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Sunday 11 December 2016

Mike Ford: We've nothing to lose and we're coming to play

Mike Ford
Mike Ford

Former Ireland defence coach Mike Ford, the head coach to Bath and father to George Ford, will look to out-Leinster their Champions Cup quarter-final hosts at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

"We have Leinster on our mind and it will be a spectacle as we are going out there to play," he said.

The fearless nature of Ford's philosophy is what took Bath through to the last eight, having to recover from a pounding at Glasgow Warriors (37-10) and domination by Toulouse (21-19) at home in the first two rounds to make them rank outsiders.

They were able to dust themselves down and reel off four straight victories against Montpellier home (32-12)-and-away (30-5), Toulouse (35-18) and Glasgow (20-15) for a most unlikely qualification.

The West Country club is riding the crest of a wave at present given their third-place in The Premiership and they will come with a positive attitude to Dublin.

"We will have our five internationals returning," said Ford.

There is no doubt David Attwood, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson will be eager to make up for their disheartening experience at the Aviva Stadium with England last month.

The wide open spaces available on the Aviva turf and Leinster's inclination to play more openly than Ireland should give Bath room to manoeuvre from deep.

Certainly, Leinster will have to kick way better than they did against Glasgow to keep Bath under lock and key.

"They'll be favourites as they have 50,000 behind them and have their 12 internationals back," said Ford.

"We are looking forward to it as we've come from nowhere in Europe to be in this position."

Despite claims to the contrary, the healing process means prop Henry Thomas could add even greater muscle to an already fierce scrummaging eight.

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