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NEWS:TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview


By HR SaintsFan
September 21 2018

Big thanks for this preview of the Bath V Saints match, I will include the team when it's up

Saints start a run of three games away from Franklin’s Gardens, and proof that there are no easy games doesn’t come any stronger than Saints opponents on Saturday afternoon – Bath Rugby. This will be followed by a visit to newly promoted Bristol Bears and then the re-arranged ‘home’ game against Tigers at Twickenham.

After the first three rounds of the season, Saints find themselves exactly where they left off at the end of last season – in 9th place. However, there is quite a lot to be optimistic about, as we will chat about later on.

So, what have Bath Rugby been up to so far.

Well, after another disappointing 2017-18 season, Bath brought in a number of quality players but there were also some surprises going in the other direction, most notably Matt Banahan to their closest rivals Gloucester. One of their new signings - Joe Cockanasiga - showed wonderful finishing skill for a try away against Harlequins in Round 3.  

Surprisingly, Bath were not so solid at home last season as they usually are, losing 5 out of the 11 home games, but they did win 6 on the road. Their intention, like Saints, is to make the Rec a fortress again. This hasn’t gone to plan thus far with only one game played and that saw a draw against Gloucester (with the aforementioned Banahan scoring to secure the draw for Gloucester). Bath sit currently in 5th place courtesy of three bonus points (two try and one losing bonus points) and the draw in Round 2. They have scored ten tries thus far and conceded nine. The win away to Harlequins would have given them much heart, especially as they really should have won away to Bristol Bears in the first game of the season.

They come into the Saints game with some injury concerns however, most notably Jamie Roberts at centre (out for four to six weeks with a fractured cheekbone) along with Kahn Fotuali’I, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson, Ross Batty and Matt Garvey to name but a few. But they still present a formidable threat and will be very keen to post their first home win of the 2018/19 season.

Let’s turn our thoughts to Saints.

Four points from three games is not much of a return considering the effort the players are putting in, but, as Chris Boyd stated to the press after the Saracens game, you don’t get premiership points for effort. And yet, there is a different game plan to last season, and indeed to a number of seasons before that. The best example I can come up with was Piers Francis’s try against the notoriously mean defence of Saracens which left two defenders crashing into each other as he picked a wonderful running line. Saint’s are also seeking to go wide far more often and, with our new winger fresh from putting Billy Vunipola on his backside, I can see no reason not to. But I am sure that Sam Vesty and Chris Boyd are far too wise to make this the only weapon in the Saint’s armoury.

One of the most encouraging signs is that the players are fully buying into this new game plan. But, and there must be a reasonably sized ‘but’ here, this takes time and recent interviews with some of the players have made just that point. There is also the issue of whether some of the players that Chris Boyd and the new team of coaches have inherited are up to the standards that he requires to play in that way. Only time will tell, but given that Saint’s handling last season was, at times, woeful, he has a lot of work on his hands.

The three results so far have been encouraging, albeit too pointless, if you get my drift. We are one of only three teams with no bonus points at all (the others being Bristol and Sale) and, although I am utterly biased, I certainly think we did enough to get something out of the away game at Gloucester, and last Saturday’s game against the champions. Indeed, I found Chris Boyd’s post-match comments about Saracen’s style of play very interesting and was rather surprised by some of the thoughts on this forum about that. Surely no-one expected the new coaching team to want to emulate Saracens other than in the amount of silverware? Although someone rightly pointed out about their try scoring last year, we ought not to forget that Saints provided them with 18 of their 89 tries for the whole season (20%!!) across the home and away Premiership games.

So, although I, like many, were disappointed with the final result as Saints should never have given Strettle the room he had to run in his two tries, we should not forget that this is a massive improvement on last year. Saints has currently played two of the teams sitting second and third in the league and acquitted themselves well.

I need to point out that the most recent victory at the Rec was way back in December 2015 with a try by Luther Burrell and a conversion and two penalties by JJ Hanrahan. Crickey – that seems like a lifetime ago. The following season saw a narrow win for Bath 32 – 30, with Saints leading 30-29 with four minutes left only for Rhys Priestland score a penalty with the last kick of the game (after Saints had gifted Bath the penalty). Last season was a far more straightforward affair with Bath running out 32-9 winners, with all of Saints points coming from the boot of Piers Francis.

So, what can we expect on Saturday afternoon?

Well, I think we will see a continuation of the building towards the Boyd game-plan, but, set against this there is no doubt that Saints want, and need, points. Chris Boyd mentioned this in his recent article in the Chronicle. He also said that “we are trying to build as fast as we can”. In the Rugby Paper Chris recently made a very good case for eliminating relegation from the Premiership and I am sure that he would love to have more time to develop the way in which he wants Saints to play the game without the need to churn out points. However, he does not have that luxury and so I would hope that Saints can achieve a ‘home’ win against Tigers at Twickenham as we have to maintain our bragging rights against Tigers this season. We also need one win from the two away games, either this Saturday or the following one, ideally with some bonus points tucked in there somewhere.

