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Premiership Rugby

Boss not setting targets for Bath

Boss not setting targets for Bath

Bath director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan is refusing to be drawn on Bath’s prospects of qualifying for the Aviva Premiership Rugby play-offs – or even reaching next season’s Heineken Cup.

Bath remain seventh in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table after the 26-18 home win over Exeter but, with 44 points from 18 games, still have a game in hand over Harlequins (45) and London Irish (48). Fourth-placed Northampton have 53 points however and will take some catching.

"All I will say is that we have to win our games," said McGeechan. "If we are winning then we can have a look at what everyone else is doing. If we keep losing, it doesn't matter what others are doing. We have to focus on the way we want to play, on what we have to do now.

"What we've got to do now is to focus on the next game against Harlequins. If we get it right again there's more pressure on the teams above us."

McGeechan gave his team credit for recovering from a poor first quarter in which they conceded a penalty to Gareth Steenson and a spectacular solo try by Luke Arscott. Tries from Matt Banahan, Matt Carraro and Michael Claassens plus 11 points from fly-half Butch James eventually sealing the win as Bath ended a run of three-straight league losses.

"The first 20 minutes could have been better," he admitted. "The second 20 of the first half and the first 20 of the second half we got somewhere we wanted to be. We were more focused on keeping the ball and building pressure. The outcome was two penalties and a try.

"The forwards stepped it up and worked hard. It was a hot day. And in the second half we were much more accurate and put Exeter under pressure."

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said: "There were lots of positives – it was a much better performance than last week (against Leeds). We just needed to have a little confidence to keep playing. When we did, we looked a useful side.

"We made some breaks, we kept the ball. What we really do have to knuckle down and learn is to have a bit of composure to finish off those chances. Our biggest fault this season is that we don't finish those chances when we should."

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AUDIO: McGeechan, Banahan and Baxter on Bath 26-18 Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership

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