Premiership: Bath will need ‘to get a lot better’ before the Champions Cup next season

Dylan Coetzee
Bath's Johann van Graan looks on before a game.

Bath Rugby head coach Johann Van Graan warming up ahead of the Gallagher Premiership match at Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol. Picture date: Saturday September 10, 2022.

Bath head coach Johann van Graan admits his side needs “to get a lot better” after qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup.

It took a brilliant 61-29 win over a weakened Saracens to claim the last spot on the final day at the expense of Bristol, who missed out due to a lower points difference.

Excited for Europe

Van Graan is excited to be in the prestigious competition next season but admits his side will have to improve a lot before then.

“It’s a competition I love,” he said.

“I look forward to taking Bath into that competition, and whoever we get is to be determined.

“I’m looking forward to it. We need to get a lot better though.”

End of the road for some

The boss reflected on the departures of several players at the club and believes part of their performance was due to that.

“For a lot of very good people, the train will stop tomorrow and they will get off,” he said.

“We talked from the beginning about connection, clarity and commitment. You saw that commitment here today.”

More clarity

Looking ahead, Van Graan admits the team has a lot of development to come but is pleased that there is now a “clear” identity to Bath’s game.

He added: “We still have a long way to go. We said we had to become tough to beat and I feel we have. There’s a clear way we play the game now. We became fitter and better. All credit to the players.”

Saracens fell away in the second half at the Rec as Bath found their rhythm, with Van Graan delighted with the efforts regardless of the fact that the league leaders fielded a weakened team.

“Irrespective of who they put out, that’s a very well coached team, and with a system I’ve got a lot of respect for. They kept us busy in the first half and it took some magic tackling to keep them out,” he said.

READ MORE: Premiership: Late Bath try seals Champions Cup qualification at expense of rivals Bristol Bears