Dempsey ex­pect­ing no sur­prises from for­mer club Le­in­ster

Bath Chronicle - - SPORT - Daniel Evans Head of Sport @daniel­e­vans28 | 01225 322300 [email protected]­

Gir­van Dempsey is not ex­pect­ing any bluff­ing from his old mates Le­in­ster. A for­mer player, academy man­ager and se­nior coach there, the essence of the fa­mous Ir­ish prov­ince is still in his DNA. Dempsey only ar­rived as at­tack coach of Bath Rugby in late sum­mer, but it doesn’t mean there will be any soft spots come the Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup clash at the Rec on Satur­day. Rather then change their bru­tally ef­fec­tive game­plan to mit­i­gate any in­side knowl­edge Dempsey is shar­ing with the coaches and play­ers at Far- leigh House, he is ex­pect­ing the reign­ing cham­pi­ons to do what they nor­mally do. Even without their Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­als they put 111 points on Ospreys and Dragons in the league the past two week­ends; show­ing no team in the North­ern hemi­sphere has such strength in depth. Look­ing for­ward to pit­ting his wits against some fa­mil­iar faces and brains, Dempsey said: “I think they’ll stick to what’s tried and tested and what works for them. “I think they will have one or two tricks up their sleeve off starter plays. They al­ways have one or two. “I think I know what kind of plays they’re go­ing to chal­lenge us with, but it’s mak­ing sure we’re clued into it, read the trig­gers and stop it. “What they pride them­selves on is their own struc­tured rugby, their phase at­tack and their de­fen­sive pres­sure. “I mas­sively want to win this one. More than any other game. “Every game is a big game. They roll around week on week, but this game has a lot of spice, a lot of added in­ter­est in it.” Le­in­ster are se­cond and Bath third, two points be­hind them af­ter two rounds in Pool 1. Af­ter do­ing bat­tle at the Rec they will butt heads again at the Aviva Sta­dium in Dublin a week later. Even some­one who knows the ta­lent in the Le­in­ster ranks is sur­prised by some of the score­lines they’ve been reg­is­ter­ing. “It was chal­leng­ing for us to see that and see what they have in re­serve, and what they have been prep­ping in the back­ground,” Dempsey ad­mit­ted. “They’ve ef­fec­tively been pre­par­ing two sides.” He be­lieves Bath’s chances of caus­ing an up­set against the cham­pi­ons could re­volve around who wins the bat­tle of the rucks. “They pride them­selves hugely on their at­tack and de­fen­sive break­down,” he said. “They have threats across the back row in terms of poach threats, jackal threats and ball carry. “They’re a mo­men­tum team who look to build mo­men­tum through strong, di­rect car­ries and they’re very tac­ti­cally as­tute in terms of see­ing and ex­ploit­ing space. “But there’s no bet­ter test, no bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus the mind from a play­ers’ point of view than test­ing your­self against the best in Europe.”

PIC­TURE: Dan Mul­lan/getty Im­ages

Sale Sharks duo Chris Ash­ton and Josh Strauss swoop in to bring down Sam Un­der­hill, as Bath nar­rowly avoided drop­ping down the Premier­ship ta­ble thanks to Joe Cokanasiga’s late try, which earned a 7-7 draw. See pages 48&49 for a full match re­port and re­ac­tion from the Rec.

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