Bath breeze into semi-final

Bath head coach Steve Meehan insisted goal kicking would not be a priority in recruiting a replacement for the departing Olly Barkley. [more]

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Bath head coach Steve Meehan insisted goal kicking would not be a priority in recruiting a replacement for the departing Olly Barkley.

The prolific Barkley continued a rich vein of form with a 22-point haul, including seven conversions and a penalty, in Bath’s 57-5 victory over Leeds to reach the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

"We have not been inundated with inquiries from international players but we are down the track with someone who we think will add to our squad," Meehan said of Barkley, who is joining Gloucester in the summer.

"On the matter of goal kicking, we’ve got players here who can kick goals and Butch James has been one of the first to put up his hand.

"If we are playing good rugby we shouldn’t need the goal kicking to swing games for us."

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On the runaway win which secured a semi-final at home to Sale, Meehan added: "The second half display was what we were working towards in our preparation.

"I was really happy with that instinct and desire to play, particularly with the try in the first minute of the half."

Bath now have a full 10 days to prepare for the next game, a Guinness Premiership clash at home to Leicester which will go a long way to deciding the play-off pecking order.

"I expect that the majority of the squad will be back and available, with the exception only of Andy Beattie and Ryan Davis," said Meehan. "I do expect to have David Barnes available, for instance."

Leeds’ director of rugby Stuart Lancaster said he had no complaints about the result.

"Bath have pace, footballing ability and athletic ability. We’ve played them three times now and I have to say they’re one of the best we’ve played."

Lancaster also had some encouraging words about his captain and second row, Stuart Hooper, who Bath supporters will see in the blue, black and white next season.

He added: "I spoke to the Bath forward coach before the game and told him that they had made a great signing.

"He’s a quality addition, someone with character who will enjoy the great brand of rugby they play here."

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