- Latest Headlines
United Colours of Rugby: Bath v Benetton
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?
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?
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!
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
“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.
Bath Squad 2017/18
Current Squad, please let me know if any amendments
A Question of Faith: Bath v Saracens
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
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?
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
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?