Bath Rugby hooker Ross Batty insists there is no chance of his side underestimating Newcastle Falcons as the Aviva Premiership Rugby run-in reaches the business end.
With four rounds to go, Mike Ford’s Bath side badly need a victory to keep up their chase for the top four while the Falcons, with safety already secured, appear to have little to play for.
But on a Friday night at Kingston Park, the Falcons will be desperate for a prize scalp and Batty admits he and his teammates are ignoring the form book, which says they have beaten the Falcons in 18 of the last 19 encounters.
“I don’t see our run-in being easier than anyone else’s on paper,” he said. “We need to make sure we go to Newcastle and do our jobs.
“We need to do well between now and the end of the season to get where we want to be. There’s no let-up.
“They have a few big runners in the backline that we will have to be wary of, and they are a very well-drilled outfit.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us, particularly on a Friday night.”
The Falcons have won just once at Kingston Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby since November, with a 38-7 triumph over London Welsh in round 13.
Bath have won on their last nine visits to Kingston Park since a 17-19 reversal in 2003 but Falcons back-row forward Chris York says a Friday night Kingston Park atmosphere can still play a role as the team go in search of their first win in any competition since February.
Recent performances against clubs like Leicester Tigers and Saracens shows that this season’s Falcons can challenge visiting teams on the home field – according to York.
“I think certainly for most of the games we’ve played recently here, we’ve getting the best of teams like Leicester, when we had up here for 70 minutes we were pretty much leading the game and we’re not expecting any change there,” he said.
“With this new pitch, we’re accustomed to it, we know what our strengths are and how we can best get them from this pitch so I think I think there definitely is a home advantage.
“Hopefully we will be able to use our experience from playing on the new surface this season and show some of that on Friday night.
“We’ve had a couple of results which probably haven’t gone our way due to a number of different reasons, but we believe that’s because of ourselves and what we haven’t done in the game, what we should have been doing in the game so we’re looking to obviously get a good performance on Friday night.”
(Kingston Park, 7.45pm)
Referee: JP Doyle (94th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson & Ashley Rowden. TMO: Trevor Fisher.
Live on BT Sport