Blackadder pays tribute to Banahan

Date published: October 8 2016

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Bath boss Todd Blackadder paid tribute to inside centre Matt Banahan after he became the club’s first player to score 50 Premiership tries in Friday’s 30-3 win over Sale at the Rec.

Banahan crossed the whitewash after only three minutes to gift the hosts the early lead, and was named man of the match following an inspired performance which helped Bath move into second on the table.

It was a memorable night too for George Ford as he surpassed 800 Premiership points with 15 from the tee, as Kahn Fotuali’i and Kane Palma-Newport put the game out of the Sharks’ reach with a late try apiece.

Despite taking the early advantage, it wasn’t until the second half that Bath truly found their feet, and while Blackadder was thrilled with the result, he admits their slow start to proceedings did cause him concern.

“I think in the first half, it certainly didn’t feel like that was [Bath’s best performance] from their point of view,” he said.

“We started really well, we probably tried a little too hard and gave a few penalties away which is frustrating, if anything, it just didn’t feel like we were building pressure.

“Matt has been fantastic for us. I think if anything, this year he has just come back and he’s excited about his rugby again, and he’s doing simple things really well for us.

“He’s making a big impact and he’s really been our talisman so far.”

In contrast, Sale’s director of rugby Steve Diamond accepted his side’s defeat was deserved, admitting the Sharks never really left the dressing room in the second half.

They now occupy fifth place in the Premiership standings – though that is set to change after the rest of the weekend’s action –and Diamond hopes they can return to winning ways during the European break.

“We gave a couple of soft tries, we changed the bench and the people who came on probably didn’t reach the expectations we set,” he said.

“At 16-3, I thought we at least had a chance to get a bonus point, but fair play to Bath, they’re on a roll and they’re difficult to beat.

“This isn’t the Sale that we are used to. We reached some highs last week beating Harlequins but we didn’t really get out of bed I don’t think.

“I think we were error-strewn really, our kicking game wasn’t very good and George Ford’s kicking game was outstanding so we got beat convincingly in all areas, so no complaints really.”

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