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Bath excited by Tigers Euro test

Meehan relishes 'great' European tie

Bath head coach Steve Meehan expects Leicester to bring the best out of his side in the Heineken Cup last eight.

The clubs were paired together in an all-English quarter-final after topping their respective pools, Bath holding off Toulouse after a drab 3-3 draw.

"There's no doubt about it, it will be a very competitive match," the Australian told BBC Points West.

"We had a great match up there just recently in the Premiership and I'm sure they'll repeat things this time."

The Tigers prevailed on that occasion at the start of the year, rallying from 22-9 down to win 24-22.

It was the fourth successive Premiership defeat for the West Country outfit at Welford Road.

But during that run of league defeats Bath recorded a famous European victory at the same stage of the Heineken Cup when, despite being reduced to 13 men late in the game, they held on to win 15-12 at the Walkers Stadium.

Meehan insisted that the fact they went into their match against Toulouse knowing they were assured a knockout spot - after Wasps had failed to beat Castres - did not change Bath's approach.

And he defended the decision not to go for a late drop goal that would have earned a home quarter-final because of the atrocious conditions.

"There was never a period where Butch James was in a good enough position to have a crack at it," Meehan said.

"You may not be far from the goal posts, but it's like dropping it in a bathtub of water and asking him to kick it out of that.

"We were trying to win. A win would have given us a home quarter-final, but it's not to be."

The match is scheduled to be played on the weekend of 10-12 April and Meehan added the onus was on the club to keep improving before that date.

"A lot can change between now and then," he said.

"We've got a number of Premiership matches to get through. Your form can improve in that time and that's what we'll be working towards.

"You also want all your injured players back so you've got a wider and deeper squad to pick from.

"To be in the final eight of the European Cup is obviously a good thing for this club and it's part of our recent development, but we're certainly not the finished article."

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see also
Dates set for Heineken last eight
25 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Blues & Ospreys can win - Young
26 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Bath 3-3 Toulouse
24 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 24-22 Bath
04 Jan 09 |  English

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