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Blackadder looking to build on Newcastle victory

20 February 2019

Todd Blackadder believes that Saturday’s bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons will provide the building block for the squad going into the next couple of Gallagher Premiership fixtures.

The Blue, Black and White secured a 30-13 win at the Rec at the weekend, but is well aware of the improvements that they'll need to make against an in-form Northampton Saints side on Saturday.

Blackadder said: “Outcome wise it was brilliant, I thought that parts of that performance were excellent. We came away with a lot of growth and knowing that we can be so much better. It was good to get that first game under our belt. Newcastle are a good team, they put our systems under pressure, and it's now about continuing to build.

“It’s more individual things that we need to work on. There were several unforced areas, like forward passes, losing the ball in contact and a little bit of ground work that we need to get right, so it’s just a few tweaks.”  

Bath will travel to Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday after Chris Boyd’s side swept aside Sale Sharks 67-17 an impressive showing. With 126 points scored in their last two games, Blackadder is well aware of the threat posed by Saints, in particular their talisman Cobus Reinach, who has scored eight tries in the competition so far this season.

“You can obviously see that they have got their confidence up. They’ve got some big ball carriers and they are a momentum team, so it’s a good challenge for us. We are not overawed by the challenge, we are really excited for it.

“If we give them good, easy ball, then he (Cobus Reinach) can get those sniping runs going and he’s obviously a highly-experienced player and he’s one of their key threats, so we will put a little bit of focus on that this week.”  

One man who will be missing from the Bath team this weekend is Semesa Rokoduguni, who picked up a knee injury against Falcons. However, there is better news on Dave Attwood, who is in contention to face Northampton after coming off in the second half.

“Dave Attwood just had bruising on one of his biceps, but should be okay for the weekend. Roko’s (Semesa Rokoduguni) is more serious - he’s tweaked his PCL (knee) so he could be out for about six to eight weeks, so it’s really disappointing for him and for us.”

Despite the loss of the winger, Blackadder has been buoyed by the depth in the back three, with Ruaridh McConnochie someone who has particularly impressed so far this season at wing and full-back.  

“Ruaridh is a great player. He came off the bench (against Falcons) and showed some good line speed, footwork was brilliant and we have already seen what a talent he is this season. You’re always going to have injuries and that’s why last month was important for us to build the foundation and depth. We have absolute confidence and belief in the team we put out there.”

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