-week period to focus on at the end of the season," he said.
“We realise that the writing is on the wall a little bit for this year, but if we can get some pride and respect out of it and the boys can buy into this last five weeks, that would be great.
“That has been our main focus recently, we set this is a separate season now – we've got five games, so let's just get as much out of it as we can.”
Kassam Stadium, 2.30pm
Referee: Thomas Foley (5th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle and Paul Burton. TMO: David Sainsbury
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