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“We have no issue”-Johann van Graan on Beno Obano’s red card

Bath Rugby Head of Rugby Johann van Graan has no complaints over the sending off of Beno Obano in today’s Gallagher Premiership final, describing it as part of the game. 

The loosehead prop was sent off in the 21st minute for a high tackle on Juarno Augustus, reducing Bath down to 14 for the best part of an hour.

Speaking to the media after the game, van Graan said: “That’s part of the game. It makes it very difficult to play with 14 men. What I would say is we as a group stuck to our process and we made some tactical decisions at half-time and we fell just short with the last play of the game.”

“We win together and we lose together. As I said, I’m incredibly proud of the group that we fought and not only hung in there, but we believed we could win with the last play of the game.”

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“All that I can do is adapt to the decisions made on the pitch. Obviously everybody wants a Premiership final with 15 on 15, but I thought Christophe (Ridley) went through the process with the TMO and his assistant referees and I think he’s been the best referee in the Premiership and all credit to him and well done in his first final. I shook his hands afterwards and we have no issue with the red card.”

Van Graan and Ben Spencer proud in defeat

Johann van Graan-Credit: IMAGO

Despite playing with 14-men for much of the game, Bath were fully in the fight for the full game.

Tries from Thomas du Toit and Will Muir, alongside four Finn Russell kicks (three penalties, one conversion) were nearly enough to get them over the line; but they ultimately fell short of a first Premiership title for over 20 years.

Despite the defeat, Head of Rugby Van Graan said he couldn’t be prouder of his players.

“I can’t be prouder of this group,” van Graan detailed. “From a belief point of view, everybody at the club, we stuck in it until the last the last play of the game. We as a group have got zero regrets.”

He added: “We came here to win today with a special group of players, staff and supporters in Blue, Black and White. We gave it our best shot and we didn’t just hang on, we were in this game up until the last play. That’s something that I’m incredibly proud of.

“We spoke about becoming tough to beat and we were certainly tough to beat. Congratulations to Northampton.”

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Skipper Ben Spencer echoed his boss’ comments.

“I think overriding feeling is one of pride,” said Spencer. “I said to the group before the game, we were written off in the week by everyone outside of our circle. No one seems to give us a chance.”

“Today, we showed what sort of team we are. A team that’s tough to beat, a team that’s hard to play against and a team that loves a challenge. We’ve had a few challenges this season, but today was our biggest one but we just came up short.”

The wait for a title goes on for Bath, but they can certainly feel proud of their performance today after the red card.