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Dubliners: Leinster v Bath
It will be a double dose of Dubliners for Bath and their fans this Saturday. For those of a certain age, “Dubliners” means lively Irish folk songs like “Wild Rover” and “Jug of Punch” and there is bound to be plentiful craic around Temple Bar and O’Connell Street after the match. So following one of Bath’s better performances last week in rattling Leinster and threatening to snatch a win, can the travelling fans hope to have much to sing about or raise a glass to on Saturday evening?
Molly Malone: Bath v Leinster ECC
Bath will be reacquainted with Molly Malone at the Rec on Saturday. No, the Australian former 10 is not being brought back to tutor our fly halves, but we can expect to hear the strains of Dublin’s unofficial anthem ringing around the stadium. Given the muted atmosphere at recent home matches and comparative form of the two sides will the ballad of the fishmonger drown the shouts of C’mon you Bath? Or can Bath bounce back to such form as to inspire the passions of their faithful?
Crisis or Comeback: Bath v Sale
Bath’s tie with Sale offers crisis or comeback, depending on your expectation –and of course the result. Having returned to winning ways and restored some confidence against Worcester, Bath seemed to lose control of both on the Tyne, slumping to defeat in a dull, error strewn match. Sale, by contrast squeezed out a win against fellow strugglers Saints despite wasting several chances. Can Bath find the determination – and the control -to bury their threat and chalk up a much needed win?
Test on the Tyne: Newcastle v Bath
Bath face a test on the Tyne at Kingston Park on Friday night. They have failed to win on their past five visits to the northeast since autumn of 2015. Newcastle Falcons, bottom of the Premiership, will be desperate to add to their sole league win and will provide a stern test of Bath’s resolve, recovery, resilience and depth of resources. Depleted by injuries, international calls and concerns over the artificial surface, can Bath field sufficient experience and quality to win?
Pivotal Point: Bath v Worcester
Bath face a pivotal point in their season against Worcester Warriors at the Rec on Saturday. Pivotal may seem a strange term only a third way through the season. Bath though lie 8th in the Premiership, are winless in in 7 games and in dire need of a win. The next three Premiership fixtures would normally be thought winnable. With 11 on the injured list and another 6 probably on international duty, will Bath have the resources to triumph and start to turn their season around?
Toon Trial: Newcastle v Bath
Bath face a ‘Trial on the Toon” in Friday’s PRC Pool match at Newcastle. With only slim hopes of progress in the competition they may be tempted to field a development squad. They are though winless in their past 6 matches and approaching a tough set of Premiership and European rounds up to Christmas. A win is sorely needed. Bath’s performance could set the tone for the rest of the season.
Pursue the Positives: Exeter v Bath
Bath will want to pursue the positives at Sandy Park in the Premiership Rugby Cup on Saturday. Last week’s defeat to Harlequins brought a storm of criticism from fans on social media, provoking skipper Matt Garvey to respond in defence of his squad. “There was too much negativity” he said “and I just felt it crossed a bit of a line.” After a loss, he went on “no one hurts more than us” (players). We can expect a player backlash on the field, but will Bath’s cup be half empty or half full?
Licking Wounds: Bath v Harlequins
Bath will get a chance to lick their wounds in the Premiership Rugby Cup against Harlequins on Saturday. The wounds are both real and psychological. Eleven players are on the injured list, the latest being Jackson Willison, out for 2 or 3 weeks with hamstring damage from last weekend’s draw against Wasps. Three defeats in the last four matches, a stuttering start overall and accident-prone moments are the mental wounds. Will a change of competition bring renewed confidence and restore the winning habit?
Burned once, Burns once more
Wasps - we experienced a massive European humiliation Freddie Burns - hold my beer...
To Win, Toulouse?