Thursday, 31 January 2013

Is money everything?

With the news that Jonny Sexton is looking like he is on his way to Racing Metro from Leinster almost turning his back on the IRFU, it raises the question- Is the lure of money overtaking the pride of representing the National team. And to what extent is money making an effect on the rugby world?

Within the last few months we've seen a wealth of Welsh talent perform a mass exodus to shores of France to receive a bounty of money in comparison to their earnings back in their motherland. The French teams such as Toulon and Racing Metro have certainly been shelling out the Euros, drafting in an enormity of players from around the world. The effect this has had on the likes of smaller nations such as the Wales has seen them looking to drop from four to three regions, the financial capability just is not there. An issue for me is with all this talent in these squads game time will be restricted, bench time will become all to usual, demonstrating the sport to be drifting towards a big money game.

Many nations apply the ruling 'to play for the country you must play in the country!' Even this has now not become a big enough deterrent as the pennies are a bigger draw as opposed to pulling on the national shirt and displaying you pride for all the world to see.
The French seem to be slowly pillaging the talent from other nations seemingly to build Rugby's version of the English football premier league, but to what detriment to other nations and teams? Could this French cash splash be causing a shift in direction in the purity of the sport?

The IRFU's decision is a tough one, if they allow Sexton to continue to play for Ireland then it will allow other to do likewise plunging Irish rugby into a dire situation. A large issue regarding player flocking to foreign shores is sadly money. Salary caps are quite a contentious issue, the vast varying amounts in each leagues salary cap is almost astounding! The Welsh rugby has a cap of £3.5m, the Aviva premiership amasses to £4.5 yet the French Top 14 has a loosely based €9.5m cap. With such a vast difference the enticement to travel abroad to earn some extra money for security when their career comes to pass is understandable.

Read more...

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Bath Rugby dismiss Francois Louw's French connection

Bath Rugby have quashed suggestions that Francois Louw could be leaving the club after reports emerged that Toulon were interested in adding the flanker to their list of South African recruits.

Earlier this month, Bath head coach Gary Gold confirmed scrum-half Michael Claassens was mulling over whether to end a six-year spell at The Rec and had entered talks over a possible move to the Top 14 side.

Countryman Bryan Habana is already committed to joining Toulon from Super Rugby side Stormers for next season but Bath first-team coach Mike Ford insisted that Louw is one Springbok international not on the move.

Read more...

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

LV= Cup Match Preview: Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby

Gloucester Rugby cannot reach the semi-finals of this season's LV= Cup. Gloucester's last seven
encounters in the tournament since they won the 2011 final have all been won by the home side on the day.

Gloucester's only defeat in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Kingsholm was to Cardiff Blues (25-26)
on 8 November 2009.

Bath Rugby are attempting to reach a second successive LV= Cup semi-final and need to outscore Northampton by at least one match point to do so. Bath have won their last three matches in all competitions but all three have been at The Rec. Bath's only victory on the road since October was 39-5 at Calvisano in the European Challenge Cup on 15 December.

Tom Heathcote is the leading point scorer in an LV= Cup match for this season's competition with 21 points scored during the match against Newport Gwent Dragons on 10 November 2012.
Bath have won just one of their last ten encounters with Gloucester in all competitions: 24-8 at The Rec in the Premiership on 27 December 2009. Bath's most recent victory over Gloucester at
Kingsholm was 18-15 in the Premiership in February 2006.
The two teams have met twice before in this tournament: Bath winning 21-12 at The Rec in December 2005 and Gloucester victorious at Kingsholm )30-12) a year later.

At Kingsholm, Saturday 2pm. Referee: Ian Davies (WRU) 5th competition game.
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton.

Source: Premiership Rugby

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Monday, 28 January 2013

Bath match-winner Peter Stringer grateful for game time

Peter Stringer says he is just glad to be playing after Bath Rugby's new scrum-half recruit produced a match-winning performance against Exeter Chiefs.

