Amlin Challenge Cup
Ford backs youngsters in silverware hunt
April 27, 2014
George Ford is one of the stand-out performers among Bath's crop of young players © Getty Images
Bath head coach Mike Ford has insisted Sunday's win over Wasps will give his young side the confidence they need to challenge for silverware as the season nears its climax.
Bath trailed Wasps 13-10 at half-time in their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final but fought back with two second-half tries to claim victory at Adams Park. They endured a nervous final five minutes after Kyle Eastmond was sent to the sin-bin but did enough to claim a spot in the final against Northampton Saints.
"We needed that to give us the belief that we are good side," Ford said. "We've only scratched the surface with this team as they are very young and still developing.
"We found a way to win. Fair play to Wasps - they put us under miles of pressure and it was tense at the end but there was some excellent decision-making from our captain, Stuart Hooper."
Bath next face Northampton in the Aviva Premiership this Friday with a place in the play-offs on the line. "It will be a sell-out on Friday and the Rec will be rocking, but we need to win the big games against the big sides," Ford said. "We've lost to Saracens twice this season, and to Northampton, so we have to start beating the major teams to continue our progression."
Despite missing out on a final berth, Wasps director of rugby Dai Young was not unhappy with his team's performance. However he bemoaned the concession of soft tries, something that has frustrated him all season.
"We came up a little bit short, but that's an image of most of our season," Young said. "We work our socks off but we give points away very cheaply, which you can't do against a quality team like Bath."
Wasps scored two tries through Will Helu and Ashley Johnson, but could have had another when Kearnan Myall's effort was ruled out by the TMO because of an earlier forward pass. "It looked a bit flat to me but they had one ruled out for an earlier knock-on so I have no complaints," Young said. "If the technology is there, it should be used."
Wasps face Newcastle and Northampton in their final two games of the Premiership season and Young has injury concerns ahead of those crucial fixtures in Wasps' hunt for a European spot. He explained: "We won't have Christian Wade or Jake Cooper-Woolley back for those games, but the next two weeks are important games for the club as we have a shot at Europe, which we didn't think we'd have a few weeks ago."
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