Guinness Premiership - Round 13
Meehan hails Bath fight
April 20, 2010

Bath boss Steve Meehan hailed a "courageous" performance by his team and praised their durability after they stayed on course for the Guinness Premiership title play-offs with a gripping victory over Northampton, their second in in three days.

Bath triumphed 21-20 at the Recreation Ground, courtesy of an Olly Barkley penalty six minutes from time after Northampton flanker Neil Best had been sin-binned. Bath have now lost just one of their past 10 league games and they are only two points behind fourth-placed Wasps, who they meet at Twickenham on Saturday.

If Bath beat Wasps, then their final league game is at home to Leeds Carnegie on May 8, when victory could be enough to secure a play-off spot for a side that struggled around the Premiership's relegation zone before Christmas.

Meehan said, "It was tighter than we wanted it to be tonight, but it was a win, and it could be a very valuable one. It was done in a courageous manner, and given that it was just 72 hours after our last game, we are pretty happy with that.

"In terms of the play-offs nothing has changed. We have got to win our two remaining games and Wasps and London Irish have to drop one. There is still an opportunity for us, and I am sure the guys will front-up on Saturday. You won't find anyone in our dressing room who doesn't want to play in that game."

Northampton, despite showing 12 changes from the team that beat Gloucester three days ago, gave as good as they got in a tense, punishing battle. Northampton collected a losing bonus-point for their efforts, remaining tucked in behind leaders Leicester and knowing that victory at home to Saracens on Saturday would guarantee a home semi-final.

Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder said, "We knew it would be tough. Bath are on a bit of a high, but I thought we played well and with a little bit of luck we would have won. I was delighted with the players who came into the team, and hopefully it hasn't taken too much out of them.

"I was delighted with Shane Geraghty - he took his chances with the penalties while I thought our front row did really well. I am delight with the squad we've got, and come Saturday, we will be well rested and looking forward to the challenge against Saracens."


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