Meehan upbeat despite defeat
January 22, 2011
Dimitri Yachvili scored Biarritz's opening try in Saturday's crucial win over Bath © PA Photos
Bath may have come out on the wrong side of a 26-19 scoreline in their clash with Biarritz on Saturday but head coach Steve Meehan took a lot of positives out of his side's performance at the Parc des Sports Aguilera.
The visitors had arrived in Basque country with nothing more than a mathematical chance of progressing to the last eight of the Heineken Cup and although they found themselves 21-0 down early in the second half, they showed tremendous fighting spirit and no end of attacking quality in racking up three tries through Stuart Hooper and Tom Biggs (2) before the full-time whistle blew to salvage a creditable - albeit meaningless - losing bonus point.
"If we return to the Premiership and play rugby like that then we are going to be a handful," Meehan said. "The rugby itself was fairly evenly shared. At times we got on the front foot and played some good attacking rugby. If you look only at our win-loss count in this pool, it looks poor. But we performed better than that indicates.
"In the second-half, both of their tries came from poor tactical kicking that put us under pressure. But we finished off well and kept working for the full 80 minutes. We thoroughly deserved those three tries. It's frustrating to have lost, but you must be optimistic after performances like that."
Iain Balshaw played an integral role in Biarritz's victory, the former Bath winger bagging a brace of tries, with Dimitri Yachvili and Taku Ngwenya both contributing one apiece as the hosts secured the bonus point which guaranteed them top spot in Pool 4.
"We completed our objective that we set at the start of the game. We knew we had a chance of a home quarter-final and delivered it," Balshaw said. It was a stern test from Bath and it was probably very good to watch. We got four tries but in the last 10 minutes we were probably looking to get a few more tries and were swaying both ways.
"At half-time we said they would come out and play and it was important that we started the way we finished the first half. We took our foot off the gas but are pleased with the result."
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