The Ireland international arrived at The Rec last week to start a short-term loan from Munster, with head coach Gary Gold drafting him in as cover for the injured Michael Claassens.

Although the 35-year-old had an instant impact, coming off the bench to score two second-half tries in Bath's LV= Cup win over Chiefs, simply getting on the pitch was Stringer's priority.

Read more...

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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bath Rugby head coach Gary Gold 'astonished' by Euro away day

Head coach Gary Gold bemoaned the ERC's decision to alter the knockout stages of European competitions after Bath Rugby were handed a hazardous route to Amlin Cup glory.

Previous seasons have seen the top seeds from the pool stages rewarded with home ties in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals but a random draw for the last four was introduced this term.

Despite finishing as the top-ranked side, Bath will have to travel to France in the semi-finals – should they overcome Stade Francais at The Rec in the last eight – after Sunday's draw pitted them against the winners of the clash between Top 14 rivals Perpignan and Toulouse.

Read more...

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Friday, 25 January 2013

Bath Rugby team to face Exeter Chiefs


15 Jack Cuthbert
14 Richard Lane
13 Matt Banahan
12 Ben Williams
11 Olly Woodburn
10 Tom Heathcote
9 Mark McMillan
1 Charlie Beech
2 Rob Webber
3 Anthony Perenise
4 Stuart Hooper ( c )
5 Dave Attwood
6 Nick Koster
7 Mat Gilbert
8 Ben Skirving
Replacements
16 Ross Batty
17 Nathan Catt
18 Kane Palma-Newport
19 Will Spencer
20 Will Skuse
21 Peter Stringer
22 Sam Vesty
23 Semesa Rokoduguni
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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Rob Webber and Peter Stringer for Bath Rugby against Exeter Chiefs

Rob Webber is in line to make his Bath Rugby debut this weekend – a year after first agreeing a move to The Rec, writes Harry Abbott.

And Irish scrum-half Peter Stringer could also make his Bath bow after signing as short-term cover for the injured Michael Claassens this week.

England hooker Webber has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since making a switch from Wasps last summer but is expected to return during Saturday's visit of Exeter Chiefs in the LV= Cup (2.15pm).

Read more...

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Le Crunch: Date confirmed

Our quest for European silverware is hotting up and we need your support for a battle you won't want to miss!

Bath Rugby v Stade Francais, the Rec
Saturday 6th April, 13:00 KO

We are delighted the game is to be staged on a Saturday afternoon as knowing it is our supporters favoured day and time for kick-off, we always fight hard to secure this.

French giants Stade Francais currently stand between us and a semi-final spot in the Amlin Challenge Cup, so after all their hard work in getting to this point, our boys are going to need all your support to get the win.

Ticket information will follow soon, but for now make sure you put the date in your diary as we go to battle with the French once more!

Bath Rugby's route to the quarter finals:
Bucharest Wolves 17 - 40 Bath Rugby
SU Agen 22 - 27 Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby 67 - 11 Calvisano
Calvisano 5 - 39 Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby 19 - 16 SU Agen
Bath Rugby 53 - 8 Bucharest Wolves

For details of hospitality packages please email hospitality@bathrugby.com or call Becky or Sarah on 01225 325200 (option 2).


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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

George Ford will leave Leicester Tigers for Bath, Cockers confirms

Fly-half George Ford will leave Leicester Tigers at the end of the season, director of rugby Richard Cockerill has confirmed.

The 19-year-old will end a four-year association with the club when his one-year contract reaches an end this summer.

Cockerill said he was "disappointed" with Ford's decision and said Leicester had done everything they could to keep him.

He added that Ford will join Bath next season which would see him join up with his father and assistant coach at The Rec, Mike Ford.

Despite Bath director of rugby Gary Gold saying there was "no deal in place", Cockerill said: "I have been told by him and his advisors that he is going to go and sign for Bath.

Read more...

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LV= Cup still a priority for Bath Rugby ahead of Chiefs contest

The LV= Cup remains high on Bath Rugby's agenda despite other competitions taking precedence in recent weeks.