Predictions? Well I have never been very good at this. Much as I would like to think we can win at the Rec, given where we are on the redevelopment timeline, this maybe a stretch too far. But we must come away with some points, be they losing bonus and/or try bonus. I also hope to see more of the new plan on show, and for Big T to get his hands on the ball far more often.

For those travelling, have a good journey and I hope you enjoy the game.

COYS

 

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Taqele Naiyaravoro
13 Andrew Symons
12 Piers Francis
11 Tom Collins
10 Dan Biggar
9 Cobus Reinach

1 Alex Waller (co-captain)
2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain)
3 Ben Franks
4 David Ribbans
5 Courtney Lawes
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Lewis Ludlam
8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Francois Van Wyk
18 Ehren Painter
19 Api Ratuniyarawa
20 Mitch Eadie
21 Alex Mitchell
22 Andrew Kellaway
23 Harry Mallinder

Not available for selection:
Dom Barrow (hamstring), Alex Coles (knee), James Craig (concussion), Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), James Haskell (ankle), and Nafi Tuitavake (neck).

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Marching On
NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Marching On (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 06:18
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:09:21:10:51:07 by Saint Ted.

 
ancient mariner
Re: NEWS: Bath v Saints Match Preview
ancient mariner (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 08:03
From the weather forecast it looks as if it will be raining on the Rec all morning, and through the match.

Last time I was there, many years ago for a Pilkington Cup game (Bath 9 Saints 6 and best "real" rugy game of the season according to the fat boy), it was a mud fest!! I hope they have improved the drainage since then, or all the slick handling the boys have been practicing will be much more difficult. Let's hope that the scrumm can hold its own, too.

 
Eif Jones
Re: NEWS: Bath v Saints Match Preview
Eif Jones (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 08:36
Not sure I agree about the so-called new game plan. Last Saturday was all about the over familiar driving maul with very little attacking expertise outside the pack. Familiar failings in defence as well, unable to handle a classy Saracens back line. An 'A' for effort, especially in the pack, but......

 
John Rickerd
Team for bath up.
John Rickerd (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 10:48
15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Taqele Naiyaravoro
13 Andrew Symons
12 Piers Francis
11 Tom Collins
10 Dan Biggar
9 Cobus Reinach

1 Alex Waller (co-captain)
2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain)
3 Ben Franks
4 David Ribbans
5 Courtney Lawes
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Lewis Ludlam
8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Francois Van Wyk
18 Ehren Painter
19 Api Ratuniyarawa
20 Mitch Eadie
21 Alex Mitchell
22 Andrew Kellaway
23 Harry Mallinder

 
tedge
Re: Team for bath up.
tedge (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 10:50
Burrell and Haskell dropped or injured ?

 
andysaint
Re: Team for bath up.
andysaint (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 10:51
Bath:

15. Darren Atkins

14. Semesa Rokoduguni

13. Aled Brew

12. Jackson Willison

11. Joe Cokanasiga

10. Freddie Burns

9. Max Green

1. Nathan Catt

2. Tom Dunn

3. Henry Thomas

4. Dave Attwood

5. Luke Charteris (c)

6. Tom Ellis

7. Sam Underhill

8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements

16. Jack Walker

17. Jacques van Rooyen

18. Anthony Perenise

19. Elliott Stooke

20. Zach Mercer

21. Chris Cook

22. Rhys Priestland

23. Max Wright

 
andysaint
Re: Team for bath up.
andysaint (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 10:51
Not available for selection:
Dom Barrow (hamstring), Alex Coles (knee), James Craig (concussion), Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich BrŁssow (concussion), James Haskell (ankle), and Nafi Tuitavake (neck).

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Team for bath up.
Chris Hoddle (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 10:52
Interesting no James Haskell, with it being likely wet I would have thought he may have added something. Thought that Teimana may have not recovered from his injury from last week.
Other than that no real suprises?

http://chrishoddle.smugmug.com/photos/i-TsCHdzK/0/M/i-TsCHdzK-M.gif

 
alwayshopeful
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
alwayshopeful (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 11:06
Interesting team development.. Not sure about Franks back into no3.. it really was painful in the first game.. but great to see Symons get a start and to see Kellaway on the bench..


At the beginning of the season I said I thought our "best" back line would be Reinach, Biggar, Kellaway, Francis, Symons, Big T and Ace.. Could be we get to see it!

Also, good to see Ludham get another run out..

Come on you Saints !!!

 
tedge
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
tedge (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 11:10
Brusssow will be missed

 
Saint Stokey
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Saint Stokey (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 11:27
Our pack is beginning to look a little light. If we can get pairity and get the ball out quickly and cleanly, we should be ok.

Hopefully we can get Big T into the game more as he could be decisive. Would love to see him rampaging towards Burns or Priestland with Gibson or Tei in support

 
WesternWanderer
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
WesternWanderer (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 11:54
I think it is deliberate strategy to have a lightweight but more mobile pack that will contribute more in the loose, but this is not without risk of being absolutely mullered in every scrum - it also depends who the ref is...

 
LeicesterSaint
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
LeicesterSaint (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 11:57
I think Ludlam suits a quicker game so unfortunate timing perhaps if the weather is dire, Haskell would likely suit a slower more confrontational game but we'll see.

