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Callard Cautious Of Scarlet Fever

Callard Cautious Of Scarlet Fever

Jon Callard knows virtually everything there is to know about what it takes to win the Heineken Cup.
The former England full back scored all his side’s points – including the only try of the final – when Bath beat holders Brive 19-18 in Bordeaux almost four years ago to lift the prized silverware.
Now the Bath senior coach, Callard has guided his side to the only 100 per cent record in the Pool stages of this season’s tournament and a fascinating Anglo-Welsh quarter-final showdown against Llanelli in front of the BBC Grandstand cameras at The Recreation Ground on 26 January.
“No-one under-estimates what is ahead of us – the task against Llanelli is huge,” said Callard. “There is a massive amount of tradition and history between Bath and Llanelli and there is so much at stake this time.
“I have watched Llanelli a few times already this season and I really enjoy watching Welsh rugby on television so I know they are a very good side – and I have got a lot of time for their coach Gareth Jenkins.
“Obviously we are delighted with a home tie. Our fans have travelled well – we outnumbered Swansea around three-to-one at St Helens – and it is fitting we will be at home for the support they have given the team.
“For their part, the players have worked hard and playing at home is their reward.”
Bath were the only ones to make it six out of six – Leicester Tigers, Munster and Leinster all seeing their hopes of Pool clean sweeps disappear in a pulsating sixth round.
Bath wrapped Pool 3 matters up with a 31-13 victory over Biarritz, Callard adding: “In comparison with the way we have been playing, that was probably our best performance of the season – but we are still a long way off from where we should be.
“The win against Biarritz did give us six out of six in the Heineken Cup Pool stage but it will certainly not generate any complacency whatsoever at Bath.
“We know we have to be more consistent overall, as our results in the Premiership show. It has not been easy with our Lions coming back late, the postponed Six Nations matches – we are affected by calls from England, Wales and Ireland – while the Premiership is the toughest club league in the world. On their day anyone can turn anyone else over.
“We are not involved in the English Cup next weekend but we are through to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals in under two weeks time and, in light of our injuries, we will give the legs a rest this weekend – we have got nothing special planned.”
But Llanelli have got the strictly domestic business of trying to hold onto top place in the Welsh/Scottish League to deal with when they visit second placed Newport Rugby on Friday night before their trip across the border.
“We will be flying the flag for Wales in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals,” said Llanelli’s Irish flanker Simon Easterby. “Playing a quarter-final is always going to be tough – we have got to put in a performance to match that against Leicester.”
After 160 minutes of titanic rugby between the two clubs – the Tigers won 12-9 at Welford Road – there was not a try in sight for what had been a couple of classics.
Fly half Stephen Jones kicked the Scarlets into the last eight with eight out of eight penalty goal successes and then declared of the quarter-final challenge: “We are looking forward to going to Bath.”

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