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Bath Rugby ready to prove people wrong – Mike Ford

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 08, 2014

Bath Rugby head coach Mike Ford is eyeing the play-offs PICTURE: CLARE GREEN

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Head coach Mike Ford believes Bath are out to prove people wrong in their quest to finish in the Aviva Premiership play-off positions.

Fourth-placed Bath face a winner-takes-all showdown at Harlequins, who lie fifth, in their final regular-season game on Saturday.

Bath have a three-point lead over their rivals in the table, but will be overhauled if they are beaten at The Stoop.

And Quins will still qualify for the end-of-season shoot-out even if the West Country side pick up a losing bonus point, by virtue of having attained a greater number of wins.

His side have not been outside the top four all season, but boss Ford believes there are plenty who still doubt Bath's capabilities.

Ford said: "We believe we are a top-four side, but the perception everywhere else is that we are not quite there yet.

"Come Saturday night we'll have either proved a lot of people wrong or they'll be right that we are just a little bit short at the moment.

"If we go to an established top-four side and clinch it then you can't argue with that.

"We don't want to come away from this season with everyone saying we've done so well with such a young side, having improved so much but still just missed out. We want to get into the top four this year because we don't know when this chance will come around again. The opportunity is there for us to do it now.

"Saracens, Northampton, Leicester and Quins have been the top four teams for a long time. It's very hard to break into that. We've broken into it for 21 games, but unfortunately the season is 22 games long.

"We've talked about a lot of things. We saw Liverpool choke on Monday night, we've talked about England taking three attempts to win the Grand Slam in the 2000s. We don't want to be like that."

Having to travel away from home for such a crucial game should hold no fears for Bath.

Ford's men have an excellent record on the road, a stark contrast to 12 months ago when they recorded just one league win away from The Rec.

"We've taken a lot of scalps this year," said Ford. "We've not lost away from home in 2014, only three away games all season and only once in the last six months.

"We're very confident going away from home and we know that if we get that far, our last four games of the season will all be away from The Rec."

Bath could have clinched their play-off place last Friday when they hosted Northampton Saints, but had to settle for a dramatic draw, which kept Quins' dream alive.

Ford says there has been no problem refocussing his troops this week.

"The boys are buzzing and can't wait to get out there," he said. "I had to rein them in a bit in training on Tuesday and tell them there were still four days to go. Harlequins are a fantastic side and it's going to come down to a lot of individual battles on the pitch, but this is what we signed up for."

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