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“That’s our best win of the season”-Bath Rugby’s Johann van Graan reflects on victory over Exeter Chiefs

Bath Rugby’s Head of Rugby Johann van Graan has said the victory over Exeter Chiefs was his side’s ‘best win of the season’. 

The visitors exacted a measure of revenge on their West Country rivals following their Champions Cup defeat just two weeks previous, coming away with a 26-14 win at Sandy Park.

Speaking to the media after the game, van Graan was full of praise for his side: “That’s potentially our best win of the season. It was a terrible feeling coming here two weeks ago, and falling just short in the game that we gave our all.”

He added: “Exeter don’t lose here very often and you’ve got to fight for 80 minutes. I’m so proud of the players that fought for 80 minutes. We made one or two changes from what we did tactically and then selection wise and I’m really glad for everybody at the club.

Sandy Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Bath in recent seasons. Yesterday’s victory was Bath’s first win in Devon since 2016, and van Graan said this made the victory that much sweeter.

Exeter are a team I respect so much, I’ve coached here with another club and with Bath. This is always such a tough place to come to and for us to get five points is very satisfying.”

Johann Van Graan shakes off play-off talks

Johann van Graan

Credit: IMAGO

This victory over Exeter was Bath’s ninth of the Premiership season, and it has also helped them re-gain second place in the table.

It might be easy to get carried away as Bath look to secure their first home semi-final since 2015, but van Graan insists his team are taking it ‘week by week’.

“The top two doesn’t interest me that much,” he said. “Obviously it’s a good position to be in, but for us it’s week by week.”

“But as we said in the changing room, it’s now time for reflection. I think it’s the first time we’ve won here since 2016. So if you think some of the things we’ve already done this season, beat Saracens at Stone X, to come and beat them here, we are improving. We will be consistent, reviewed properly and then move forward; but we are certainly getting better.”

Bath face a tricky run-in, with Saracens and Northampton Saints still to come, but they are firmly in the hunt for a home semi-final.