Mike Ford: Bath head coach expects Premiership improvement

Head coach Mike Ford says Bath must show they have progressed from last season when their Premiership campaign gets underway on Saturday.

Ford's side narrowly missed out on a top-four play-off spot in the final game against Harlequins.

"The next step might be that we still don't win anything," the 48-year-old told BBC Points West.

"But as long as we show we're getting better, then we're going to win something sooner or later."

Finishing fifth in the standings in May secured a place in the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup, which replaces the Heineken Cup.

But Bath have not won the domestic league title in the professional era, having previously won six Courage League titles, and Ford said it remains their main target.

"As a squad, our number one priority is the Premiership. Of course, we'll look to move forward in Europe but at this moment in time we're looking at the Premiership," he continued.

"As long as we keep pushing to get better than last year, then we'll give ourselves the best opportunity."

Bath's Premiership season 2013-14

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

1

Saracens

19

0

3

87

2

Northampton (champions)

16

2

4

78

3

Leicester

15

2

5

74

4

Harlequins

15

0

7

67

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5

Bath

14

2

6

67

Bath have added five new signings to their squad, the most notable being England rugby league international Sam Burgess, who will arrive in October from National Rugby League in Australia.

Full-back Luke Arscott and props Henry Thomas, Nick Auterac, and Grant Shiells have also signed on at the Rec in time for Saturday's opener against Sale, and Ford is sure the team is ready to compete.

"The players that have come in already have put more detail on our foundation," he added.

"They've added to it with enthusiasm and energy.

"We've shown we believe in the squad and that we do trust them. We just needed to add bits here and there."