Balshaw confident of keeping Bath afloat
January 11, 2000
Iain Balshaw has no doubt Bath can keep alive their fading Heineken Cup hopes by killing off Recreation Ground visitors Swansea tonight.
Balshaw, Bath's top try-scorer in Europe this season, is banking on a big performance from the Pool 2 strugglers.
The 1998 European champions must beat Swansea then topple tournament favourites Toulouse in France next Saturday to have any chance of securing quarter-final status.
Even if they tear up the form book and beat Pool 2 winners Toulouse, a last eight spot still cannot be guaranteed as one of the two best runners-up.
There is no certainty about them overcoming fellow under-achievers Swansea, given a 10-9 defeat at St Helen's last month.
But Balshaw roared: "There is no doubt in my mind that we will win against Swansea. They didn't win the game down there we lost it.
"We played all the rugby but made mistakes in the vital few areas. Hopefully, those errors won't happen again, and we feel that Swansea can be beaten at our place."
Bath, with just one win from six starts in all competitions since late November, are expected to welcome back fit-again England duo Phil de Glanville and Mike Catt.
But Ben Clarke will not make his comeback following a hamstring injury that has restricted him in recent weeks.
It would be de Glanville's first start following five weeks out with a fractured cheekbone, while fly-half Catt has had shoulder trouble and flanker Clarke a hamstring problem.
Swansea do not expect captain Scott Gibbs to recover from a hamstring injury in time for tonight's rearranged clash, but fly-half Arwel Thomas (knee)should make it.
"It will be a huge challenge for us to beat Bath on their own patch, especially because they too are desperate to win," said Swansea coach John Plumtree.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament