RUGBY: Hatley's praise for Bath's derby success

RUGBY: Hatley's praise for Bath's derby success

RUGBY: Hatley's praise for Bath's derby success

First published in Sport

BATH Rugby forwards coach Neal Hatley praised his side for learning their lessons after getting the better of West Country rivals Gloucester in a feisty Aviva Premiership encounter.

In a match that witnessed seven cards including three yellow for Bath and two yellow and two red for Gloucester, George Ford converted a late penalty try for an 18-17 triumph.

The victory moved Bath onto 59 points in the Aviva Premiership table – five clear of Harlequins who had put the pressure on by beating Sale Sharks on Friday night.

And after coming out on top in a furious encounter Hatley credited his players’ character - particularly after suffering a single-point defeat to Sale in the last round.

“I think it was [a real test of character]. After the disappointment of the Sale game where we had something very similar where we have had the opportunity to win the game in the last minute and not taken it,” he said.

“So to get something straight away in almost a replica of that situation and come up with a result, it says a fantastic amount about the character in the squad.

“We talked in the week about maybe the derby had lost some of its edge in the professional era, and then the game is reduced to something like that. So no, I haven’t seen anything like that for a while.

“With Harlequins getting the win last night it was important for us to come out and get a positive result. We’ve got three tough games to go. Two at home and one away so we’ve just got to keep edging our noses a little bit further in front.”

Gloucester duo Sila Puafisi and Tavis Knoyle will appear before a disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday evening to answer for the red cards received in the stormy west country derby.

Retrospective yellow cards are to be issued to Bath pair Nick Abendanon and Paul James in the form of post-match level one citings, but the five players sin-binned during Saturday's violent Aviva Premiership clash at Kingsholm have escaped censure.

Gloucester ended the game with 11 players after prop Puafisi and scrum-half Knoyle were sent off following separate incidents of foul play and centre Mike Tindall and hooker Huia Edmonds had been sin-binned.

Knoyle was dismissed after throwing punches at Leroy Houston during the dying minutes while Puafisi had been sent off 25 minutes earlier for a dangerous high tackle on Abendanon.

Abendanon has been given a Level One citing for striking Knoyle and James for stamping on Shaun Knight.

Bath also had three players yellow-carded - Carl Fearns, Matt Garvey and Dave Attwood - before completing a last-gasp 18-17 victory with a converted 79th-minute penalty try.

The Rugby Football Union is liasing with Gloucester over another incident in the chaotic encounter that saw an empty drinks bottle thrown at referee Tim Wigglesworth.

Wigglesworth appeared to have been targeted as he walked down the players' tunnel while being escorted from the pitch after the final whistle.

Gloucester have investigated the matter and having examined CCTV footage it was evident the object was thrown from the seats occupied by a group of teenage boys on an escorted rugby tour.

Gloucester will take action pending further discussions.

"The individuals were on a day out, which included watching the game, and were accompanied by their school teachers," a statement issued by Gloucester read.

"The individual concerned has admitted to the act and is extremely remorseful about his actions.

"Gloucester are liaising with the club and individual with regards to appropriate action being taken.

"Gloucester Rugby would like to stress that the individual involved is neither a member nor regular supporter of the club."

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie admitted the unsavoury scenes are damaging for the sport, but refused to interfere with the disciplinary process to make an example of the players involved.

"The RFU are looking at it, looking at the video and what went on. We'll make some views on it in a disciplinary fashion," Ritchie said.

"I don't think anybody could look at it and say it was the greatest advert for the game, both in terms of the things that happened off and on the pitch.

"We'll be looking at it, but we have an independent disciplinary process.

"It will go through the right independent judicial process. I do not interfere with what happens in that process."

Be part of the world’s biggest club rugby final. To buy your tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 31 May at Twickenham go to www.tickethour.co.uk/premierrugby

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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