A sixth straight Pool 4 win last Saturday secured their place in the Amlin Cup quarter-finals, while improved form in the Aviva Premiership – where Bath currently sit eighth – is the club's priority.

The Anglo-Welsh competition has been on the backburners since November but with a place in next season's Heineken Cup awarded to the LV= Cup winner, head coach Gary Gold says it is still a key part of Bath's plans.

Read more...

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Ben Williams sees the benefits of Bath Rugby's new self-analysis

Ben Williams believes Bath Rugby are benefitting from shifting their focus away from the opposition and instead on analysing themselves.

An impressive 53-8 victory over Bucharest Wolves in their last outing suggests Bath have fine-tuned their preparations to perfection, but centre Williams insists turning attentions on their own game is what has made the squad so deadly in Europe.

Read more...

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Fly-half George Ford set for Bath Rugby move after Leicester talks break down

Teenage fly-half George Ford is believed to be heading to Bath Rugby in the summer after the England under-20s star’s contract talks at Leicester Tigers reached a stalemate.

The Leicester Mercury reports today that the 19-year-old son of Bath first-team coach Mike Ford has decided to leave Tigers at the end of the season in search of more time on the pitch.

If, as expected, Ford does now decide to join Bath, the club will have to pay Leicester up to £45,000 in compensation for his services.

Read more...


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A number of signings for Bath Rugby!?

George Ford, regarded as one of the brightest talents in English rugby, is to leave Leicester to join Bath next season as part of a major recruitment drive that will also include the signings of London Irish’s highly-rated trio Jonathan Joseph, Matt Garvey and Anthony Watson.
Ford, the 2011 World Junior Player of the Year, will join up with his father Mike, the former England defence coach. Joesph’s signing is as a major coup. The 21-year-old centre impressed on England’s summer tour of South Africa. Second row Garvey, 25, has broken into the England Saxons squad while Watson, an 18-year-old full-back or wing, scored four tries for England Under-20s last year.

Source: Daily Telegraph


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Monday, 21 January 2013

Bath Rugby sign Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer on short-term loan

Bath Rugby have confirmed the signing of Irish international scrum-half Peter Stringer as short-term injury cover.

The hugely-experienced Stringer is Ireland's most-capped number nine, having made 98 appearances for his country.

He has also played for Munster more than 200 times and has featured in three Heineken Cup finals, scoring a try in the club's win over Biarritz in 2006.

Read more...


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Recreation Ground Update

We would like to thank all our supporters and members of the public who recently took part in the Charity Commission's publication of the Scheme consultation regarding the future of the Rec.

The Charity Commission received 1,868 representations, of which 87% were in favour of the Scheme, which includes plans to grant us some extra space in exchange for land at Lambridge being leased to the Recreation Ground Trust.

Bath Rugby Chief Executive, Nick Blofeld, commented: "We were delighted with the public support in response to the proposal for the Recreation Ground, and would like to thank everyone who made representations to the Charity Commission.

"This is an important step forward in keeping us at the Rec. We will continue to work with all interested parties with the aim of achieving a positive outcome for the Club and the residents of Bath, and will come forward with more detailed plans for Bath Rugby to remain at the Rec in due course after this stage of the process is complete."

Whilst the large majority were in favour of the plans, there were 244 (13%) objections, so the Commission will need to assess these before deciding whether or not to confirm the proposals. This is expected to be completed by April.

As you may be aware, an application for the Rec to become a Town and Village Green has been served to the Council, with public notices being placed around the Rec boundaries. As this application has been made to the Council, and they will make a decision, we are not yet in a position to make any comment on it.

Source: Bath Rugby

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Has Bath’s Bruce Craig Project Been Successful?

Ever since Bruce Craig began pouring money into Bath Rugby, the levels of expectations from supporters has gone up in turn. The former scrum half, who made his millions in the pharmaceutical industry after playing for Racing Metro, began the amazingly expensive business of funding a top flight rugby club in 2010, and was greeted by many as the answer to Bath’s problems of traversing the issues associated with professional rugby.

