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Hastings: renewal?

By P G Tips
January 23 2017

It will be cherry-picking time for Bath and Gloucester when they meet on Friday night. Gloucester will want to pick both their team and their targets carefully. Second in their pool, they stand a chance of success in the Anglo Welsh Cup, but must balance that tournament against the Premiership and Europe. Still in touch with the leading group, they could force a way into the Premiership Top 6 and top flight European rugby for next season. In the ECC, as seed number two, they have a home quarter final and realistic ambitions of silverware. They must now pick who to play and who to rest for the visit to the Rec. Bath’s hopes of AWC progress are theoretical only and selection options will be restricted by international squad calls. Their picks are likely to be with rest in mind, to preserve key players for more significant tasks – in the European Challenge Cup and Premiership. As well as squad players, Friday may see the inclusion of returners from injury. Some of these – such as David Denton - will want to put their hands up for international recognition, while others, perhaps Sisi, Wilson, Hastings or Clark will be looking at contract renewal. Adding some spice to the mix is the fact of a home tie in a derby with history. Third priority or no, the Rec faithful will want to see Bath gobble up the cherries and spit out the stones: so will many of the players.

It is anybody’s guess who coaches will select for the match, but Gloucester, with more to play for, are likely to field some experienced heads in search of a win. The likes of Ma’afu, Galarza, Evans and possibly even the departing Kvesic, may get the call up front to give them grunt, carrying power and breakdown presence. Pace and power in the backs could come from Purdy, Atkinson or Halaifonua while Burns or Hook may be asked to provide the direction from ten.


Despite some notable results – victory over Wasps, gaining a draw at Exeter and running Saracens close, there is an air of rebuilding this season at Kingsholm – with several key stalwarts due to depart at season’s end. Performance has been inconsistent so even with a strong selection the Cherry and Whites cannot take victory for granted.


Bath in recent weeks have been playing a much wider, more enterprising game. At first results did not match intent, but the ECC ties against Bristol and Pau have shown the value of the wide game played at tempo with pace from both forwards and backs. With nothing to play for I expect Blackadder will urge the squad to give it a go and express themselves. These are the sort of fixtures where squad players can put down a marker for more important matches coming up in the 6 Nations period. We can also expect some returners to beef up the pack: Auterac, Ellis and DentonIt could be the visitors who are red faced at the end and it would be no surprise if life is a bowl of cherries for Bath by ten o’clock on Friday.


Possible Teams:

Auterac, Walker, Palma-Newport, Ellis, Stooke, Denton,G Mercer, Grant. Cook, Priestland, Brew, Tapuai, Clark, Wilson, Hastings.

Replacements: Obano, V Vuuren, Knight, Douglas, Sisi. Homer, Fruean, Williams.


Thomas, Walker, Ma’afu , Latta, Galarza, Ludlow, Kvesic, Evans. Braley, Burns. Thorley, Atkinson, Purdy , Protheroe. Marshall

Replacements: Mullis, Orr, Doran-Jones, Wilson, Safe. Heinz, Hook, Halaifonua


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23/01/2017 17:15
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:02:05:09:43:59 by Stuart Anderton.

by (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
23/01/2017 17:49
Good write up.

Going to be interesting to see the team selection, surely they'll want to play a strong side as prep for Saints. You just wonder if it'll be this week or next week away against Newcastle.

shipwrecked (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
23/01/2017 18:45
I quite like the phrase, "Bath gobble up the cherries and spit out the stones", on another note, are our internationals available for selection or are they on 6N duty?

Bathovalballer (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
23/01/2017 20:15
I believe the England internationals are in Portugal all week so cannot see them being around.

Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
24/01/2017 07:37
The principal aim is for Priestland to get some match practice but NOT get injured again.

jayeatman (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
24/01/2017 09:39
In the overall scheme of things, the results of these two AW games is of little importance. They will be used to prepare in the best way for the upcoming 6N AV teams. Priorities are:
1. Game time for some players who have not had much recently.
2. Reintroducing injury returnees.
3. Resting key players.
4. Avoiding injury, especially on the plastic pitch in Newcastle.

So I think PG's predicted lineup is pretty much spot on.

For squad morale, I hope we don't lose at home to Glaws, but away to Newcastle I'd expect even more academy players to feature rather than risk recent returnees on the plastic.

BATH supporter since 1975

Adopted players:
2015/6 Tom Homer
2016/7 Matt Banahan
2017/8 Jeff Williams

by (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
24/01/2017 11:07
Darren Edwards in the chronicle pretty much confirmed that Rhys will be at 10. I'd like to see Atkins given a go at fullback.

malco (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
24/01/2017 12:28
I'd like to see some of the wider squad given a go.

Something like:

Mercer G
Mercer Z
Homer W

Van Vuuren, Auterac, Knight, Douglas, Sisi, Allinson, Hastings, Clark

jayeatman (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
24/01/2017 16:06
That's the sort of team I imagine you might see at Newcastle.

BATH supporter since 1975

Adopted players:
2015/6 Tom Homer
2016/7 Matt Banahan
2017/8 Jeff Williams

nick holder
nick holder (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
25/01/2017 17:09
We are the 2nd worst team in the competition so why should we pick anyone other than the half back and centre combinations for the 6 nations for the next 2 games is beyond me?

SteveCh (IP Logged)

Re: Cherrypicking
25/01/2017 19:05
I think you'll see the probable Northampton game pairings selected for Glos on our grass and then a more youthful second string on Falcon's plastic pitch so as to avoid any injuries to those preferred starters. Coaches have made it clear than some of our players don't react well to the surface you get with these artificial grass pitches, so it won't be the best available 23 selected and to what extent we get beasted kind of depends on what Newcastle want out of the game.

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