Meehan hails Barkley bite

Bath coach delighted after Olly's masterclass

By Joe Drabble   Last updated: 24th February 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Meehan hails Barkley bite

Barkley: Kicking exhibition

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Bath head coach Steve Meehan lauded the performance of Olly Barkley after the fly-half orchestrated a bonus-point 34-15 victory at Leeds.

The England international raised eyebrows this week after announcing he is to quit Bath this summer and join fierce west country rivals Gloucester in a two-year deal.

Despite the setback, Meehan insisted he has no fears about the England international's continued commitment.

"I was asked on Friday whether or not Olly might be thinking of other things," said Meehan.

"But he illustrated his ambition for the club for the remainder of the season and his professionalism was there for all to see.

"He could still feature for England this season and if there were any doubts about Olly then he answered them today."

The 26-year-old could hardly be accused of a lack of commitment to his current employers after kicking 14 of his side's 34 points in an outstanding individual performance at Headingley.

Barkley's departure will serve as a huge blow to Bath's aspirations for next season but Meehan is taking a philosophical stance.

"I was surprised that he made the decision to leave and it has been a long process - but it was purely a rugby decision and has nothing to do with anything else," said Meehan.

"I don't think his decision can be based on anything that has happened this season.

"This is the best season Bath have had for some time and it's the best rugby Bath have been playing for some time."

Tykes turmoil

The defeat for Leeds was their 12th in 13 games leaving the Yorkshire club in dire straights at the foot of the Guinness Premiership.

Director of rugby Stuart Lancaster admitted he could have used a player of Barkley's ilk.

"He was exceptional and his kicking game was exemplary," said Lancaster.

"A player like that helps to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

"We were desperately disappointed to concede four tries but we weren't that far away. We've got to keep working and retain self-belief.

"We're in a tough run of games at the moment but self-belief is still high and the effort and application was outstanding."

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