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THE ORDER OF THE BATH


By Darraghgirl
April 12 2018

  Sunday sees the penultimate home game of the season when Saracens entertain Bath back at Allianz Park. Amidst all the unrest around season tickets, let us try and focus on the game! First of all we have to win. Apparently we need 10 points from our last 3 games to guarantee a home semi-final but it would be nice to put that to bed before our final game against Gloucester. Secondly the players have the luxury of a week off after this game so we can afford to put out a strong team. Thirdly I hear that Vincent Koch and Mike Rhodes could well be fit for the game (although Billy is still at least a week away)  

The romp against Northampton was a refreshing change and there must be some temptation at least among the coaches not to change the team but I think we will see a few tweaks. Well as our Liam performed at full back, I expect Alex will return with Liam moving back to the wing (possibly in place of Wyles who seemed to get a knock on the ankle). Brad might also get the week off after yet another head injury at The Gardens. We need him fit and raring to go for the end of the season and Super-Dunc appears ready for a start now. Hopefully Loz will get another start at 13 after his dazzling performance last weekend. Bath’s midfield are a somewhat tougher challenge though. I think the half backs may be unchanged – Spencer certainly ups the tempo and is a real scoring threat as well (I believe he is our joint top try scorer) and Faz looked back to fitness on Saturday.

And so to the forwards: surely Mako and Maro are due a week off? But who knows. I think Jamie George will start this week with Figallo at 3 (and hopefully Koch on the bench). We may see Kruis and Isiekwe at lock and a back row of Wray, Burger and Cowan with Rhodes waiting in the wings.

Bath started the season with a real mix of results: wins against Leicester and then Sarries in September followed by defeats to Saints and Newcastle. That mixed form has continued throughout the season including last week’s “home” defeat to Tigers which followed a narrow loss to Exeter Chiefs. In fact Bath have only won 1 of their last 5 league games – a 1 point win over Sale Sharks. . Bath also lost to a young Exeter side in the final of the Anglo-Welsh Cup. So as we enter Round 20, Bath are in 8th place with 9 wins (5 home, 4 away) and 46 points. Tries have been in rather short supply with Bath having scored just 48 (against Sarries 67) while Bath’s defence has leaked 57 tries (Sarries’ just 36). Todd Blackadder joined Bath at the start of last season as Director of Rugby on the departure of Mike Ford. In his first season Bath finished a creditable 5th and qualified for the Champions Cup. They put up a decent fight, winning 4 of their 6 games, but were just pipped for qualification by Toulon’s late losing bonus point. Bath will not have given up hope of European qualification again this season and will want to put a stop to their poor form 

Bath have struggled with injuries of late and are without long-term injured England stars Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni and Sam Underhill and Wales’ Luke Charteris. In addition Dave Attwood is successfully plying his trade on loan in Toulon. They are likely to start with a back 3 of fit again Tom Homer, Matt “Bananaman” Banahan (who seems to have rediscovered his form since announcing he was leaving) and Welshman Aled Brew. In the centres, Jonathan Joseph will probably line up alongside Ben Tapuai. Bath are spoiled for choice at halfback with both Freddie Burns and Rhys Priestland available alongside well-travelled Kahn Fotuali’I at 9. By all accounts, Bath’s scrum took a bit of a pounding against Leicester. Henry Thomas and Anthony Perenise have both been missing with injury. So instead in the front row, Bath have the promising Ben Obano at loose head, Tom Dunn at hooker and Shaun Knight at tighthead. Former Sarrie, Nick Auterac seems to be out of favour since deciding to join Quins next season. The Academy Captain, Charlie Ewels and Elliott Stooke make up the locks but Bath have a formidable back row featuring Matt Garvey (if he makes it, if not Tom Ellis), Francois Louw and Mako and Billy’s cousin Toby Faletau.

“Comeonmylovers”, the Bath unofish site, aren’t very optimistic but are hoping to put their faith in attack. “Go for broke and spring a few surprises”. It would indeed be a big surprise if there is anything other than a Saracens’ win, probably with a bonus point,

Karl Dickson is in charge with Christophe Ridley keeping a friendly eye on him from the touchline. Recently retired as he is, Dickson has thus far made a success of his officiating career. Let’s hope for a good entertaining game and not much from the referee – always a good sign when the game flows and you barely notice him

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THE ORDER OF THE BATH
TheSaracens.com (IP Logged)
12/04/2018 16:22
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Re: THE ORDER OF THE BATH
OldMarovian (IP Logged)
12/04/2018 16:44
Excellent summary. Same team as last week for me excluding any injuries. Rhodes and Koch to the bench. Looking forward to this one and hoping the team can break my reporting jinx!

 
Re: THE ORDER OF THE BATH
Darraghgirl (IP Logged)
15/04/2018 18:32
Looks like the jinx is well and truly broken

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