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Bath centre Will Butt expects “a step up and tougher challenge” ahead of their match against Leinster this Friday.

Bath take on Leinster on Friday in another mid-season friendly with the a return to Premiership action in just under two weeks.

This is Bath’s second friendly in as many weeks after they defeated Gloucester Rugby 59-14 in the first match since January 27th while the Dubliners have played two URC matches since then, defeating Zebre Parma and Cardiff Rugby.

The last time Leinster took to the Rec, Bath were given a hiding, losing 64-7.

“We played them a few years ago at the rec and it wasn’t a great outcome for us so it is good to write those wrongs,” said Butt.

“Leinster are one of those clubs no matter who is on the pitch, they are going to be well coached and we can’t underestimate them despite their missing their internationals.”

Bath’s match against Leinster is only their second match since they were defeated away to Bristol in January with an unprecedented seven-week break occurring due to the Six Nations and Butt believes Bath have hit the spot with their preparations.  

He said: “We have found a great balance between off time and training.

“We got a few weeks away which we don’t usually get in the season, so it’s a test to see how we and other teams cope with the break. It feels at the moment that we have done it well but you never really know, so these friendlies are really useful to warm us up.” 

Bath’s schedule after their match vs Leinster sees them face Sale and Harlequins in the Premiership before a last-16 tie away to Exeter but centre Butt says the squad are fully focused on the game this Friday.

“We have looked at Leinster mostly at how they defended which is very aggressive a bit like Sale and Exeter, it is a challenge we expect but Johaan (van Graan) has told us that ‘this game now is the most important game right now, everything goes into this weekend’ and we have put all our efforts on this game,” added Butt.

“We expect a tougher challenge over the next few weeks compare to last week, Gloucester sent a different side to what we usually might play but these next few weeks are going to be harder

“I am looking to be in contention in the playoffs, I have been here for four or five years and usually we are at the lower end but now we are thinking we can secure a home semi-final and I’m excited to be involved in these big games thinking we can win something.”

With some downtime ahead of their match against Leinster, the Bath squad have been placing a bet or few during the Cheltenham races.

“I’m not betting but I know the boys are doing some but don’t ask me for any tips ut I am sure Will Muir will have some bets on, I have fallen into his trap before but he is away with England so he might ruin some of their bank accounts”

“Max Ojomoh is a dark horse when it comes to tipping but don’t trust Muir”

‘The horse’ may be away with England, but the rest of his Bath squad knows they have to give it their all with the Leinster men rolling in on Friday night.

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