Johann van Graan insisted he had no qualms about fielding a second-string team after defeat at Leicester meant Bath missed the chance to end 2023 top of the Premiership.
The Bath boss opted to rest several first-choice players, including Ollie Lawrence, Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell, regular captain Ben Spencer and Beno Obano on Sunday ahead of next week’s south-west derby against Gloucester.
But, a 35-22 defeat without a bonus point meant Bath remained fourth in the table, still just two points behind leaders Northampton.
Leicester took advantage against their under-strength opponents to score five tries, while Springbok World Cup-winner Handre Pollard landed four conversions and the Tigers were also awarded a penalty try.
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“I’ve no regrets about my decision as we’ve had 18 games in 17 weeks and I’ve rotated my squad from the opening game of the season,” said Van Graan.
“There are a number of teams in all of the European competitions that rotate their squad so we are no different.”
Victory saw Leicester move up to seventh in the 10-team table, with head coach Dan McKellar saying: “I was surprised by Bath’s selection as a lot of people would have loved to see Finn Russell here but Johann is a very experienced coach and knows what he’s doing and they were still a quality side.”
He added: “We needed the win to stay in touch in the league table and it’s important that we keep winning and build momentum.”
© Agence France-Presse