Latest News:

Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss


By Ed Scott
March 29 2012

This week Bath return to the Rec for their penultimate home game of the season against Premiership title contenders Northampton.

My first draft of this preview (started on Monday) read a little like this: "I don't know why we keep talking about Europe, after watching Bath's inept display against Harlequins, it has become clear to me that we are simply not a top six team at the moment! Let's just move on and hope for changes next year."
 
With some perspective, I have now calmed and will endeavour to produce a positive piece this week, although I must confess that it has been hard to find the motivation to be optimistic.
 
The most frustrating part was that we won more than enough ball to allow us to win the game, but our ability to create and finish chances was practically non-existent. The fact that does frustrate me is that our players looked 'coached'. For a change I sat at the end of the ground so was able to see angles, support lines and space available. Several times key decision makers (Olly and Class in particular) stuck with a predetermined move when in fact a far better decision would have been to look up and play what was in front of them. We also seemed to do a lot of running sideways rather than straight, a cardinal sin. No wonder our wings never get the ball in space!
 
Ironically, both Gloucester and Sale lost on the weekend, meaning that a Heineken Cup slot is still up for grabs. I'm not convinced we deserve it, but I'll take it if it comes our way. In order to achieve that however, we need to win the next three of the final four games (I cannot honestly see us getting anything out of Leicester at Welford Road). As such, both Bath and Northampton (chasing a top four spot) face a must win game this weekend.
 
On a positive note, Bath do still have quite a water-tight defence. Quins only scored on Saturday when we were down to 14 men and never looked like crossing the line apart from that. We are at home in front of a sell out crowd in a game where we are certainly not the favourites. With little left to play for, Bath should be able to relax and play what's in front of them. I feel that the reason why we perhaps played with more freedom in the LV Cup was because the pressure to do well in the competition (certainly at the start) was far less than that of a Premiership game. When it really mattered (semi-final v Leicester) we stiffened up, went within ourselves, and choked.
 
With a number of knocks and longer term injuries, the starting line up is dependant on who is fit just as much as who should be selected. Assuming that Lee Mears has run off his knock and that Heathcote and Abendanon have recovered, the possible changes to next week are limited. With Francois Louw out, I would think that Skirving will come into the back row with Fearns moving to openside. In the front row I would guess that Nathan Catt will start again (unjustly penalised twice by Wayne Barnes last week in my opinion!) and that Davey Wilson (who showed last week that he's not the only prop who can throw a pass out the back door) will start at tight head. We need a strong scrummaging performance against the power of the Saints front row so both are going to have to really step up this week.
 
As many of you know, I would make a big change in the backs and start Kyle Eastmond on the wing. Yes, he's highly inexperienced, but he needs to play and could be a real game breaker if we give him the chance. Woodburn didn't have a great game last weekend and I can't see how Banners can be brought back in after only one week. I would also start either Ben Williams or Dan Hipkiss at 13. Carraro is a great player, but simply isn't here next year. Both guys have great potential in a Bath shirt and need to play more before the end of the season.
 
I would risk a 4:3 split on the bench and have Josh Ovens instead of Guy Mercer. I just feel that Josh will have more of an impact when he comes on. If Perenise is fit I would select him on the bench to make a considerable impact when he comes on. For the backs I would choose Banahan, Mark McMillan and Sam Vesty. Banners to make an impact and Vesty to cover Tommy H just in case he is still a bit rocked from his knock last weekend.
 
This is a selection very much based on what I would do but is likely to resemble little of the actual team who play. I doubt Eastmond will even be on the bench and I would expect Carraro to start. I simply feel that the current line up is not working. The coaching isn't going to change overnight, so the only other option we have is to change the personnel.
 
It's a tough challenge this weekend. The Northampton team we play on Saturday will resemble little of the team that took the field against us in the LV Cup and will be a huge challenge. Hartley and Callum Clark will be missing, but they have huge depth and are highly dangerous. If Ryan Lamb plays we will need to pressurise him heavily to try and put him off his game and ensure that he is given very little space. He is the master of the little chips over the defence so Claassens and the backrow need to be sweeping behind the line.
 
Last week I asked you to keep the faith. This week I ask you to think about the future. We've got the potential, but it's not being drawn from the players right now. Personally I'd make some changes, but either way, I'll be cheering my heart out and believing that an upset could still be on the cards. Come join me, sometimes blind optimism is the only way to go!

