Cruel defeat leaves Bath on the brink

BATH head coach Steve Meehan admits his side have a mountain to climb if they are to make it through the Heineken Cup group stages after a dramatic 29-27 defeat to Stade Francais yesterday.<br /><br />Julien Dupuy struck a last-gasp penalty at the Recreation Ground to condemn Bath to their second successive Pool Four defeat and deliver a hammer blow to their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.<br /><br />And now Bath face a monumental task as no team has ever reached the last eight of the competition having lost their opening two group games &ndash; a challenge that Meehan is fully aware of.<br /><br />&ldquo;It is going to take a really good effort. We are going to have play very well in our remaining four games and hope other results go our way,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The home side had raced into a commanding lead, Nicky Little and Matt Carraro crossing for tries in quick succession to give them a nine point advantage at the break.<br /><br />But Ollie Phillips raced clear to cut the deficit and although Dupuy missed the conversion he slotted his seventh penalty at the death to snatch victory.<br /><br />Meehan added: &ldquo;I won&rsquo;t be too hard on the players. Unfortunately, we were penalised a couple of times too often, and perhaps we went away a little from how we played in the first half.&rdquo;<br /><br />Elsewhere, the Ospreys survived a Clermont Auvergne second-half fight-back to edge a pulsating Pool Three encounter 25-24 at the Liberty Stadium.