Planet Rugby



Bath in full attack mode

10th October 2013 10:33


Kyle Eastmond for Bath in preseason

Attacking threat: Kyle Eastmond

Bath boss Gary Gold says his side will aim to play with plenty of offensive drive as they approach their opening Amlin Challenge Cup fixture.

The director of rugby, in his second season in charge of the Premiership side, boasts among his backline the likes of Nick Abendanon, Horacio Agulla, Semesa Rokoduguni and Matt Banahan, and has paid tribute to their respective attacking threats.

"I just think it would be preposterous to sign such good youngsters and to have individuals like Nick Abendanon and Kyle Eastmond and not want to play. So that's our intent: we want to go out and play, ask questions with ball in hand and be a team that's fun to watch," Gold told the ERC website.

"It's exciting times. It was well documented how Bath have played in the past and it's always been our intention to get back to that. It was a tough year last year, we wanted to get some of our basics right and we feel we've made good progress with that.

"When you've got a guy like Nick in the back three and you can complement that with Horacio, Roko and Banners, why would you not want to get the ball to them? You want to get the ball to them in space and ideally on the front foot. It would have been a very difficult sell to ask Jonathan Joseph to come to our club if we were going to kick the ball away.

"It's not our long-term vision, it is our vision now. We have to have a strong defence, a good set of forwards and our set-piece has to function, but we want all of that to happen so we can give the guys in the backs really good ball and so we can be exciting to watch.

"It's been part of the DNA of Bath for many years. They won the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup playing like that and it's something we really want to get back to."

Gold admits that he is saddened not to be competing in the Heineken Cup - European rugby's premier competition - but does feel there is serious potential for success at the level below.

"We do have huge ambition and we're disappointed that we're not playing in the Heineken Cup this year. It's where we'd like to be and, going forward, we believe we're a club that deserve to be there. The best way to do that is to show some decent intent in the Amlin this year and give it a full go," he said.

"We did that last year and got to a home quarter final where we played a very good Stade Francais team and unfortunately just missed out. But getting 29 out of 30 points in the pool stages showed our intent.

"There's no question that we'll be taking the competition seriously. The club won the competition a few years ago and it gives you an opportunity to get some silverware. As the cliche goes, 'winning is a habit' and it's an important habit at our club.

"We've got a tough start, but we had a similar situation last year when we went away to Agen. Bordeaux-Begles have had a couple of big scalps in the Top 14 so we're going to be playing against a team who are full of confidence. It's an exciting challenge and if we can go there and pick up a scalp nice and early it can give you the confidence to go through the pool stages."

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