David Bory believes Bath Rugby’s team spirit can be decisive when they meet Biarritz Olympique in Saturday’s Heineken Cup semi-final in San Sebastian…
And the Test winger, who tasted Heineken Cup action with ASM Clermont Auvergne and Castres Olympique before joining Bath, cannot wait to play in front of a 32,000 full house at Estadio Anoeta.
“To go to The Walkers and beat Leicester Tigers in the quarter-finals was a great feat and to do it when we were down to 13 men in the final minutes was proof of the huge belief and passion there is in this Bath squad to play for each other,” said Bory. “It is that sort of togetherness that Michael Foley has instilled in the players.
“I have heard that Estadio Anoeta is a pretty good place to play, that the Basque crowd is there for the occasion and that the atmosphere is special.
“And while Bath are a club associated with greatness in the 1990s since 1998 – when they won the Heineken Cup – they haven’t won a thing. This is the chance to put Bath back where they belong because there is no bigger club game in Europe than the Heineken Cup final, it is the pinnacle for every club and every player.
“However, going to San Sebastian is not necessarily as daunting a task as it might seem as we have got a good track record in Europe and if you want to win the Heineken Cup you have to beat the best teams to do that. That said, Biarritz are up near the top of the Top 14 and going for the championship so they are very mush a team in form.
“They have got a very good pack and the best defence in France – Sale found that out in the quarter-finals when Biarritz stopped them creating anything worthwhile.
“And in Yachvili at No 9 they have got a guy who can really control and dictate a game. He has played really well for France in recent times and when he plays well the whole team plays well while they also have some great ball carriers in the pack.
“Over the last couple of years they have built up a great squad that has won them the championship and now they are in the Heineken Cup semi-finals for the third straight season.
“However, we will be wary of the pain they have suffered in not getting to a final in the last two seasons and that they will be desperate to go one step closer this time.
“We had a very good first half against Bristol at the weekend and the result was vitally important. It provides us with a real confidence booster and with the relegation issue resolved with Leeds going down that pressure is well and truly off and we can focus on the Heineken Cup.
“It means we can concentrate fully on preparing for the match against Biarritz which is an absolutely massive game for the club.”