Toby Booth: Bath Rugby must 'seize opportunity' to reach LV= Cup final
Toby Booth has urged Bath to “seize the opportunity” in their bid to reach the LV= Cup final.
Bath travel to Premiership champions Harlequins on Saturday knowing victory will put them in a showdown for silverware for the first time since their European Challenge Cup success in 2008.
First-team coach Booth says Bath must not let their big chance slip at The Stoop, as they did 12 months ago in a home LV= Cup semi against Leicester Tigers.
“We are trying to think less about the occasion and more about seizing the opportunity and looking forward,” said Booth, who joined as part of Gary Gold’s new coaching team last summer.
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“We used the Leicester game from a coaching point of view in pre-season and have referred to it, so it’s something that’s etched in the memory even for us as newcomers.
“But that’s ancient history now and we are a different team to what we were then.
“We’re not worried whether it’s Leicester, Quins or whoever. We are trying to negate the influence of the opposition as much as we can and just look at what we can control.
“All we’ve done is look seven days forwards and seven days backwards from the moment we started this year.
“It’s the one game at a time cliche but, purely and simply, we look at what are the standards of performance that we require? If that pushes us closer to an opportunity for silverware then fantastic.”
Bath head into the contest in fine form having won seven of their last eight matches, including Friday’s absorbing derby win over Gloucester in the Premiership.
However, Booth believes that Quins will start as favourites, even if director of rugby Conor O’Shea holds true with his promise to stick with the club’s youngsters.
“The Gloucester win has set us up nicely, but cup rugby is a lot different because there are no second chances,” said Booth. “Quins have been in a lot of these situations recently, some big, high-pressured games. They’re used to it, they’ve got a lot of experience in that respect.
“Even if they do go with the youngsters, as Conor has said, they have been around the organisation in those big games and been exposed to it. That’s not something we’ve encountered for a while.”
Booth also played down the significance of Quins’ weekend result, which saw them beaten at home by Exeter.
“We can’t look at that – we know there are blips but we also know how good a side Quins are,” he warned.
“We know that they are very tenacious and play with a lot ambition and attacking flair.
“It does show it’s not impossible, but it’s certainly still a very tough task.”
Bath will be without props Davey Wilson and Paul James on Saturday as the front row pair are on RBS Six Nations duty with England and Wales respectively.
There are no fresh injury concerns for the coaching team to worry about, with captain Stuart Hooper fit to return after a five-week lay-off with a neck problem.
“We’ve got a few bumps and bruises, which we’ll know more about (today), but we’re generally pretty healthy,” Booth added.
Bath Rugby have linked up with the Western Daily Press to give readers a special offer on tickets for their Premiership clash at home to London Welsh on Saturday, March 30.
Interested readers should call the ticket office on 0844 448 1865 and quote ‘Two for £40 offer’ to obtain two tickets for the reduced price of £40.