Van Graan wants Bath to stay grounded in Premiership run-in

All to play for: Bath boss Johann van Graan (Valentine CHAPUIS)
All to play for: Bath boss Johann van Graan (Valentine CHAPUIS)

Bath boss Johann van Graan warned "we've won nothing yet" after his side went second in the English Premiership with a 42-24 victory at home to Sale.

Sunday's success saw Bath score five tries, Joe Cokanasiga going over twice, with Matt Gallagher, Tom Dunn and Ollie Lawrence also crossing Sale's line.

Finn Russell kicked 17 points for Bath with the Scotland fly-half's haul including a rare drop-goal kicked with his weaker, left, foot.

Bath are now just two points behind leaders Northampton, with the top four at the end of the regular season qualifying for the title-deciding play-offs.

In an open game that saw the clubs returning to league action after an eight-week break for the Six Nations, visitors Sale were level at 24-24 heading into the last quarter.

But they faded in the closing 20 minutes, with tries from Manu Tuilagi, Tom Roebuck and Sam Dugdale, all converted by England fly-half George Ford, who also added a penalty, not enough to prevent another loss.

"We've won nothing yet," said Van Graan. "This Premiership is so tight and there are nine teams that can qualify for a semi-final. We've got to keep improving our game."

Bath were one of English rugby union's leading clubs in the 1980s and 1990s but have endured a lean spell in recent seasons.

"This is new territory for this group of players -- the fact that we are in the top four and want to stay there," said South African coach Van Graan.

Defeat left Sale eighth in the table but Sharks supremo Alex Sanderson insisted all was far from lost for his team.

"Our intent is to win every game," he said. "You have to find form and go into the finals, if you get there, with momentum.

"The reality is, with everyone playing each other, you only have to win four. You can win your home games and snatch one away. That's the reality of it."