As a local man returning to assist the club he loved as a youngster, Craig was rightly viewed as a real lifeline in an increasingly money driven industry. He is a regular figure at matches, often having flown in from France in his helicopter (yes, really). His background as a rugby fan and player helps ease any thoughts that he will be treating the club badly or as a real business concern. He sold his company for nearly a billion pounds, so he is hardly short on cash.

While it is true that money is not always the answer to all the questions life can throw at you, in the era of professional rugby (becoming more and more like football by the minute), money does talk. I doubt Bath would have attracted players such as Stephen Donald and Francois Louw (or lured some away from the mortal enemy; Leicester) without being able to show them around the magnificent headquarters and training facilities at Farleigh Hungerford.

Read more...


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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Quarter-final opposition confirmed

Following yesterday's bonus point win over Bucharest Wolves, and the culmination of Round 6 in both the Amlin Challenge Cup and Heineken Cup, it is now confirmed that Bath Rugby will host Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final.

The game will take place on the weekend of 4th/5th/6th/7th April, and as soon as we have confirmation of the exact date, which we hope will be later this week, we will let you know.

Following today's semi-final draw, which was made to determine who will have the right to play at home, if we should make it through to the next stage, we will be away to either Perpignan or Toulouse on the weekend of 26th/27th/28th April.

Source: Bath Rugby


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Bath Rugby make it six from six in Europe

Bath Rugby secured top seeding in the Amlin Challenge Cup in style with a nine try, 53-8 win over Bucharest Wolves at a snowy Recreation Ground.
After some sterling work from the Bath Rugby groundsmen and a host of volunteers to clear the snow and ensure the game could be played, the home side quickly set about starting to exert their authority on the game.

A penalty at the scrum saw Tom Heathcote kick to touch, and after a lineout penalty was also sent to touch, Bath had their first try. Tom Dunn, on his debut start for the Club, came inside after throwing the ball in, saw a gap open up in the Bucharest defence and barged his way through. Heathcote added the conversion, giving Bath a 7-0 lead after 13 minutes.

Read more...

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Saturday, 19 January 2013

GAME ON!!

Just to confirm, today's game against Bucharest Wolves is ON! Kick-off 14.15. Please take extra care making your way to the Rec, and once inside the ground.

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Bath and Gloucester battle for top Amlin Challenge Cup seeding

Bath and Gloucester will vie on Saturday for the top quarter-final seeding in this season's Amlin Challenge Cup. Both clubs have already qualified for the last eight, but Bath occupy pole position.

Victory over Bucharest at the Recreation Ground would secure the No1 berth and a probable home quarter-final against Stade Français. Any slip-up, though, and Gloucester would overtake Bath by defeating Kingsholm visitors Mont-de-Marsan.

Wasps and Perpignan are also through as pool winners, while Stade Français need a point against already-eliminated London Welsh in Paris to confirm they progress. The five Amlin group winners will be joined by three runners-up from Heineken Cup pools for the quarter-finals in early April.

The Bath University student Tom Dunn makes his starting debut against Bucharest, packing down at hooker alongside the front-row colleagues Charlie Beech and Anthony Perenise, with the lock Stuart Hooper returning to captain Bath.

Read more...


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Friday, 18 January 2013

Pitch watch 2 - Bath Rugby

Big big thanks to all those who have helped us clear the pitch at the Rec this afternoon. The heating under the covers is being fired back up as we speak!

Further updates will follow as soon as we know more, but as far as we are concerned tomorrow's game will go ahead as planned.


Source: Bath Rugby Facebook


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Bath Rugby team to face Bucharest Wolves


15 Jack Cuthbert
14 Horacio Agulla
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Ben Williams
11 Olly Woodburn
10 Tom Heathcote
9 Mark McMillan
1 Charlie Beech
2 Tom Dunn
3 Anthony Perenise
4 Stuart Hooper ( c )
5 Ryan Caldwell
6 Will Skuse
7 Guy Mercer
8 Nick Koster

Replacements

16 Brett Sharman
17 Nathan Catt
18 Kane Palma-Newport
19 Dave Attwood
20 Francois Louw
21 Chris Cook
22 Sam Vesty
23 Matt Banahan


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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pitch watch! - Bath Rugby

PITCH WATCH: Pitch is covered and the heaters are on.
Snow has been forecast for this evening so we will update first thing tomorrow morning.

