Amlin Challenge Cup 2014: Bath didn’t take chances, admits Mike Ford
Amlin Challenge Cup 2014: Bath head coach Mike Ford admits his side didn't take their chances against Northampton Saints
Mike Ford says Bath did not take their chances as they allowed Northampton Saints to come from behind to win the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The West Country side led 13-6 at the break through Anthony Watson’s try and two penalties from outside-half George Ford but, after a superb first 40 minutes, the coach’s son fell apart as his accuracy and decision-making went awry.
Fair play to Saints, I think they stepped up a level at the ruck and won a few turnovers, and Myler picked us off
There was no such problem for Saints who grew into the game through the destructive work of Tom Wood at the breakdown and the kicking of Stephen Myler, who kicked 20 points and missed just the last conversion, as late tries from Phil Dowson and Ben Foden turned the match.
“We had to take our opportunities when they were out there and we missed a couple,” Ford said.
“Fair play to Saints, I think they stepped up a level at the ruck and won a few turnovers, and Myler picked us off.”
The defeat—Bath’s third in the Challenge Cup final—means another season ends without a trophy with their last taste of success coming in the 2008 Challenge Cup, and Ford believes their recent lack of success played a part.
“Maybe at the crucial time the inner belief that you get from winning big games and trophies just wasn’t quite there because we’ve got no recent history of that,” he added.
“You look at what Northampton have done the last few years, they’ve gone through a few losing finals too.
“It’s a setback and we have to learn from it but we don’t want too many. You learn far more from a loss than winning every week.
“Northampton are a good side, and an experienced side and they’ve been here before. They squeezed us a little bit in that second half and we’ll look back on certain things that we let slip and be disappointed.”
Despite ending the season on a low, Ford believes the club has the foundations to kick on next season after finishing fifth in the Premiership and earning a place in the top tier of European rugby.
“We are proud of what we’ve done this year. We’re not going to change our philosophy going in pre-season,” Ford said.
“The foundations are fantastic, the pack are one of the best in the league, our driving maul is very good and we’ve got an exciting back-line.
“You’ve got to remember how young those guys are out there. We just want to put ourselves in this position again and hopefully next time we’ll do better than this.
“It’s been very good and I think we won over 75 per cent of our games this year, which is very good, and we’ve played some attractive football as well.
“The progress has been brilliant and we’ve changed our targets and goals along the way. We were playing that well that we believed we could win something. Next season we will come back stronger. Everyone will be a year older and we’ll be a year better.”