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All Change: London Irish v Bath

Lahiff: start?

By P G Tips
November 1 2017

It will be all change for Bath when they play London Irish at the Madjeski on Saturday. The fixture brings a change of competition, wholesale change in the team sheet and hopefully a change of fortune after the frustration of the Gloucester derby. The Irish lie adrift at the foot of the Premiership table, seemingly already relegation candidates with Worcester. Premiership form is not always a reliable guide for this tournament though and Bath must beware the complacency which has twice undone them already this season.  

The Anglo Welsh Cup is not popular with all fans, often seen as a distraction from the more serious Premiership and European tournaments. It does give a chance for supporters to see their fringe and development players in action and give game time to those who will be needed as cover during international periods. This season, with the higher rate of injury attrition, some clubs AWC teams may be self selecting- if you are fit and not on international call up, you are in the squad.  Bath, with up to 17 players unavailable fall into this group.


London Irish began the season brightly, beating Harlequins in the Twickenham double header, but followed that with six successive defeats. They arrested the decline with a seven try thrashing of a lacklustre Stade Francais on their own patch in the Challenge Cup but reverted to defeat again against Saracens. If they are to stay up and build for the future, the Anglo Welsh offers their best chance of a run of confidence boosting results.


Predicting team selections for this competition is a bit of a black art but we do know that Irish are less hit by international call ups than Bath. Franks, Soalo, Treviranus and Tikoituva are the men missing for them which means their likely danger men could be Du Plessis, Paice and Cowan up front and Brophy-Clewes, Williams, Lewington or Cokanasiga behind. They may be propping up the AP table but have scored 15 tries to date, only 2 fewer than Bath- the threat is real.


Stuart Hooper told the Bath Chronicle this week "I think the fans are going to see a really exciting team,"

He went on: "There will be a mix of young guys, players coming back from injury or suspension, or players who just haven’t played that much. It will be a really good mix and a bunch of guys desperate to do well in a Bath jersey.”

Max Lahiff is expected to start at tighthead so it will be good to see the front row resources continue to grow, but both Batty and Tom Homer are expected to need another week or so before being ready. Other key men for Bath should be Garvey, Grant, Cook and Tapuai while fans will hope to see new signing James Wilson get a start.

Now in the top four of the Premiership and leading their group in the Champions Cup, Bath may not treat the Anglo Welsh as a priority. It does though give a chance to build combinations for the Autumn International period, give game time to those who have been injured and restore some spirit after last Sunday’s narrow defeat. Fans who travel to Reading will want to see improved decision making, increased desire and greater fluency in attack. They deserve nothing less.


Possible Bath Team:

Catt, Walker, Lahiff, Stooke, Douglas, Garvey (Capt), Bayliss, Grant. Cook, Lewis. Atkins, Tapuai, Jack Wilson, Davis. James Wilson


Replacements: Auterac, V Vuuren, Andrews, Phillips, Mercer. Allinson, Burns, Clark.




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All Change: London Irish v Bath
01/11/2017 11:39
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:11:12:09:56:55 by CoochieCoo.

Re: All Change: London Irish v Bath
01/11/2017 13:35
Is the match not on Saturday?

P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: All Change: London Irish v Bath
01/11/2017 13:51
Thank you Mr Omnibus

Now corrected!


P G Tips

Alex Davies: my adopted Player, 2018-19.

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