Bath Rugby coach Mike Ford favours smarter kicking at Rec
Mike Ford has pinpointed a more astute kicking game as a key ingredient for a Bath Rugby revival.
But the new Bath coach – a key figure in boss Gary Gold's new-look team – says supporters should not equate a focus on a smarter kicking game with a one-dimensional rugby style.
"I don't want spectators to get frightened about us kicking the ball away," said former England defence boss Ford. "We are never going to kick the ball without a purpose.
"If we can have the best kickers technically and awareness-wise, we are going to be a very difficult team to beat.
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"A lot of what's said about kicking is a fallacy. Which team kicked the most in the World Cup? New Zealand. In the Super 15? Canterbury – and they've still scored their tries. As long as you kick with purpose, great."
Ford has worked closely with England kicking coach Dave Alred, who has also held occasional sessions with Olly Barkley and others at Bath in recent seasons.
While no discussions have taken place about Alred getting more involved at Bath, Ford believes a kicking coach should not be viewed as a luxury for a club side.
"Not at all," he said. "I've worked with the best in Dave Alred. I understand how he operates and gets players better.
"I'm good friends with Dave. He's doing stuff with [my son] George at Leicester at the moment, we have a good relationship.
"He lives around this area and he's always developing himself as a coach. He's a pretty good guy to have around, not just for his kicking but for his experience as a coach.
"I don't know if he'll get involved [at Bath]. We've not spoken to him.
"Certainly I'm no kicking coach, but having worked with Dave for the last two years I can put principles to players about what to do."