Bath battle Worcester for European Challenge silverware

Bath face Worcester in an all-English European Challenge final on Sunday with Bath having one last shot at silverware this season and their opponents hoping to raise their continental profile.

With most European rugby fans focusing on the Munster versus Toulouse European Cup final on Saturday, Gloucester’s ground Kingsholm will host this second-tier competition the following day at noon (1100 GMT).

Worcester Warriors have already put down a number of markers this season and director of rugby Mike Ruddock believes they are ready to make a real mark in Europe.

“We are delighted to be in the final of the European Challenge Cup and I think it’s a real reflection of what we have achieved this season in terms of improving as a team,” he said.

“Our league form hasn’t been great this season and the European competition gave us a great platform to take the pressure off and concentrate on improving our game and working together without constantly worrying about where we were in the table.

“Winning the match on Sunday would be fantastic for us. Worcester are in a position where we have set very tangible targets which, once achieved, will go down in the club’s history books forever.”

“A place in the European Cup for next season is obviously a big carrot but it is very much secondary to the title and trophy themselves. We want to win this piece of silverware and the European Cup spot next year would be the icing on the cake.”

Bath were knocked out in the English Premiership play-offs by London Wasps so this final is their last hope for a title this season.

Bath, who challenged for the lead in the Premiership all season, and have already secured European Cup rugby for next term, can still end the 2007/08 campaign on a high with victory over Worcester.

Sapa-AFP –

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