Bath fac­ing a stern test, coach warns

Western Daily Press - - Rugby -

BATH coach Gir­van Dempsey is not ex­pect­ing any bluff­ing from his old mates at Le­in­ster, writes Daniel Evans.

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 than change their bru­tally ef­fec­tive gameplan to mit­i­gate any in­side knowl­edge Dempsey is shar­ing with the coaches and play­ers at Far­leigh 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, pic­tured, 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’s a big game. They roll around week on week, but this game has a lot of spice.”

Le­in­ster are sec­ond and Bath third, two points be­hind them after two rounds in Pool One. 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,” Dempsey ad­mit­ted.

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 added.

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