Meehan: We need to grow up
October 10, 2010
Takudzwa Ngwenya is caught by Nick Abendanon during Bath's defeat to Biarritz © Getty Images
Bath boss Steve Meehan claimed his team needed to "grow up" after their Heineken Cup campaign began in frustrating fashion against Biarritz at the Recreation Ground.
Biarritz marksman Dimitri Yachvili punished Bath's indiscipline by kicking four penalties - the last one 10 minutes from time after home prop David Wilson was sin-binned - to clinch a 12-11 Pool 4 win.
It means Bath, beaten despite building an early 8-0 lead through Michael Claassens' smart try and an Olly Barkley penalty, are already battling to avoid a repeat of last season's pool stage exit.
"It's actually quite difficult to put into words," said head coach Meehan. "We played a very good first half - we got all the decisions right - but a few technical penalties went against us in the second half.
"And then with four minutes to go, we had an opportunity to win the match, but we didn't take it. It was a better performance than last week [against Gloucester], yet to come up short like that is very frustrating."
Bath had opportunities to give Barkley a late drop-goal chance, but they proved tactically naive under pressure and Biarritz possessed the nous to close out a disappointing game.
"Biarritz were happy to live off our penalties to begin with in the second half," Meehan said. "They ticked over three points at a time. We've got to grow up and take the points. It's straightforward, it is about being ruthless, getting the job done and getting it through the sticks. Simple.
"Drop-goals and penalties win games. They kick the penalties and keep the scoreboard ticking over. We had the opportunity and didn't take it."
Only four players - Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Jones, Diego Dominguez and David Humphreys - have scored more points than Yachvili in Heineken Cup history.
Meehan had warned his players during the build-up of Yachvili's danger, and his fears were realised as Biarritz took early charge of a group that also includes Ulster and new Italian side Aironi.
As for England international Wilson's sin-binning, Meehan added: "Anyone who gets yellow-carded frustrates himself, the coaches and the team. We have given away too many yellow cards already this season. We worked harder as a team than we did last week.
"When we are doing things on the field the way we do in training, we are a very good side. We have got to transfer more of that into games."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor