FAN’S VIEW: Scalping of leaders should boost confidence at Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby supporter Glyn Edwards gives his take on events at The Rec….
Having failed to overcome Harlequins at The Stoop in LV= Cup a week earlier, last Friday's hard-fought but thoroughly well-deserved victory against Conor O'Shea's men at The Rec was the best possible way to return to league action.
The fact that Quins are not only the reigning 2011-12 champions but, more importantly, this season's Premiership leaders was just the confidence boost that Bath's coaches would have prescribed before the annual trek to Welford Road.
Bath played with clear heads – for the most part – in unforgiving conditions, and matched their opponents in the aggression of their defence.
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The home side's indiscipline – whilst still creating scoring opportunities for the ever-reliable Nick Evans – was much-improved from the LV= contest, although the absence of the injudicious referee from seven days before was also partly responsible for that.
Whilst JP Doyle mystified some in the crowd with several 'odd' decisions, he is in a much higher bracket of officials than we had to suffer in the Anglo-Welsh competition and – not being a 'home crowd favouring' referee – he demonstrated his competence in an even-handed display.
Bath now head to Leicester this Saturday, and – after back-to back Amlin Cup ties against the Italians of Cammi Calvisano – face another top four side, Saracens, at The Rec three days before Christmas.
The performances and results from these three matches against clubs above them in the table will illustrate how much progress is being made on the training pitches at Farleigh, and Toby Booth hailed the Quins game as "the rebirth of Bath Rugby".
While his understandable delight and pride at Friday's performance probably caused him to pronounce that verdict a little prematurely, following it up successfully at Welford Road and then back at The Rec against Sarries will make it sound rather more convincing.
The belated elevation of Tom Biggs to the senior England squad this week is fantastic news for the player himself, and should be good news for the still pedestrian-looking red rose XV if he is given the chance to display his cutting-edge offensive and destructive defensive talents this weekend.
He could not wish for more obdurate opponents in the world champions but, if called upon at Twickenham, his most difficult challenge will probably be to persuade Manu Tuilagi to consider passing the ball to the wing.
Sound familiar? Good luck, Tom!