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Rugby Union: Meehan's team defy the ELVs and rediscover thrilling attacks.

Bath coach Steve Meehan insists his players will not be knocked out of their stride by rugby union's controversial experimental law variations (ELVs).

Several Guinness Premiership games so far this season have proved turgid affairs as clubs get to grips with an experimental International Rugby Board 12-month laws trial.

But Bath bucked the trend against Worcester as they rediscovered their thrilling attacking rugby that underpinned last season's European Challenge Cup triumph.

Meehan said: "We must not be scared of going out and playing. We can't go into our shells, even if the ELVs can put you under a lot of pressure.

"I was delighted to see some action in our own 22 today - it was a bit like how we played last season. The rewards of such an approach over the course of a season will outweigh the risks."

Bath moved into Premiership play-off territory making it three wins out of four heading into Wednesday's Adams Park appointment with champions Wasps.

And Nick Abendanon, capped by England last year but then omitted from their World Cup plans, delivered an eye-catching display that could help thrust him back into Test contention.

Meehan added: "He's working hard on areas of his game that he needs to work on. He is a better pro now than he was.

"I think he is making better decisions with ball in hand, and he is a player who is in good touch."

Worcester scored a late try through wing Chris Pennell, who also kicked a long-range penalty, while fly half Loki Crichton slotted four penalties, but they had no answer when Bath stepped things up.

Warriors rugby director Mike Ruddock said: "The final score hurts us, as does the fact Bath scored a number of tries.

"We've had some big battles recently against Leicester and Wasps, when we were very competitive.

"We were very competitive for long periods against Bath also, but we had the odd five minutes or so when we dropped our standards.

"Bath have got a lot of pace once they get in behind you. They are very difficult to stop."

Flanker James Collins and wing Rico Gear, who both missed Saturday's game, could be in contention for Worcester's home game against Harlequins on Thursday.

Ruddock admitted New Zealander Gear was "touch and go," but Warriors skipper Pat Sanderson, who has yet to play this season because of a leg muscle injury, could face another six weeks sidelined.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 29, 2008
Words:405
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