BUT there is no reason to think that this will effect the game going ahead on Saturday!

Will keep you all updated as and when...

Allez Bath!

Source: Bath Rugby Facebook



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Monday, 14 January 2013

Bath Rugby fly-half Tom Heathcote named in Scotland's Six Nations training squad

Bath Rugby fly-half Tom Heathcote has been named in a 35-strong Scotland training squad ahead of the RBS 6 Nations.

The 20-year-old, who had previously played age-group rugby for England and featured for the Red Rose in last summer's Junior World Championships in South Africa, was a surprise inclusion in the Scotland squad for their ill-fated final autumn Test against Tonga.

Heathcote came off the bench to make his debut in that match on November 24, but could not turn the tide as the Tongans won 21-15 on Scottish soil. That dispiriting result cost the man who had picked Heathcote, Andy Robinson, his job as Scotland coach.

Read more...

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The Rec 'Town/Village Green' Application

First of all we would like to thank all RFOTR members who responded to the Charity Commission on the Draft Scheme for the Rec. Almost 1000 RFOTR members told us that they responded, and we believe that this represents a high percentage of all responses to the Charity Commission. We are eagerly awaiting the final decision of the Charity Commission!

In the meantime a dubious delaying tactic from those opposed to development on the Rec has emerged. An application has been submitted to have the Rec designated as a ‘Town or Village Green’. There is a report about this on the Bath Chronicle website. Councillor David Dixon (Chairman of the Bath Recreation Ground Trust) is quoted as saying “This is merely a stalling tactic, an application which in my view fails on many accounts as a town village green, not least there is a leisure centre in existence and people, are not free to access the land, as all sports and activities are to be booked and paid for through the Trust.

“Mr Sparrow and his colleagues simply do not want the Trust to resolve the outstanding issues, do not want more land brought under the Trust's management in order for it to meet its objectives of making space available for sports, recreation and events.

“How much longer they want the issues the Trust face to go unresolved, who knows? This is now in its 11th year and this is the year to resolve issues one way or another."

Our understanding is that this application fails the criteria of “the land having been used and continuing to be used as of right by the inhabitants of the City of Bath for at least 20 years for lawful sports and pastimes” for multiple reasons including:
All sporting activities on the Rec (formal or informal) need the permission of the Rec Trust and have to be booked through the Trust
The Leisure Centre (which is included in the application) clearly does not have free access and is not open at all times.
The tennis courts and other facilities on the Rec do not have open access for ‘sports and pastimes’
On rugby match days there is not free access to the pitch and stands for ‘sports and pastimes’.
In the unlikely event that the application to make the Rec a ‘Town/Village Green’ becomes successful, this would have a number of consequences. One of these would make all the current activities on the Rec, including the Leisure Centre, unlawful with major negative impacts on the citizens of Bath. In addition the Rec Trust and B&NES could be left with a large financial liability which would end up with the council taxpayers of B&NES.

The RFOTR Committee is still examining the application in detail and if any RFOTR members do have legal expertise in the area of Town/Village Green applications please do contact us.

CONTACTS
You can contact the Executive Committee via email at contact@realfriendsoftherec.co.uk


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Bid to have Rec made into town green provokes backlash

A resident opposed to moves to give Bath Rugby a greater share of the Recreation Ground has applied for the site to be made an official town green.

But the application by retired NHS IT manager Jack Sparrow has been dismissed as a “stalling tactic” by the politician at the heart of the process of sorting out the Rec’s future.

Mr Sparrow, from Bathwick, has lodged an application under the 2006 Commons Act to have the whole of the Rec, including the city’s leisure centre, designated as a town green.

Read more...

