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Published: Mon, 20 Nov 2017 23:34:17 +0000

Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2017 23:34:17 +0000

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A Touch of The Blarney? London Irish v Bath

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:30:56 +0000

Both teams may need a touch of the blarney when their Premiership campaigns resume on Sunday. London Irish, in 11th place and two games adrift of the league’s main body will want to talk themselves out of trouble. Bath, with a habit this season of losing to teams they are expected to beat, will be seeking some flair to enhance the grit of their last two victories. This is the Autumn International period and the hosts, less disrupted by call-ups will hope to spring a surprise. Bath must be both bold and wary.

Burning Bright: Bath v Leicester

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 16:47:59 +0000

Tyger, Tyger burning bright! Leicester Tigers are certainly burning brightly so far this season. After shock defeats to bitter rivals in the opening two games they have recovered to win 8 from the next 10. They are burning not with the incandescence of Cockerill or the slow burn of Mauger, but under O’Connor enjoying the warm glow of success. Friday evening’s visit to the Rec will challenge that warm feeling. Whatever the competition, a Bath: Leicester showdown is one both teams are eager to win.  

All Change: London Irish v Bath

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 11:39:23 +0000

It will be all change for Bath when they play London Irish at the Madjeski on Saturday. The fixture brings a change of competition, wholesale change in the team sheet and hopefully a change of fortune after the frustration of the Gloucester derby. The Irish lie adrift at the foot of the Premiership table, seemingly already relegation candidates with Worcester. Premiership form is not always a reliable guide for this tournament though and Bath must beware the complacency which has twice undone them already this season.  

Cherry Stones: Bath v Gloucester

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 17:21:56 +0000

“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Ploughboy, Thief. “ The daydream list of possible occupations in AA Milne’s poem “Cherry Stones” seems to mirror Gloucester Rugby’s search for an identity in recent years. The club that twice topped the Premiership Table a decade ago have since struggled to replicate that form and to settle on a distinctive playing style. Their performances have been inconsistent this season so far, so what can we expect from them on Sunday?

United Colours of Rugby: Bath v Benetton

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 06:57:53 +0000

Fans can expect a touch of colour when Benetton Treviso visit the Rec late on Saturday afternoon.  Bath’s ECC Pool 5 opponents have been owned and sponsored by Benetton since the start of the professional era in1997. Italian clubs have traditionally struggled in this competition, which has been dominated by sides from France, England and Ireland. They are often dismissed as only there to provide a touch of diversity and colour. It would be unwise though to take anything for granted against this proud club    

Warriors on the Warpath?

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 17:45:23 +0000

Worcester Warriors will be on the warpath when they visit Bath this Saturday. Played five, lost five in the Premiership, with only a single league point they look likely relegation fodder already. To add to their problems the club is short of finance and up for sale and their DOR has just announced he is to leave to be Head Coach of the USA Eagles. Desperate, defiant attack is often the response to multiple woes and that should be the Warriors mind-set this weekend, but what form will that attack take?

Sting in The Tail?

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 10:13:11 +0000

There is bound to be a sting in the tail when Bath visit Wasps on Sunday. Both clubs are on 2 from 2 so far and have disappointed in losing their past two matches after bright starts to their season. The question is, who will be stung? These two sides are also both struggling with injuries to key personnel and the curse of multiple injuries in some focal positions. Neither can boast a 100% home record. So which of these two ambitious clubs will feel the sharp, savage pain at full time on Sunday?

Howay The Lads!

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:27:09 +0000

Howay the lads! That will be the cry from Falcons supporters when they visit the Rec on Saturday. It could also be the sentiment of both sets of coaches. The Geordie exhortation, meaning “Come On!” covers a range from the encouraging to a more exasperated –“Buck Your Ideas Up!”. Both clubs could do with a bit of each on Saturday, having slumped after heartening starts. This fixture should rekindle the fire in both.

To Catch a Saint: Northampton v Bath

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:02:26 +0000

“For all the Saints, who from their labours rest.”  So says the hymn, but there is unlikely to be much rest for either Northampton or Bath this week preparing for Friday’s Premiership encounter. Both clubs had to dig deep for character in last week’s unenviably tough fixtures. The two DORs having seen their teams win bruising battles through such character and heart, have said they wanted even more. The tie is shaping to be a most un-saintly confrontation.    

