Ben Skirving: Bath Rugby are working on reducing penalty count
Ben Skirving says Bath are actively seeking a way to cut down their penalty count after a series of indiscretions cost them at Wasps.
The visitors continually presented fly-half Stephen Jones with easy points, while both Dominic Day and Nick Abendanon were sent to the sin-bin at Adams Park during the 29-15 defeat.
A week earlier, Bath outscored Exeter Chiefs two tries to none but were still fortunate to earn a draw after conceding a host of penalties, while poor discipline was also the catalyst for the defeat at Leicester in December.
“It’s something that we are all working on and we are doing a lot in training to put it right,” said Skirving, who has one England cap to his name.
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“Hopefully we can rectify it. We’re trying to work on counter rucking rather than stealing and it’s something we’ve done since the start of the season.
“There have been times when we’ve been good on the penalty count but it just happens to be that it was highlighted at the weekend.
“Referees change from week to week, so something we look at as well is their interpretation of the law.
“We’ve got a system that we work on at the ruck which can hopefully cut out that indecision, so we can just focus on tackling and causing havoc without giving penalties away.”
Skirving went straight back into Bath’s starting XV at Exeter and Wasps despite just returning from a lengthy injury lay-off.
The 29-year-old’s immediate inclusion highlights the problems Bath have in the back- row at present. Carl Fearns has also been out of action for some time, Nick Koster is still working his way back to full fitness and Simon Taylor has missed each of the last two matches.
“Injuries are a factor across the whole squad but we are lucky that we’ve got guys who have the talent to slot in and produce the goods,” said Skirving. “I had a thumb operation and was out for about seven weeks, so I am very pleased to go straight back in.
“When you are injured you are always chomping at the bit to get back involved.”
Bath Academy fly-half Ollie Devoto has been named in the revised England Under 20s Elite Player Squad for this year’s Under 20s Six Nations.
Head Coach Rob Hunter’s squad will look to defend their Under 20 Six Nations title over the next two months before heading to France for the IRB Junior World Championship in June.