View a Printer Friendly version of this Story.

Bookmark or share this story with:

Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: BathRugbyEre.co.uk (IP Logged)
Date: 29/03/2012 22:44

What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:04:01:17:04:59 by Susanne.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Tricky=Legend (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 08:36

Sorry all, wrote this weeks preview in a bit of a rush and totally got confused on the number of substitues we are allowed! I of course meant to say that we should ensure a 5:3 split forwards to backs!

I also hear that Heathcote might not have recovered from being smashed by Fa'asalavu so we could see a change at 10. I assume that either Vesty or OB1 will take his place.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: abendanon-anon-anon (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 08:39

A really good priview Ed, thanks for taking the time - hope Olly has been practicing his kicking this week - we'll need all the points we can get!

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Hamptonite (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 08:58

Yes, really good preview and comments that I totally relate to!

Still think that Banners will come back in for OW with no other backs changes. Only 3 hours until we find out!

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Susanne (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 14:04

Well - they've gone with Wilson, put Catt on the bench and completely ignored your advice about Kyle! But you got your way about Hipkiss.

Great preview Ed - thanks for keeping the faith on this each game.

http://i43.tinypic.com/2rwrq7p.jpg

Rob Webber - my hooker for 2013/14 (I'll try not to break this one mid-season!)

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: marshie10 (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 14:13

Good stuff Ed. Thanks.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Bri (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 15:54

Many thanks for a great preview.So much better than last weeks.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: marshie10 (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 16:29

Bry, Ed did last weeks as well...

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Bri (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 16:33

I thought it was you Marshie?if Ed done it last week it proves one thing,he's getting better.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: marshie10 (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 16:52

Haha, Ed did the preview and I did the report - thanks for the dazzling feedback. I think you should do the match report this weekend, it would be witty for sure.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Bri (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 16:54

Only having a bit of banter but yes I probaly could do better.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: niknok (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 16:56

Flats starting!! lets hope he can silence all his critics but I think he will struggle.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Bri (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 16:58

Flats will be fine,he's been working all week with Callum Clarke.

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Phil. (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 18:40

Good read that, Ed!

COYSDC on Facebook

"It's not the despair, Saints, I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: marshie10 (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 18:53

Bry, I really want you to do a report, it'll be classic.

Susanne, has anyone put there hand up to do a report yet?

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Tricky=Legend (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 19:58

Well, the irony behind all this is that I wrote this weeks in about 15 minutes and spent far longer on last weeks! Note to self, go back to the uni days when all my best work was done at the last minute!!

Looking forward to your match report Bri!

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Susanne (IP Logged)
Date: 30/03/2012 22:07

Quote:
Marshie10
Susanne, has anyone put there hand up to do a report yet?

Yes thanks - Andy D is doing it. I am keeping the list on the report writers thread up to date and now have writers for all the games expect the last one away to Leicester.

http://i43.tinypic.com/2rwrq7p.jpg

Rob Webber - my hooker for 2013/14 (I'll try not to break this one mid-season!)

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Bri (IP Logged)
Date: 31/03/2012 10:24

I'll love to do the last one,but you'll have to wait until I get back.
I would prefer to do the pre match.
Ot tried my Blue trousers this morning I really have to lose a few pounds,tend to go up a dress size in the rugby season.
Anyway the misses said keep them for away games,what she really mean away from her.typical women hates someone else getting all the attention.
I'll wait your reply and I'll make sure I have spell check on. would you prefer a cv?how does it work?

 
Re: Match Preview - Ignorance Is Bliss
Posted by: Susanne (IP Logged)
Date: 01/04/2012 17:07

Bri - the pre match is Ed's to do unless he decides he wants to relinquish it. You would be very welcome to do the report for the last game away at Tiggers if you would like to - if you are interested send me a PM and I'll let you know what is involved.

http://i43.tinypic.com/2rwrq7p.jpg

Rob Webber - my hooker for 2013/14 (I'll try not to break this one mid-season!)

Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListLog In

Sorry, you do not have permission to post/reply in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing abuse@sportnetwork.net
 

Bath Poll

Do you go to Bath home games

See results > Submit >>