TOM BRADSHAW: Don't expect a lack of Bath bite when Wolves come to town
Did you let out a little "Three Cheers for Grenoble" on Sunday?
If you're a Bath Rugby fan and you didn't, then you should have done.
The French side's 15-9 win over their better-known rivals Stade Francais has given Bath the inside lane when it comes to securing that all-important home quarter-final in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Any win over Bucharest Wolves on Saturday will now guarantee Bath a home tie in the last eight of European club rugby's second-tier competition – a try-scoring bonus point is no longer necessary.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Prior to Grenoble's victory, it looked like Bath and Stade would be taking the home qualification fight right down to the wire.
But if you think that will take a touch of fire out of the collective Bath Rugby belly on Saturday, then think again.
From the tone and content of head coach Gary Gold's post-match press conference after last weekend's narrow win over Agen, the Bath players will have had a tough time of it this week.
Despite his side notching up a victory against an ugly, burly French Top 14 side, Gold made it clear that it was a performance that fell significantly below what was expected.
Gold's message was almost as chilly as the freezing wind that was ripping through the press box – one journalist's hand was shaking with cold as he held his Dictaphone up to the head coach's mouth.
While admitting that a win was at least one modest positive to be taken from the afternoon's labours, Gold let his displeasure be known at the heavy weather that his team had made of the match.
Gold is not afraid to voice his own high standards and is quick to acknowledge when things have come up short. This admirable quality puts him at odds with some of the remarks that came out of the Bath camp during last season, when sub-standard showings were too often glossed over – publicly at least – by Gold's predecessor.
It is a quality that might make for uncomfortable reading for some at times but no organisation ever excelled without frank words being spoken.
Gold will have set the bar high for this weekend's clash with the Romanians and Bath can expect a gnarled set of Bucharest forwards to have a good crack at them. After all, the Romanians should be right at home in these conditions.
Elsewhere, expect fireworks at Kingsholm on Saturday. Gloucester will be welcoming Mont de Marsan and – after the fixture over in France in October, in which the majority of the Cherry and Whites back-row ended up in the sin-bin amid accusations of gouging – anything could happen.
It may not be the Heineken Cup but don't expect the final Amlin pool games to be quiet affairs.