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Why Are Bath Stars Ignored By England Elite?

When Bath Rugby’s website announced the England squads on Wednesday of last week, it didn’t lead with legions of Bath players who will be gracing the fields of Twickenham, the Aviva Stadium and the Millennium Stadium during the Six Nations, but on the appointment of Kyle Eastmond, a Rugby League convert, to the Saxons squad.

The only Bath player named in the senior squad was Davey Wilson, who was relegated to the status of a sub during the Autumn Internationals against the Southern Hemisphere. While far from disgracing himself, without an extended stretch of game time, Wilson never really had the chance to make much of a mark on the game. His skill has been evident for Bath in recent months however, allowing him to retain his place on the bench for England.

But what about the rest of the Bath squad? It hasn’t been an especially stellar season, true, but surely one of the most famous clubs in English rugby should have more presence in the England set-up?

Read more...

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

As it stands!

We are 2 points clear of the other groups, therefore a win on Saturday should see us finish top seed and therefore avoid the teams being parachuted in from the Heineken Cup!







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Three through to Amlin quarters

Three through and two to go - with the Pool 2 tussle between Worcester Warriors and Perpignan poised to be the final piece of the quarter-final qualification jigsaw only when the final whistle goes on the Pool stage action in Round 6.

Gloucester Rugby - the 2006 tournament champions - booked their place in the last eight with a 31-26 Friday night win on the road at Bordeaux-Begles while Bath Rugby maintained their winning record, also over French opposition.

Agen made them fight all the way for a 19-16 win but their 24 points ahead of the visit of Bucharest Wolves in Round 6 gives them a golden opportunity to finish as the top seeds.

That would see them avoiding any of the three Heineken Cup runners-up who qualify for the Amlin quarters and playing the fifth best of the group winners.

Read more...

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Friday, 11 January 2013

Bath Rugby team to face SU Agen


15 Nick Abendanon
14 Olly Woodburn
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Ben Williams
11 Horacio Agulla
10 Tom Heathcote
9 Mark McMillan
1 Paul James
2 Lee Mears
3 David Wilson
4 Dave Attwood
5 Ryan Caldwell
6 Will Skuse
7 Francois Louw ( c )
8 Nick Koster

Replacements

16 Tom Dunn
17 Charlie Beech
18 Anthony Perenise
19 Stuart Hooper
20 Guy Mercer
21 Chris Cook
22 Kyle Eastmond
23 Sam Vesty


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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Kyle tipped to shine after his England call

Kyle Eastmond has been backed to replicate the impressive start to his Bath Rugby career on the international stage after being named in the England Saxons Elite Player Squad yesterday.

The exciting 23-year-old has less than 20 union appearances under his belt since making a cross-code switch from St Helens in late 2011.

His relative inexperience is not a problem for England head coach Stuart Lancaster, however, who named Eastmond in a 32-man Saxons squad alongside fellow Bath backs Nick Abendanon and Tom Biggs, as well as prop Nathan Catt.

Read more...


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Claassens linked with move from Bath Rugby to Toulon

Negotiations between Michael Claassens and Bath Rugby are ongoing amid news Top 14 side Toulon are interested in snapping up the scrum-half.

"We're in constant discussions with Michael but I think he'll make a decision later on," said Hatley about the 30-year-old, whose contract expires this summer.

"At the moment he's committed to the club. We're working unbelievably hard but we'll probably know a little bit further down the line.

Read more...

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BathBytes: A first away day experience for an aspiring pundit

In my time as a Bath fan I've enjoyed the occasional away day quite a few of those I was lucky enough to go to Twickenham several times through the 80's and 90's. As for my eldest son's first Bath game was at the age of five where I got to take him up to Twickenham to see the final against Leeds, other than that he's only had the pleasure of watching Bath at the Rec. I felt at the age of 13 the time was right to take him on his first true away game expedition, our chosen fixture was Wasps at Adams Park.

