Ford happy to be back on winning trail

Date published: March 7 2015

Bath head coach Mike Ford was relieved to see his side record their first Premiership win for almost two months as they edged Sale on Friday.

Bath stayed in Aviva Premiership play-off contention with their 12-3 victory at the Recreation Ground which ended a run of three league defeats and saw them climb three places from fifth to second.

Full-back Tom Homer kicked four penalties in a try-less affair but Ford was happy to see a positive result after successive defeats against play-off rivals Saracens, Saints and Exeter.

For large parts of a dour encounter Bath looked short on confidence, but Homer's boot got them over the finish line as he punishing Sale's set-piece indiscipline.

"We are pleased we got the win," head coach Ford said.

"They are a tough side to beat, they get under your skin, they try to put you off your game.

"I thought we might have played too much in the first-half. Their defence was very good, and they slowed the ball down really well.

"But our game management was better in the second-half, and I felt comfortable once we were nine points in front because our defence was that good. They didn't look like scoring.

"We will have a couple of good weeks off now, and then we should have a full squad back.

"We were top-four last season until the last day, and then we got knocked out. There is no way we are going to relax this season.

"We will keep knocking games off one by one and see where we are at the end of the season."

Sale's failure to secure a losing bonus point dealt their play-off hopes a significant blow.

"There was a lot of hard work and a great defensive effort, and not to get a bonus point is disappointing," said Sale rugby director Steve Diamond.

"You would probably say no (in terms of a top-four finish) now, but there is still a lot to play for. We were pretty equal out there tonight for long periods of time – we just lost a bit of composure in attack.

"We are tired. We have a small squad, so everyone plays 80 minutes. We have just come to the end of four hard games, and it showed. In attack, we were just off the pace a little bit, but the endeavour was fantastic.

"We would have liked a bonus point, but we are still knocking around the top half of the league and giving sides a run for their money.

"We weren't the best side tonight. They deserved their win, and we move on.

"Last week (against Leicester) we didn't show up, and this week we didn't put as many things together as we have been doing.

"If you want to be in the top four, you have got to be better than we were tonight."