A Question of Faith: Bath v Saracens

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:23:23 +0000

Bath face a question of faith when they host Saracens on Saturday. The first home game of the season pairs two clubs whose playing style has for the past few seasons represented a clash of faiths. Bath, traditionally fond of a ball in hand style and flowing attack, have often delighted the eye, but for 2 decades been frustrated in the hunt for trophies. 

On The Prowl: Leicester v Bath

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 14:02:29 +0000

Both teams will be on the prowl when Bath’s season opens against old rivals Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Sunday. Tigers having enjoyed three Pre Season victories, including a home and away double over Ospreys, are in roaring form. They are ready to pounce on any beast brave or foolhardy enough to visit their lair. Bath meanwhile are stalking an elusive win at Welford Road and early proof of predatory prowess.   The off-season has been kinder to the hosts than the visitors: they have recruited both international backs and dependable forward workhorses and have suffered little disruption from injury and summer tours. Bath by contrast have been thwarted in some of their signing ambitions, are still to reintegrate many of their internationals and will be missing a number of first choices to injury. The portents therefore suggest a bloody fate for the Blue Black and White at the hands (or teeth) of rampant Tigers. Is that what we should expect?  

Hope and Glory?

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 13:15:24 +0000

Every season, for every club, begins in hope. Some may even dream of glory when the season ends. For Bath fans used to an attractive playing style, a mercurial set of halfbacks and adventurous backs, the hope is usually justified. Since 1998 though, glory has proven mostly elusive. A club boasting in its’ ranks the mercurial talents of players like Jeremy Guscott, Mike Catt, Ian Balshaw, Dan Lyle, Matt Stevens, Jonathon Joseph and Anthony Watson has picked up only one trophy in two decades.  There have been many delights in that time, hence the continual hope. The Blue, Black and White gate -crashed Wasps St George’s Day parties twice running at Twickenham, nipping those celebrations in the bud before they became a tradition. Old rivals Leicester Tigers, even when riding high, have not won at the Rec for 7 years (conceding 12 lovely tries in 2 visits in 2015) and Saracens, Premiership winners or finalists in 5 of the last 7 years, double European champions in the past 2, only embarked on their winning streak following a 9 try, 66 point humbling by the Blue, Black and White in 2008. So – can we continue to hope going into the current season and if so, should we have reason to expect? Will the hopes once again fall short, or can Bath find glory this time?  

Balancing Act: Pre Season Friendlies

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 13:22:39 +0000

Bath’s pre season friendlies will require a more than usually careful balancing act this month. In most years the coaches must trade off game time for all, development of key units and trial of new combinations, while attempting to build squad confidence and avoid untimely injury. This season, their preparations are complicated by the impact of summer tours, stalled recruitment and a lengthy injury list.   Todd Blackadder has described late July and August as “ crucial in our preparation”. He further suggested that a high calibre of opposition was deliberately selected to set the squad up well for one of the toughest Premiership starts for many years. The three opponents chosen will certainly be testing: first a traditional derby against a Bristol side smarting from relegation, followed by visits to Pro 12 Semi Finalists Ospreys and Leinster. Blackadder also sees ‘fine tuned match day preparation away from the Rec” as essential to the new AP campaign. He will want to avoid a repeat of last season when having laid the ghost of Franklin’s Gardens, a bogey venue for a decade and a half, in the opening round, his team then conspired to lose most of their away games, including to all the bottom four finishers.   The challenge therefore is a tough one on three fronts: correct past failings, manage present disruption and arrive in September fit and battle hardened for a baptism of fire. So- what should supporters expect from the next three weeks?

Bath's Summer Tourists

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:53:59 +0000

With all the recent speculation about new signings (or lack of them), it is easy to forget that a number of the Bath squad were in representative action a few weeks ago. While their colleagues have been sunning themselves on the beach, or on the physio table preparing for another attritional season, nine Bath Rugby players were on tour with various teams. Here’s how they did – and what their summer experience could mean for Bath in the coming season.  

Lions or Lambs?

