MIKE Ford believes the way Bath handled the closing moments of Saturday's tempestuous Aviva Premiership derby against Gloucester is proof of their growing maturity.

Bath clinched an 18-17 win at Kingsholm in an ill-tempered game that saw Gloucester's Sila Puafisi and Tavis Knoyle sent off, the home side's Mike Tindall and Huia Edmonds shown yellow cards while the visitors' Carl Fearns, Matt Garvey and Dave Attwood also spent time in the sin-bin.

Bath duo Nick Abendanon and Paul James have since both been cited for their part in incidents during the game but, ahead of Saturday's Rec appointment against relegation favourites Worcester, Ford told bathrugby.com: "Whilst the game didn't pan out as any of us expected, to get the four points against Gloucester was a big boost for us.

"It was a real test of character for us, and to have learnt from the Sale game to secure the penalty try at the end was very pleasing from a coaching point of view.

"The leadership and decision making on the field in the last 10 minutes was outstanding. It says a lot about how this group of players are developing and growing as a team, but we know we still have some way to go.''

Victory over Worcester this weekend would take Bath a step closer to securing their place in the end-of-season play-offs, with Harlequins starting to breathe down their necks for fourth place.

Ford added: ""Worcester are a determined, gritty bunch, so we know we'll have to be on our game come Saturday.

"They're fighting for their Premiership survival, so will be desperate to get anything they can from the game, and have been hitting some form recently, winning against Newcastle, and then just missing out against Exeter last weekend, but scoring four tries and securing a losing bonus point.

"As usual though, we'll be concentrating on ourselves throughout the week, making sure that we are as ready as we can be to continue our push for the play-offs.

"We've said it before throughout the season, but the home support at the Rec really does make a huge difference to the players on the day – we've only got two home games left this season, so we need to make sure every minute of it counts."