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Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath


Faletau: big game please!

By P G Tips
September 11 2018

Bath have a chance to put their chequered form behind them against Harlequins on Saturday. If disappointment in two successive West Country derbies were not enough, Bath now visit the Stoop where they have won only rarely in recent years, their last victory there by a single point in May 2015. Quins with one win from 2 matches enjoy an unaccustomed 4th place in the table on bonus points from Wasps, while Bath, as yet winless, languish in unwelcome 10th.  So who will prevail on Saturday?

Harlequins’ results have been as chequered as their shirts since taking the Premiership title from Leicester in 2012. The years since have seen a slow slide through mid table mediocrity to 10th last season, form which saw them sack coaches John Kingston and Nick Easter. Kingston’s successor is Paul Gustard former England and Saracens defence coach. He was expected to bring the Londoners a harder edge, a “wolf pack” mentality. That may take time to emerge but what is evident is a new spring in the capering clown’s step. Quins got the season off to a flyer with a 51-23 thumping of Sale only to return to earth in a 21-18 reverse at Northampton, where they had the consolation of winning the try count. Bath, winless so far were frustrating and error strewn at Bristol, then having fought back impressively to snatch the lead from Gloucester only to let it slip by failing to secure the kick off or prevent the late Matt Banahan score that consigned them to a draw. There can be no doubt that Quins will be the happier of the two clubs going into the weekend, and the favourite.

 

Quins boast quality players among both forwards and backs although a few familiar names could be missing. Buchanan, Merrick, Clifford, Wallace, Swiel, Katrakilis and Brown are on the injured list, so too Sinckler and Horwill, although the latter two may be recovered in time for this weekend. One face familiar to Bath fans should start. Ben Tapuai left for Quins at the end of last season, swapping with Jamie Roberts who came the other way. Quins may feel they got the better of the deal, Tapuai playing a key role in a two playmaker midfield against Sale, while Roberts two Premiership games have been notable for knock -ons and defensive lapses. The most dangerous of Quins backs however may well be Marcus Smith, not only the lynchpin of attacking moves, but a deadeyed dick with the boot against Sale. If Bath offer up penalty chances they do so at their peril.

 

For Bath the injury curse of the past two years has struck again. Will Chudley damaged ankle ligaments before pulling on a jersey in anger and will miss at least this week’s match if not more. His misfortune should be a bonus for Max Green, whose link with Burns is worth a reprise after their play last weekend. Matt Garvey’s rib cartilage injury will sideline him for “two to four weeks” so opening the way for Elliott Stooke, impressive against Gloucester, to form what many see as Bath’s most potent lock pairing with Dave Attwood. Garvey’s absence poses a captaincy conundrum. Louw is unavailable and Ewels still returning from injury. Priestland has not shown the form or control to start ahead of Burns, so it may be the local boy, Garvey’s deputy when injury intervened against the Cherry and Whites, who gets the nod. I would also consider, for various reasons, three well-respected forwards: Attwood, Dunn or Mercer.

 

Injuries apart, Bath should make few changes. The squad deserve a chance to build on the better parts of the Gloucester match, to tighten both defence and discipline and to show they can switch on from minute one. Big games must be demanded of Faletau and Roberts, who did not live up to their potential last week and of Homer to lead backfield defence and counter attack. The likely forward match looks promising for Bath so fans will hope for more of the aggression, continuity and territorial dominance that marked most of last week’s second half.  This must be from the outset, with the halfbacks varying play to force their hosts onto the back foot and the centres making space for the dangerous Rokodoguni and Cokanasiga.

 

Harlequins will be confident, but if Bath are to turn things round there is no better time.  Saturday is critical: a further loss will bring their worst start since 2002 when they evaded relegation by a whisker. Underhill, Mercer and Rokodoguni impressed in front of Eddie Jones last week. Dunn, Attwood and particularly Stooke had their moments too. Let us hope all six continue to remind him of their power, skill and determination and that Girvan Dempsey’s’ magic touch bring a bagful of tries.

 

So – will it be a kaleidoscopic riot of scoring by colourful Quins, or will Bath batter them black and blue (and white)? It is anybody’s guess, but I foresee another entertaining, high scoring game.

 

Possible Teams:
Bath:
Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Attwood, Stooke, Mercer, Underhill, Faletau. Green, Burns. Cokanasiga, Roberts, Willison, Rokodoguni. Homer.

Replacements: Van Rooyen, Walker, Perenise, Grant, Ellis. Cook, Priestland., Brew.

 

Harlequins:

Marler, Elia, Collier, Symons, Glynn, White, Robshaw (capt), Chisholm.

Care, Smith. Earle, Tapuai, Marchant, Walker. Morris..

Replacements: Auterac, Swainston,Sinckler, Horwill, Luamanu, Mulchrone, Lang, Lasike.

 

 

 

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Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
11/09/2018 18:47
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:09:20:08:52:40 by CoochieCoo.

 
BathMatt53
BathMatt53 (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
11/09/2018 20:00
Good review as ever PG. Impossible to call IMO, entirely dependent on which quins and which bath turn up...

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

 
Boldangrey
Boldangrey (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
11/09/2018 21:11
Ok, PG, Here's the big question.

Who will be captain?

My money's on Attwood.

 
MESSAGES->author
CoochieCoo (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 00:17
Stooke did a lot of talking to the players when Matt went off v Glaws

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

 
Boldangrey
Boldangrey (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 10:38
Does anyone know who captained the side when Garvie went off against Glos?

 
BathMatt53
BathMatt53 (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 10:40
according to the article above it was Burns?

...so it may be the local boy, Garvey’s deputy when injury intervened against the Cherry and Whites, who gets the nod.

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

 
MESSAGES->author

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 11:17
And the referee is ..... a firm Bath favourite!


Referee: Matthew Carley

Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Anthony Woodthorpe
TMO: David Rose
Citing Officer: Buster White

 
Bathovalballer
Bathovalballer (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 11:30
Firstly PGT excellent summation as always. Very interesting and informative in an even handed style. Very well done.

I think it will be tight, even with Carley who has improved IMO although he can still be very unempathetic, and because of our fragility under pressure, we will lose as usual at Quins.Very possible we will get a LBP.

Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa Rokoduguni

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

 
Susanne
Susanne (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 13:20
According to what I heard over ref link on field captain for the ref was Freddie and then Rhys with Attwood in charge of the pack

Thanks PG - great read as usual. Wish I were apprthis with a bit more confidence!

And another one with Maybank running the line at - he seems to have a new lease of life.

 
MESSAGES->author
OutsideBath (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
12/09/2018 15:41
Quote:
abendanon-anon-anon
And the referee is ..... a firm Bath favourite!

Referee: Matthew Carley

Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Anthony Woodthorpe
TMO: David Rose
Citing Officer: Buster White

If things aren't bad enough we have the entertainment killer in charge!

The 1st two games indicate Bath will get nothing from this game and with Carley in charge it will be multiple penalties and yellow cards against Bath.

Tom Dunn - Adopted player 2018/19

 
Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer (IP Logged)

Re: Chequered Chance: Harlequins v Bath
14/09/2018 11:46
Excellent analysis PG. The infuriating thing is I do believe we are capable of dominating this Quins side for most of the game but it’s just those periods when we switch off & often concede a couple of quick tries that kill us. We don’t just need to turn things around for this game but for the games to come to get on track for a top 6 finish. Wins should breed confidence, not going 0-21 down in the first half like last week. Have they got over that is the big question?

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