Armed with belief, hope and expectations my son and set off on our boys day out heading in the direction of High Wycombe. Two wanna be pundits sat in the car chewing the fat and talking up the chances of Bath in this doable game safe in the knowledge if the Bath we believe we know can play. Surprising the so called knowledge that can be shared between a 13 and 34 year old in one journey, we would of put Austin Healey and Stuart Barnes to shame.

As we nestled down in our seats we noticed we had entered what can only be classed as a mosh pit of Wasps fans, this was to become a very enlightening experience during the match. A little bit of warm up action was going on in front of us, was good to see the Bath Boys looking fresh and confident. As we watched the players walk back done the tunnel we sat waiting displaying our colours like proud peacocks, filled with the belief this was a good chance for Bath to earn some valuable points.

Read more...

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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A number of Bath players make England squads

ENGLAND SENIOR ELITE PLAYER SQUAD (33)

FORWARDS (18)

Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

BACKS (15)

Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

ENGLAND SAXONS ELITE PLAYER SQUAD (32)

FORWARDS (17)

Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints)
Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Will Fraser (Saracens)
Joe Gray (Harlequins)
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Shaun Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)
Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
David Paice (London Irish)
Tom Palmer (London Wasps)
George Robson (Harlequins)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)

BACKS (15)

Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Biggs (Bath Rugby)
Elliott Daly (London Wasps)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
George Lowe (Harlequins)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Joel Tomkins (Saracens)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)


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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Bath Rugby statement on Brad Davis

We would like to explain our relative silence on the issue surrounding Brad Davis's position at Bath Rugby. We are not, for legal reasons, permitted to offer any comment whatsoever on the details of this situation. However, what we can certainly say is that Brad is indeed very popular here at Bath Rugby and extremely well respected as both a man and a coach. Overall, we want the best outcomes for both Brad and for the Club, and hope to have everything settled as soon as possible.

No further comment will be made until it is deemed appropriate to do so.


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Monday, 7 January 2013

Bath coach Toby Booth denies that Leicester fly-half George Ford will be joining the club

Bath coaches, including his father Mike Ford, denied reports that 19-year-old George Ford, a candidate to be England’s fly-half at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, will leave Leicester at the end of the season to join Bath.

Toby Booth, first-team coach at Bath, dismissed speculation yesterday that the teenage outside-half, currently second choice at Leicester behind England’s regular outside half Toby Flood, was considering a move to the Bath Rugby Club.

“We are disappointed by the speculation out there today,” said Booth, who revealed that the club’s coaches had discussed the matter as a group ahead of Bath playing at Wasps’ home, Adams Park. “His father, Mike [Bath’s defensive head coach], should know and he hasn’t signed with us, he wants to stay at Leicester. And George is categoric about that. And that is direct from Mike.”

“George wants to fight it out with Toby Flood because this was a very important period for him in December and January, because he wanted to go head to head with Flood and try to prove himself at Leicester. That’s as far as we know, and I think it is well-documented that there are talks with him to try and renew his contract and as far as we know, he’ll be a Leicester player.

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Gary Gold insists Bath not giving up on play-offs despite fourth straight defeat

The 29-15 defeat to Wasps left them down in eighth place, Christian Wade's brilliant solo try on the stroke of half-time changing the course of the game.

Bath had led 12-3 but Wade's trickery, Stephen Jones' deadly right boot - which gathered 17 points in total - and Chris Bell's late effort proved too much for the visitors.

But Gold said: "I think the table is quite tight this year, if you look at it if you're a pessimist and see the glass half empty you could think we're out of the top-four contention," he said.

"But we have a good group of rugby players, the attitude is right and I'm certainly not going to be giving up on the top four going forward.

"At 29-15 it doesn't look like we showed character but I think we did, we started off well and we put them under pressure, but that try just before half-time hurt us there's no doubt about it.

"I think we defended bravely for quite a number of phases at that stage and a piece of brilliance from their very good players led to them getting a try."

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Bath Rugby stung in defeat at London Wasps

Bath Rugby were handed a 29-15 defeat by London Wasps at Adams Park this afternoon.

