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Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath


Attwood: revitalised

By P G Tips
August 28 2018

Bath face a date in the bear pit when they play Bristol at Ashton Gate on Friday. Their newly promoted Avon rivals renamed in the off season, perhaps in an attempt to form a new identity and leave behind years of recent frustration?  For the past decade they have been either a Championship club or bottom of the Premiership. Now, as Bristol Bears they hope to forge again the strength that made them one of England’s leading clubs. So will Bath be meeting Grizzlies or Teddies?

The past few decades have not been kind to Bristol, especially in contrast with their neighbours upriver. Since winning the John Player Cup in 1983 they have seen the “upstarts” of Bath win 18 titles while their trophy cabinet has been bare except for occasional Championship triumphs – an excuse for regular bear baiting by Bath’s fans.

 

Those fans should not take victory for granted however. Newly promoted sides often hit the ground running as Bristol showed in 2005 when they snatched a stunning opening day win over Bath. Of course the Bears squad has been strengthened in preparation for life in the top tier and a sell-out Ashton Gate will be an inhospitable venue for the season opener. A sea change is blowing through this historic port city –in the form of DOR Pat Lam, who has shown himself smarter than the average coach. The Samoan was not so much a refreshing breeze but a hurricane force influence on his previous club, Connaught, leading them to the Pro 12 title in 2016. From underachievers to Champions in three seasons is one thing, but he radically revised their playing style so they bamboozled defences, even with limited possession or territory and in the final embarrassed Leinster with the width and ambition of their play.

 

Last season he had Bristol tearing teams apart in the Championship, although their set piece was variable. Has he the men at his disposal to correct the failings up front and continue the swashbuckling style? The front row, shored up by Thomas and Afoa should be a stern test for anybody and the loose trio of Latua, Smith and Lam are likely to contest breakdown possession tooth and claw. Behind them there is pedigree to deliver several vicious swipes of the paw in Madigan, Morahan and Siale Piutau. Charles Piutau unfortunately picked up an injury in the pre season friendly against Connaught and looks unlikely to start.

 

Against them Bath can select from a larger fit squad than for three years. The evidence of last Friday’s friendly against Scarlets is most encouraging. The first signs of Girvan Dempsey’s influence on attack were evident throughout while the return of Attwood and Thomas revitalised the pack who were brisk and purposeful all game, even after multiple second half changes. Roberts and Willison brought directness and direction to both attack and defence while new wing Cokanasiga looked sharp and hungry, taking his two tries in style.

 

With that heavy win under their belts it is tempting to think that Bath will render their opponents more Pooh than Grizzly, sending them from the field at full time with sore heads. This though is a derby, with more Pooh traps than even Eeyore can foresee. Bragging rights would be fun, but there is only one aim. The bare necessity for Bath is a win.

 

 

Possible Teams:
Bath:
Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Attwood, Stooke, Garvey (Capt.), Underhill, Faletau. Chudley, Priestland. Cokanasiga, Roberts, Willison, Rokodoguni. Homer.
Replacements: Vaughan, Walker, Perenise, Ellis, Mercer. Cook, Burns, Wilson.

 

Bristol Bears:
Thomas, Thacker, Afoa, Holmes, Latta, Luata, Smith, Lam. Stirzaker, Madigan. Edwards, S Piutau, Leiua, Morahan. Daniels.
Replacements: Malton, Lay, Armstrong, Joyce, Crane. Randall, Sheedy, Pisi.

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Comeonmylovers.co.uk (IP Logged)

Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
28/08/2018 13:19
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:09:05:07:42:21 by P G Tips.

 
Mike the Taxi
Mike the Taxi (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
28/08/2018 14:37

 
MESSAGES->author
CoochieCoo (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
28/08/2018 17:14
Ashton Gate, 7.45pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: JP Doyle (154th Premiership game).

Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Wayne Falla.

TMO: Rowan Kitt.

