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SILVER BULLET? ONE FANTASY SIGNING


Priestland: sole option?

By P G Tips
June 23 2020

In the absence of real rugby to discuss, many fans’ focus has turned to recruitment. Bath’s early June squad update brought three very welcome signings, but also news of Francois Louw’s retirement and 15 other departures – so raising a number of questions. Stuart Hooper has said “Our recruitment cycle has not completely finished yet” so I thought it would be fun to consider one “silver bullet” signing to complete the squad and improve Bath’s chances of a playoff place for next season.

Although 16 departures would seem to free a lot of cap, any signing would need to be justified economically in light of the financial damage done by the Coronavirus pandemic- which is why I am limiting my choice to one.  I can see four areas to consider: Head Coach, Fly Half, Goal kicker and an “Awareness” Coach. Let’s look at each in turn.

 

HEAD COACH
At the beginning of the season Stuart told us he was “open to additions to the coaching team”, emphasising though that any appointment must be “the right fit.” Reports in various rugby papers and The Times in January stated that Joe Schmidt was to join Bath as Head Coach. A flurry of excitement among Rec supporters was quickly dampened when Hooper himself dismissed the move as a rumour.  Undoubtedly Schmidt was a winner with Leinster and Ireland, but would he have been the “right fit”? A dominant character, he favoured a highly systematic playing style with little room for the sort of individual flair which often characterised the best of Bath’s play in the past. There is also the question of how much control a man of his pedigree would want and whether he could fit comfortably in Bath’s current coaching setup. An extra twist is a comment recently attributed to Rhys Webb, that he was “impressed by Bath’s DOR Stuart Hooper and Head Coach Neal Hatley.” For now I suspect, a Head Coach appointment is on hold, unless it is a member of the current coaching group.

FLY HALF

 

Freddie Burns has departed, target tens are rumoured to have turned Bath down and none of the Academy promotions is an out and out Fly Half. That leaves the club with only Rhys Priestland, Senior Academy prospect Orlando Bailey, or cover from one of the other backline players. Stuart has said that Bath are looking at some options of “ball playing midfield backs” – players who could play 10, but not solely 10. Such phrasing suggests Rhys Priestland is the anticipated first choice, but what if he is injured? Who covers in other competitions or when he needs a rest? This seems to be the area of most pressing need. While both Josh Matavesi and Cameron Redpath can play 10,they have been recruited for their distributive and line breaking potential at 12. There seem to be few pedigree 10s available from the Northern Hemisphere, so it is likely that potential candidates are from the south. A vital area to strengthen – and I hope the club have an experienced and exciting prospect in mind.

 

GOAL KICKER

 The slim Fly Half resources highlight another area where Bath are light. The departure of Freddie Burns and Tom Homer leaves Rhys Priestland on his own as a “front line” goal kicker. He cannot play every match, so who is his backup? Perhaps one of the academy lads can step up when needed? Josh Matavesi has a handy boot, but no known pedigree as a goalkicker. Of the known squad for the new season the best bet seems to be Ben Spencer, who once struck a winning penalty in a LV Cup Final. Another option could be, given that players have had three months to work on individual skills, that one or more of the squad have been tasked with a summer crash course. A key capability gap, but maybe not the highest recruitment priority-if answers can be found from within.

 

AWARENESS COACH

A late collapse at Sixways in 2019 and several close defeats this season suggest a mental problem when Bath have just taken the lead or are defending a narrow one. Ulster and Quins in the Heineken Cup, plus Wasps and Bristol (at the Rec) in the Premiership have benefitted either from lapses in defensive concentration by Bath or lack of awareness in attack when Bath were building pressure. Notably in the Bristol game a period of sustained pressure was wasted when persistence with the pick and drive, ignoring clear wide overlaps, ended in possession lost and Bristol clearing their lines. Bath already have in Katie Warriner a Sports Psychologist with an impressive record.  A recruit in that area seems unlikely, but hopefully her remit can include awareness of opportunities and giving players the belief to seize them.

 

Any one of those could make the difference between mid table and a play off place, between squeezing out narrow wins and building a squad capable of taking on the best. Stuart Hooper is patiently building a squad for the future. He also seems content with his coaching and support team for the present. To me therefore the big need is an additional 10: preferably one with experience, ability to unlock a defence and a high goal kicking percentage. Let’s hope Stuart has a player, and an announcement, up his sleeve.