Nick Abendanon gave the visitors a great start with an unconverted first-minute try and Bath led 12-3 on the quarter-hour mark after Michael Claassens touched down and Stephen Donald added the extras.

But that was as good as it got for Gary Gold's men as three Stephen Jones penalties and a converted Christian Wade try gave Wasps a 16-12 interval lead.


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Bath Rugby stung in defeat at London Wasps

Bath Rugby were handed a 29-15 defeat by London Wasps at Adams Park this afternoon.

Nick Abendanon gave the visitors a great start with an unconverted first-minute try and Bath led 12-3 on the quarter-hour mark after Michael Claassens touched down and Stephen Donald added the extras.

But that was as good as it got for Gary Gold's men as three Stephen Jones penalties and a converted Christian Wade try gave Wasps a 16-12 interval lead.

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England fly-half candidate Ford to leave Tigers and join father at Bath Rugby

George Ford, a candidate to be England's fly-half at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, will leave Leicester at the end of the season to join Bath.

There, the 20-year-old will join up with his father, Mike, who was England defence coach under Martin Johnson and is now first-team coach at the West Country club.

Ford is recognised as one of the brightest young talents in English rugby and was voted IRB World Junior Player of the Year in 2011.

But he has had fewer chances than he wanted at Leicester, where England's Toby Flood has been the preferred choice.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2257742/George-Ford-leave-Leicester-join-Bath.html#ixzz2HCAz2oU4
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Friday, 4 January 2013

Nick Koster will be worth the wait at Bath Rugby, says Francois Louw

Francois Louw expects fellow South African back-row star Nick Koster to make a big impact for Bath Rugby when he finally shakes off the rustiness left by a long-term injury.

A year after Louw's arrival, 23-year-old Koster followed suit in swapping Western Province and Super Rugby side Stormers for The Rec in October.

An existing knee problem meant he was unavailable for selection during the first six weeks after the move, however, and he has so far been limited to appearances in the Amlin Cup.

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Bath Rugby team to face London Wasps

15 Nick Abendanon
14 Horacio Agulla
13 Kyle Eastmond
12 Matt Banahan
11 Tom Biggs
10 Stephen Donald
9 Michael Claassens
1 Paul James
2 Lee Mears
3 David Wilson
4 Stuart Hooper ( c )
5 Dominic Day
6 Francois Louw
7 Guy Mercer
8 Ben Skirving

Replacements

16 Tom Dunn
17 Charlie Beech
18 Anthony Perenise
19 Dave Attwood
20 Will Skuse
21 Mark McMillan
22 Tom Heathcote
23 Dan Hipkiss


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Thursday, 3 January 2013

Prop Paul James pleased with Bath Rugby's response

Bath Rugby became the first side to not taste defeat at Sandy Park in the Aviva Premiership this season when they ground out a 12-12 draw against Exeter Chiefs last weekend.

But, despite that positive result, prop Paul James insists he and his team-mates have still got a long way to go to right the wrongs of the scarring loss to Saracens the week before.

Bath’s top-four aspirations took a massive knock in a 22-0 defeat at The Rec and the Welsh international forward has not yet forgotten that reversal. However, the 30-year-old believes the seeds of recovery were planted in their battling draw with the Chiefs in Devon.

“We were really disappointed the week before with how we played against Saracens so the way we fronted up against Exeter was very pleasing,” he said.

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We must not lose ground on top teams, says Bath Rugby coach Toby Booth

First-team coach Toby Booth says Bath Rugby cannot afford to lose any more ground to the Aviva Premiership’s pace-setters.

Bath are already seven points adrift of the league’s top four sides and travel to fifth-Wasps on Sunday (3pm).

A return to the Heineken Cup has been the club’s primary target this term and defeat would make it a big ask for that to be achieved through their final league position, which requires a top-six finish.

Booth says it is vital for Bath to still be in touch with the pack when the Premiership heads into a month-long hiatus after this weekend’s fixtures.

“It is all about hanging in there and making sure that we remain in the mix,” said Booth.

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