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Bargain Hunting? Sale v Bath
After flattering to deceive at Gloucester, Bath next travel to a Sale side nursing a grievance. Following a humbling home defeat to Worcester, Sale pulled themselves together and dominated much of a feisty Challenge Cup Semi Final, only to fall to La Rochelle in a match littered with controversial moments. Frustration at such narrow failure should fire them up, as will the knowledge that, like Bath, they now depend on final Premiership position for entry to Champions Cup rugby next season.
Into The Lions’ Den: Gloucester v Bath
Fresh from beating Bristol at Twickenham, Bath’s third successive derby takes them to the Kingsholm Lions’ den. Gloucester claim their rebadging is not a rebrand, like Bristol’s but their Head Coach is a former Golden Lion player and coach, their squad contains four former Lions and they have adopted much of the Transvaalers’ directness and ferocity. They have certainly proven Lion- hearted this season and the Shed will be ready to roar. Will Bath be lambs to the slaughter or Lion tamers?
Derby Day Out: Bath v Bristol (“The Clash”)
Having come away pointless from Exeter Bath must next face another local derby-this time in southwest London. To it’s detractors “the Clash” is pointless, a costly indulgence or giving away home advantage, depending on personal gripe. Its supporters see it as a good day out and a rare chance to back the team at Twickenham. Certainly the 2017 comeback win against Tigers brought happy echoes of 80s and 90s Cup Finals, but now there is a Top 6 place to win and relegation zone to avoid. Can Bath triumph over a fired up Bristol?
Seeking a Miracle: Exeter v Bath. ADD TEAM NEWS HERE
Having kept the faith to defeat Saracens, Bath must next seek a miracle at Sandy Park. Beating Saracens may have restored some of their supporters’ faith but also helped extend Exeter’s lead at the top of the Premiership. Unbeaten in the League at home this season, the Chiefs seem destined to finish top or runners up. Bath, by contrast, have lost touch with the Playoff group and face a dogfight for top European qualification. For them to win at Sandy Park appears a tall order.
Keep the Faith: Bath v Saracens -ADD TEAM HERE
Having surrendered to Quins in the last minute on Saturday Bath must keep the faith on Friday against Saracens. Not necessarily with the game plan, but the self - belief essential to recover from a string of mishaps – a self- belief seemingly absent in 3 of the past 4 Premiership ties. Saracens visit as firm favourites for a bonus point win- while for Bath faith is unlikely to be enough. To win they will probably need to conjure up a miracle – will they have a prayer?
Colourful Challenge: Bath v Harlequins
Having produced a chequered performance in defeat at Northampton, Bath must next withstand Harlequins’ colourful challenge at the Rec. The London club seem secure in 3rd place, have won 4 Premiership ties in a row and are in rich try scoring form. Bath by contrast have been prone to off colour moments in 2 of their last 3 Premiership games, purple patches giving way to pallid errors, letting victory slip at the last. This time, can they be bold and vivid enough to win?
Marching on or Sliding Back? Northampton v Bath
Bath could go marching on with victory over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday. Equally likely, given Saints’ recent form, they could be sent tumbling down. The tie pairs two form sides of the last five Premiership rounds but the hosts boast the more impressive record. They earned 19 points from that Premiership spell, are on a 5 match winning home streak, averaging 8 tries a match in the last three. So will they- as form suggest – prove too strong for Bath?
Prepare to Pounce: Bath v Newcastle Falcons
Both sides will be preparing to pounce when Bath host Newcastle Falcons on Saturday. For different reasons each club will look for a change in fortune as the Premiership resumes after over a month’s layoff. For Falcons the imperative will be avoiding relegation, while Bath will hope to begin climbing the table towards Champions Cup qualification, or even this season’s playoffs. With eighth hosting twelfth, could this be the weekend Bath turn their season around?
Cherrypicking? Bath v Gloucester PRC. Add Team News Here
Bath have a chance of cherrypicking, hosting Gloucester in the Premiership Rugby Cup at the Rec on Saturday. A derby victory in any competition is always welcome, but Bath’s hopes in the tournament are over and the focus is solely now on the Premiership. Todd Blackadder must therefore decide what team he wishes to field. Earlier this month he spoke of “going strong against Gloucester” to prepare for league challenges, so will Bath put out their strongest squad? And can fans expect a victory?
Coming Up Roses? Toulouse v Bath ECC. PUT TEAM UP HERE
Following their first European win of the season against Wasps, Bath must now face continental pedigree in Toulouse on Sunday. Having sneaked victory in a patchy match, they will want to continue their improving performance in preparation for the resumption of the Premiership challenge next month. For Bath it is another dead rubber, while Toulouse, known locally as “La Ville Rose” –the pink city- can secure a knockout place with a win. So who will be flush with success at the end?
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