Blackadder praises Bath’s mental resilience

Date published: December 4 2016

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder believes his side broke down a mental barrier by hanging tough to beat reigning Premiership champions Saracens.

Saracens may not have been at their best at the Rec on Saturday afternoon, but Mark McCall’s side nevertheless made things extremely difficult for the hosts in the second half.

Alex Lozowski could have taken a draw back to north London – his last-ditch penalty fell shy of the posts – yet few would have begrudged Bath the victory.

And Blackadder, whose side moved to within three points of Saracens at the top, says Bath have come a long way since his arrival in the south west three months ago.

“We overcame a psychological hurdle,” he told the Premiership’s official website.

“We were outstanding in the first half, but we had to absorb a lot of pressure in the second half. The defensive performance showed the desire – the players worked so hard for each other. It’s a psychological hurdle of winning and beating a really good side, and we will be better for that.

“I am really pleased with where we are. We have been in the fight every single game that we’ve played. We haven’t had a time when we have not turned up physically and mentally.”

Bath dominated the first half but only had a Max Clark try and two Tom Homer penalties to show for their efforts, before Sean Maitland chopped the Saracens deficit down to three.

But one final Homer kick – after Lozowski had the first word of the second half – and some ferocious Bath defending sealed the victory.

“In the first half, we were poor and lucky to be maybe only three points behind at half-time,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.

“Bath were clearly the better team in that first half, but the second half, I thought we turned it around well. We had them under a lot of pressure and we had a lot of field position, and we couldn’t capitalise on it. We had two or three very good chances. It’s disappointing that we weren’t able to score.

“We were pleased with the turnaround from the first to second half. We just didn’t take our chances. “Credit to Bath, they defended exceptionally well and fought for everything. Their defensive performance won them the game. They have been defending well all season, and the statistics back that up. They are hard to break down. It is a big win for them.”