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PREVIEW: Bath not giving up on qualification

Thursday 14th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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En déplacement à Dublin

En déplacement à Dublin

Bath will be aiming to take advantage of Leinster’s struggles in Europe to keep alive their hopes of qualify from the so-called ‘pool of death’.

Leinster’s European hopes are long over having lost all four of their fixtures so far in pool five but Bath are still in with a chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.

They currently six third in the pool, three points behind holders and three-time champions Toulon and a further two points from leaders Wasps.

A win for Bath at the RDS Arena on Saturday and helping hand from Wasps in France the following day could put the Aviva Premiership clubs in an excellent position to dump Toulon out of the competition.

Bath lost their rearrange clash with Toulon 12-9 last weekend but despite the setback head coach Mike Ford does believe they can qualify for the quarter-finals.

Ford said: “We have nine points and two matches left to play. We can still qualify, but we have to win our last two games.

“We had the edge and we showed heart and the will to win against Toulon so it was gutting to lose.”

Leinster are playing for pride against Bath but they will be without captain and talisman Jamie Heaslip after he was forced out of their loss against the Ospreys with a head injury.

Scrum-half Luke McGrath admits the Leinster squad feel under pressure to deliver a result for their supporters after a disastrous Champions Cup campaign to date.

McGrath added: “We need to come out of Saturday with a win, especially for the supporters that have supported us the whole way, travelled Europe with us. We owe them one, definitely.

“They've threats all around the pitch. Even watching them against Toulon they were unlucky not to win it.

“George Ford's absolutely pivotal for them getting the drop-goals as well. We're going to have to be very good to beat them on Saturday.”
Match Facts

  • Including last year’s semi-final defeat to Toulon, Leinster have now lost five Champions Cup games on the bounce, their worst ever run of form in the competition.
  • If Leinster lose this game it will be the first time they have lost three home games in a row in the competition.
  • Bath have lost six of seven away games against Irish opposition in this competition, three of those defeats have come at the hands of Leinster.
  • This will be the ninth time these two teams have faced off, the Irish province have won six of the previous eight encounters (L2).

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REPORT: Madigan puts boot into Bath

Saturday 16th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Les Anglais de Bath avaient absolument besoin d'un succès pour rester en course dans la compétition. Battus dans l'envie à Dublin (25-11)

Les Anglais de Bath avaient absolument besoin d'un succès pour rester en course dans la compétition. Battus dans l'envie à Dublin (25-11)

Leinster Rugby knocked Bath Rugby out of the European Champions Cup with their first win of the campaign.

Ian Madigan kicked 20 points while Sean Cronin claimed a second-half try that settled a gripping tie at the RDS Showground.

With nothing more than pride to play for, this victory ended Leinster’s worst run in the Champions Cup of five successive defeats.

Leroy Houston had earlier crossed to give Bath a glimmer of hope earlier in the second half.

But this defeat, just six days after pushing holders Toulon to the limit in France, ended any hope of progressing to the quarter-finals for a second year in a row.

Madigan and George Ford traded penalties though Leinster centre Garry Ringrose proved the game’s most threatening player.

His surge almost saw James Tracy over the line but the hooker was ruled just short.

Madigan kicked two more penalties, the second after Bath lock Dominic Day was binned for obstruction.

Houston thought he had given Bath a foothold following the speed and vision of Jonathan Joseph from a counter-attack but was beaten to the touch-down by the finger-tips of Dave Kearney.

Leinster began the second half at full tilt as Ringrose was twice involved in a length of the field attack that was only halted when Ford hauled down Nacewa five metres from the line.

However Madigan still nudged Leinster 15-3 ahead early in the second half before Houston spear-headed a driving maul to score on 60 minutes.

However Ford missed the conversion and a mistake from the re-start ended with Cronin scurrying over unopposed to settle the tie despite late kicks from Madigan and Rhys Priestland.

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