Rugby: Bath excited by challenge

Bath are braced for a fierce challenge from tournament debutants Montpellier in Sunday's Heineken Cup clash at the Recreation Ground.

Rugby News: Richie Gray

Montpellier might be new to European rugby's blue riband club competition, but they announced their arrival impressively last weekend by holding Heineken Cup holders and Pool Three opponents Leinster to a 16-16 draw.

Bath, in contrast, suffered an agonising late defeat against Glasgow courtesy of Scotland lock Richie Gray's dramatic touchdown that secured a 26-21 victory.

"It was just a bizarre ending - that is the difficult thing to take," Bath boss Sir Ian McGeechan said.

"There were probably opportunities that went missing and we should have been in better shape going into the last 10 minutes anyway.

"That is what we've looked at - tidying up some of the things we want to do. We obviously want to make a very big impact in the game against Montpellier.

"You are facing players you don't play against every week. The rugby is different to what you see week in, week out. There are different challenges.

"Having Montpellier at the Rec is not just a challenge but an exciting event for us.

"The French don't have bad forward packs and they have the ability naturally to play fluid rugby. It is important we match that and put them under a bit of pressure.

"We know we've got to have our game spot-on."

New Zealand World Cup winner Stephen Donald makes his first start in the Bath number 10 shirt, while former England captain Lewis Moody also features and Olly Barkley starts a comeback on the bench eight months after breaking his leg.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Leinster host Glasgow, while Wasps continue their campaign in the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup by facing Italian side Rovigo at Adams Park.

Wasps, buoyed by a bonus-point victory over Bordeaux-Begles in France last weekend, should add another maximum to their Pool Three collection by sending Rovigo packing.

The group already appears likely to be decided by home and away meetings between Wasps and Bayonne next month, with both sides currently unbeaten.

"The aim is now to build on that performance (against Bordeaux), and we have to try to get maximum points at home," Wasps rugby director David Young said.

"People might expect us to win, but we will still have to be in the zone to do that. If we are in that zone, then we are a hard team to beat.

"The games against Bayonne could well decide the group - they have a pretty powerful side - but all we have been concentrating on this week is Rovigo."

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