Mon, 29 May 2017 08:07:37 +0000

The Lions have departed for New Zealand, eleven of them having played on Saturday. In the most demanding schedule yet, they play their first match next Saturday and a total of ten in just six weeks. Those games are three Tests, the Maori –often thought of as an “extra Test”, the five new Zealand Super rugby franchises and a “Barbarians” team selected from the provincial unions. To cope with that challenge Warren Gatland and his fellow coaches have opted to take 41 players, with an average of 43 caps each. An impressive group, but will they strut through New Zealand as Lions rampant, or are they doomed by fatigue and the schedule to be lambs to the slaughter? 

Premiership Playoffs

Tue, 16 May 2017 12:29:22 +0000

The playoffs are upon us and English rugby’s focus over the next two weeks will be on the scrap for the title. Once again, Bath sit this one out and watch from the side-lines. As in 2014, Bath came close to qualifying after a promising start to the season, and having beaten three of the four semi finalists, will be able to view the final two fixtures as a yardstick to aim for next season. For the fans, there is no other top class rugby until the Lions first fixture, so how do we expect the semi finalists to fare – and who do we hope will succeed?    

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Season Review

Tue, 09 May 2017 07:34:42 +0000

So, Saturday’s fairy tale happy ending did not materialise. Tigers wrapped up a Playoff place at Sixways, while Bath failed to win at Sale, letting slip the slim chance to make the Top 4. What then, to make of Todd Blackadder’s first season? Beginning with hope, joy and expectation, it soon developed as many plot twists and improbable characters as a spaghetti western. For me, it was a case of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.     

Closing Down Sale?

Tue, 02 May 2017 19:32:21 +0000

Bath will want to to close down Sale in Saturday’s final Premiership match at the AJ Bell Stadium. In particular they will be wary of the two former League players on the wings – Josh Charnley and Denny Solomona. Solomona’s try scoring exploits, ten in thirteen matches, had many pundits purring and backing him as a “bolter” for the Lions tour. He may be disappointed having to settle for the consolation prize of a place on England’s tour of Argentina. That is a more realistic selection, but his season has been a remarkable one, somewhat overshadowing teammate Charnley whose signing was also greeted with excitement and expectation at the beginning of the season. Traditionally a tough prospect at home in Salford, Sale have endured a mixed run of results since Christmas. The delight of victory against Wasps must be balanced by New Year’s Day defeat to Bristol and a hammering by Northampton Saints in early March. In all they have been beaten at home five times in the Premiership and on Saturday will hope to put those woes behind them, finishing on a high.

Double Gloucester?

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:34:09 +0000

Bath have a chance to do a Premiership double over old rivals Gloucester at the Rec this Sunday.  This derby fixture, usually a tense and fiery encounter, is given extra spice by respective league positions and comparative form. Gloucester have won 4 of their last 6 matches, picking up 12 precious league points against Bath’s paltry 4 in the same period. They have also forced their way to their third Challenge Cup Final, by stealing the first away win this season at La Rochelle. Bath, despite playing some highly entertaining rugby lost out to Stade Francais in the other Semi Final when composure deserted them in the final 4 minutes. So, Gloucester, with an outside chance of scrapping their way into the Premiership Top 6 seem in the ascendant, while Bath, having only recently slipped out of the Playoff places, look to be hanging on in hope. For all the sparkle of their attack when they get it right, Bath have been frail of late – both in defence and mentality. So – will the frustration of Paris give way to more disappointment and despair? Or do Bath have it in them to win in style as at Twickenham 3 weeks ago?

Moment Critique

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:43:50 +0000

Bath face a moment critique in Paris on Sunday. The European Challenge Cup seems their best chance of silverware this season and winning the tournament would offer an alternative route to Champions Cup rugby should disaster strike in the final two Premiership fixtures. The month of April began well for Bath, shaking off the malaise that had blighted the latter part of the season with bright victories over Brive in the ECCC Quarter Final and Leicester in the Twickenham “Clash”. Optimism was brought to an abrupt halt at Sixways by a quick witted and fired up Worcester last weekend, much to the chagrin of the Blue, Black and White faithful. Now, at the season’s denouement, and only three guaranteed fixtures left, it is essential Bath rediscover the brio with which they began the Brive match and ended against Leicester. Paris in the spring would seem the ideal setting and a semi final date at the Stade Jean Bouin the perfect stage to kick-start the final run in. Both sides are feted by their supporters for their panache and élan, so can Bath expect to leave Paris celebrating a tour de force – or as “Les Miserables”?