Premiership: Bath boss Johann van Graan delighted with skipper Ben Spencer’s performance against Newcastle

Bath's captain Ben Spencer looks on during a training session. Credit: Alamy
Bath's captain Ben Spencer looks on during a training session. Credit: Alamy

Bath director of rugby Johann van Graan praised his captain Ben Spencer’s performance in his side’s 24-16 win over Newcastle in the Premiership.

The win takes Bath off the foot of the table and into eighth place, as the team has settled under van Graan and is starting to find good results.

Top performance

Spencer, who signed a new contract earlier this week, was one of the try scorers on the night, and the South African believes it was the scrum-half’s best showing this season.

“Ben was really good tonight. It was his best performance of the season. We’ve seen glimpses, but his confidence is back. He’s really assured, firstly in his own play and in the team behind him,” van Graan said.

“His future is sorted and he was absolutely brilliant tonight with Orlando Bailey. Nine and 10 were key tonight.”

The clash was played despite a Met Office yellow weather warning, but van Graan was happy with Bath’s discipline in the conditions.

“It was always going to be a game of inches. The weather was a real leveller and we knew on Tuesday night that it was going to be really wet,” he added.

“For the second half the message was discipline, field position and use our opportunities. And I thought we did that. It was a real team effort. Even with the last play of the game, we were looking for the bonus point.”

The Bath boss was delighted with his side’s character, particularly the impressive double try-saving tackle from Ted Hill and Dave Attwood on Newcastle’s Gary Graham.

“It’s small margins and that phrase I’ve used before – tough to beat,” he said.

“That was a prime example of never giving up. That’s what we are becoming a lot better at, staying in the fight.”

Some positives

Newcastle boss Dave Walder believes his side bit well despite taking no points from the game and credited Bath for managing the conditions better on the day.

“We managed the conditions really well in the first half without possibly getting the rewards we felt we were deserving of,” he said.

“Ultimately Bath managed the conditions better in the second half and got their rewards.

“We could easily have come away with more points. If we had done so at half-time it could have been slightly different, but we didn’t.

“Fair play to Bath, they did what they needed to do to stay in the game and ultimately came back, managed the game well and got the victory.”

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