TOM BRADSHAW: Gloucester result and performance was a revelation
Two years ago, I bumped into Bath Rugby’s senior management on the stairs at Kingsholm as I made my way back from my seat to the media room.
Bath had just lost what had been – until five minutes from time – anyone’s game. To say they had faces like thunder would be a gross and crass understatement.
Results at Gloucester matter. Saturday’s win in front of The Shed may ‘only’ have been in the LV= Cup but do not be under illusions – this was a result rich in significance.
You didn’t have to wait until the final whistle to appreciate that. When Semesa Rokoduguni pinned his ears back and cut the sort of line that Philippe Sella would have been proud of, thundering his way over the Gloucester line for Bath’s bonus-point try, the reaction of the visiting coaching bench spoke volumes.
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There was arms-aloft, punch-the-air jubilation. But amid the jubilation there was no doubt an element of relief as well.
Bath have managed to clock up some cricket scores this season but they have been in the Amlin Cup against opposition for whom the term minnows could have been invented. Against the big boys, however, they have struggled to get the attacking juices well and truly flowing.
Saturday was a revelation in that Bath played with an attacking brio that had been frustratingly absent in the first half of the season.
If you score 27 points against Gloucester in a single half, then you are doing something right. That attacking onslaught was underpinned by consistently high skill levels and a rollicking tempo.
But it wasn’t just that. There was an air of swagger too. Not arrogance but a swagger stemming from a team that was believing in itself.
A turning point in the season? Maybe. Certainly, if any result is going to function as a decisive moment for Bath, then it’s a win away at Gloucester in front of a crowd of more than 13,000.
Some will say that there is now a real opportunity for Bath to build some momentum but the truth is that momentum is already building. Over the past month, Bath have won four games on the spin and booked themselves a place in the knock-out stages of two cup competitions.
There is scope to make hay in the bread-and-butter of the Premiership, too. Three of Bath’s next four league games are at The Rec, with their next two against teams that are beneath them in the table.
True, they also face Saints away and then have the challenge of Quins at The Stoop in the semi-finals of the LV= Cup.
But those fixtures shouldn’t hold any fear for Bath – just as long as they can employ a touch of Saturday’s Kingsholm swagger.