Blackadder calls for Bath to close out games

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder wants his players to learn how to close down a game after only a last-gasp penalty from Rhys Preistland earned them victory over Northampton.

The Saints came back from 22-9 down to lead 30-29 with three minutes to go before Priestland edged the hosts to a 32-30 win.

“To get five points is huge for us. I’d take that any day,” Blackadder said. “The learning for us is that we let them back into the game. We’ve got to learn to shut teams out.

“We let them back in through our indiscipline. Their line-outs were hard to stop. I have to say, if anything, there are a few demons running through people’s heads.”

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder was more concerned with the officiating of key moments in the match, particularly what appeared to be a forward pass from Ben Tapuai to Chris Cook for Bath’s bonus-point try.

“We conceded a penalty try from the scrum. We had a maul five metres out, charging for the line, and was brought down. They got a yellow card there. And then of course, their last try when they were down to 14 men. I’d just have loved Wayne [Barnes] to go upstairs and use the technology which was available.”

He said: “My first instinct straightaway was ‘forward’. It looked forward. Looking at the replays I can see it’s forward. I just wish everybody else could see that.”

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