Citing Officer: Buster White.

http://zdgzqa.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p7Mwi7pLXeM89TY2KFdDQ-UUDGSv1FKNdhYdrW-koAuRN3tsqCPfE3onFxuO-3cZ0057Tom1uJai3vjkz3dvY_Q/1998%20Euro%20Champs.jpg http://zdgzqa.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pFul9UAV5zEXOzeRc1kmmlgDKXTYTIlTnGoQzYelH6KzdCeU-exN0IGo74QN2OGvlSoEiVjzAESvHx9BFlBsNFA/Bath%202008.jpg

 
MESSAGES->author
Widcombe Boy (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 08:05
Cheers PG Very witty and a good read as always

 
Bath Supporter Jack

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 12:31
Great last para........you can see the headline writers through the season having fun with Bath time for Bears etc!

 
MESSAGES->author
Rawce (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 16:43
Piutau out according to Somerset Live.

 
MESSAGES->author
Clarkey3k (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 21:08
LOL, Buster White is the citing officer!! Is this the same BW who was a formidable flanker for Wasps back in the day? Poacher now gatekeeper, who'd have thought it?

Welcome back PG, a good read as always. TVM..

Adopted players: 2018/19 Michael Van Vuuren; [18] T Faletau; [17] D Denton; [16] H. Agulla; [15] L Houston; [14] W Spencer; [13] F. Louw

Change a life with a loan [www.deki.org.uk]

 
Boldangrey
Boldangrey (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 21:08
Quote:
CoochieCoo
Ashton Gate, 7.45pm – Live on BT Sport
Referee: JP Doyle (154th Premiership game).

Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Wayne Falla.

TMO: Rowan Kitt.

Citing Officer: Buster White.

Citing officer - Buster White

Poacher turned gamekeeper?

 
BathMatt53
BathMatt53 (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 22:12
[www.sports-insight.co.uk]

“If I’d had a pound for every time someone has called me a poacher turned gamekeeper, I could probably have retired by now.”

That’s 2 more quid then.

[Adoptee 18/19: Man Mountain Dave Attwood, back in the BB&W and ready to smash]

 
Bishkek19
Bishkek19 (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
29/08/2018 22:16
Fabulous preview PG.

 
P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
30/08/2018 07:43
According to the Chronic Ellis has a minor rib injury. He is unlikely to feature. I expect Charteris or Grant to take his place on the bench.

PG

 
Bathovalballer
Bathovalballer (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
30/08/2018 07:49
Excellent preview as always PGT.

Yes that is the same Buster White of Wasps and England Saxons fame. I knew and played against and with his father who also was shall we say a very hard, uncompromising flanker for Swanage and Wareham and Dorset Knobs who was a very likeable, engaging character off the field as opposed to the bristling, snarling character on it. Dad worked in the clay pits in Dorset hewing clay with a pick which caused him to have a very serious back injury and meant he was in a plaster caste from his neck to groin for over a year. But he still returned to the rugby field, as rough and tough as ever.

Last saw them both at the Rec when we were playing Wasps and according to my wife, I returned home somewhat 'tired and emotional' after spending a few very happy hours reminiscing with him and his good lady wife. Happy days.

Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa Rokoduguni

The Rock that is Semesa and how he will be rocking this season.

 
Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
30/08/2018 08:24
Interesting story BoB. I bet you’d like some of our forwards, mentioning no names, to be hewn out of the same granite, if you get my drift!

 
Boldangrey
Boldangrey (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
30/08/2018 20:18
Mickey White is an absolute legend at Swanage and Wareham.

Used to see him in the Springbok at QPR when Buster was playing for Wasps.

 
Bathovalballer
Bathovalballer (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
30/08/2018 20:33
Do you think Mickey would qualify for the Old Prostates BnG?

Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa Rokoduguni

The Rock that is Semesa and how he will be rocking this season.

 
Boldangrey
Boldangrey (IP Logged)

Re: Into The Bear Pit: Bristol v Bath
30/08/2018 22:09
We'd have Mickey White tomorrow. Would fit in well.

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