Interested to see some more new guys get a first run out (1st team-wise).

 
St Marcus
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
St Marcus (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 12:23
Cheers for the preview - a good read. Good to see Symons given a chance at 13. I too am a little concerned about the lack of weight in the back 5 - up against Charteris, Attwood and Faletau. It's set to be pretty wet so I hope we don't get drawn into an arm wrestle.

 
Harpole Saint
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Harpole Saint (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 12:49
Collins for a Freddie Burns intercept

 
fair_weather_fan
Re: NEWS: Bath v Saints Match Preview
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 12:51
Quote:
ancient mariner
From the weather forecast it looks as if it will be raining on the Rec all morning, and through the match.
Last time I was there, many years ago for a Pilkington Cup game (Bath 9 Saints 6 and best "real" rugy game of the season according to the fat boy), it was a mud fest!! I hope they have improved the drainage since then, or all the slick handling the boys have been practicing will be much more difficult. Let's hope that the scrumm can hold its own, too.

The drainage is the same or worse. We were there last year for the cup game. It started to rain half an hour before KO and at KO there was standing water everywhere. Acceptable 20 years ago but an absolute disgrace now.

 
Saint Stokey
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Saint Stokey (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 13:01
I seem to remember visible puddles/ standing water down 1 touchline.

Perhaps each linesman could be armed with one of those cordless wet & dry Dyson gizmos.*

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Wilson Pickett (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 13:08
You would need to have pretty impaired vision to not see a change in rugby style


Conditions favour Bath, letís hope Dan gets us in the right areas of the pitch

 
Saint Stokey
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Saint Stokey (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 13:22
if it does become a forwards game, at least we can call upon Big T for added bulk

 
SaintSurrey
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
SaintSurrey (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 16:03
Painter being looked after. I think weíll see him starting home games and on the bench away

Kellaway and Symons means the coaches are rewarding Wandies form and understanding the previous limitations

Very pleased with how this is all going so far.

Good luck boys

 
WesternWanderer
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
WesternWanderer (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 17:10
Think Ludlam was off the pace against Gloucester - big step up I know but need much more out of him.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
higgy365 (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 17:52
Quote:
tedge
Brusssow will be missed

Absolutely. Hope he comes through the protocols ok.

 
Deesaint
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Deesaint (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 18:00
I wish I was a lot more confident about this game
I am not sure the front row will do the business
Locks cancel each other out
Back row - we look very light without Haskell and Brussow

As it is expected to be between drenched and soaked itís more likely to be a forwards game

However on my predictions probably win by 5 !!

 
MarchingIn
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
MarchingIn (IP Logged)
21/09/2018 20:05
I wouldn't have minded seeing Mitchell / Malinder getting a start & I hope to see both on the field fairly early. I'm a bit concerned this is the 4th consecutive week Lawes and Harrison will have played 80 if not subbed, and would like to see both get an early bath if the game is going really well or really badly, and if they do play 80 because we are chasing a win, I think they need to rest or start off the bench next week or what hope have we got of continuing to see their best 80 in a 6th consecutive game week VS Tigers?

Quote:
WesternWanderer
Think Ludlam was off the pace against Gloucester - big step up I know but need much more out of him.

100% agree, but he was a little out of position at 6 so gets some benefit of the doubt. He didn't impress me at 7 against Glasgow - specifically his work rate & I took some stick here for saying so, but then he failed to capitalise at all on getting a start vs Gloucester & subbed early-ish having only made 4 tackles, which I felt rather vindicated my earlier remarks.

I think there are stronger starting line ups available without him on the strength of his last 2 showings. However, he's either another Nutley or another Harrison, and Boyd needs to work out which.

Big game for him, massive one in fact. I'll be watching his tackle count and speed to / involvement in the breakdown with interest - not so much hoping to see him winning loads of high risk turnovers, but I think he needs to do more to protect attacking ball in particular rather than standing off as a 1st receiver, and generally be up in their faces and a constant threat to their half back channel.

 
Harpole Saint
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Harpole Saint (IP Logged)
22/09/2018 05:25
@marchingin I thought Harrison got subbed around the 65 minute mark last week resulting in gibbo at 8. Talking about 8s, wood used to play there no? Another option?

 
Lamont4Saints
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
Lamont4Saints (IP Logged)
22/09/2018 06:27
Lewis has had some cracking games and is a favourite of mine but as others am have said, he looked really off pace against Gloucester.

Only 4 tackles sounds like Ts first cap, didnít really know what to do and a little behind the game (if thatís makes sense), just faster than they are used to.

 
miller8
Re: NEWS: TEAMS UP & Bath v Saints Match Preview
miller8 (IP Logged)
22/09/2018 09:03
Some clubs have invested in artificial surfaces to give them competitive advantage, ours is a soggy heavy pitch when the prevailing winds blow across the West Country. Not sure thatís a disgrace!?! Bath has invested heavily in drainage in recent years but itís efficiency really depends on the river. It is currently relatively low so drainage should be ok today but good to get your excuses in early smiling smiley) Have a safe journey, always a pleasure to welcome no-hopers fans to the pretty city.. Have a great day..

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