 

 

 

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SILVER BULLET? ONE FANTASY SIGNING
Discussion started by Comeonmylovers.co.uk (IP Logged), 23/06/2020 07:41
Comeonmylovers.co.uk
Comeonmylovers.co.uk
23/06/2020 07:41
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MESSAGES->author
joethefanatic
23/06/2020 08:01
We need a highly experienced, bl00dy minded 10 who will drive the rest of the team and who will not accept second best. He doesn't need to be the best 10 in the world, but he does need to be an absolute on-field b@st@rd. We're too feckimg nice amd we have been for 20 years. In order of preference, Dan Biggar, Owen Farrell, Jonny Sexton.

... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:06:23:08:02:19 by joethefanatic.

P G Tips
P G Tips
23/06/2020 08:41
Agree Joe - and yours is an exciting fantasy trio- but can any of them be enticed away from their current club, even for a gold pig?

PG

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
23/06/2020 09:05
Looking at the squad I'm inclined to think they are all talented obviously but well spoken, do we even have a candidate for nastiness or attitude. Not sure if Ben Spencer fits the bill but thats the area of the pitch it works best. (Faf de Klerc).

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Bathovalballer
Bathovalballer
23/06/2020 10:11
I believe Spencer has proved to be a very effective tee kicker, evidenced by Saracens often turning to him as and when Farrell is subbed or carrying a knock.

Regrettably I don't realistically believe we can attract the quality of 10 Joe talks about, or give them enough game time. Thetefore my choice of a beligerent driving fly half top goal kicker would be either Steenson or Gopporth. Both appear very happy in their final year's contracts but wonder if they would fancy a final hurrah to exceptional domestic carreers? My choice would be Steenson, mainly because of his dead eyeed kicking ability. However prizing him away from Exeter where his wife is a doctor and he has an interest in a pub business would be very difficult indeed.

Hopefully, this would give time for one of the youngsters like Bailey to come through, or we find another top rated youngster. Again, my choice of English qualified players would be Malins if we could persuade him to come as RP's long term replacement.

Pure speculation and no little fantasy hope.

Adopted player 2019/20 Jonathan 'JJ' Joseph.

The Jink Joseph.

Adopted player 2018/19 Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa 'The Rock' Rokoduguni

Dave248
Dave248
23/06/2020 10:15
Good post. Frustrates me that the one key position we need is the most important one on the pitch. Also frustrates me that yet again it’s sort of a scramble to find one. If RP is our starting ten next season then bye bye any hope of improving

opti
Optimist
23/06/2020 11:22
"my choice of a beligerent driving fly half top goal kicker would be either Steenson or Gopporth"

.... so basically Priestland, but 3 years older and with a combined big fat zero international caps compared to Rhys' 50?

You might want to up your fantasy-game, lad.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
23/06/2020 12:38
There was an interview on BT's rugby world where Stuart Hooper was talking about the season and the disruption. SH talked about the 'impatient international' who were keen for success, naming Priestland, Faletau, JJ, Watson and Underhill as co thinkers on that theme.

He also highlighted the academy influence. no mention of a 10, but he seemed up for some success.

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
23/06/2020 12:58
I wonder, with your permission PG, whether I couldn't go even more fantasy and use a Time Machine or a Cloning Machine and get a 25 year old, with proper knees who was not going to play for South Africa..............BUTCH JAMES........

Even in the fantasy world NOT FARRELL please

I also like Joel Hodgson...........28, not going to be picked for England, but did play for the 7's, fits neatly in age between RP and OB3 (is it 3?)............given he is at Newcastle and they have all been furloughed and had pay cuts he would n't break the bank but he does "run about a lot" and does "break the line" which will be something of a differentiator from RP.............(Sm164)

P G Tips
P G Tips
23/06/2020 13:05
BSJ

A Butch James figure (in his prime) is exactly what we need.
Good game control, pretty reasonable goal kicking stats, happy to do the unexpected - real vision and feistily aggressive.

Big flaw? today he would be carded most matches for his tackling.

That said, if there is a younger version of him available I would say yes.

PG

opti
Optimist
23/06/2020 14:33
Butch James. What a revelation (to me, anyway). I had him down as a big-boot-bok-bosh merchant. Absolutely phenomenal sleight-of-hand and confidence. Would Hooper back a rip-up-the-script player like that?

Funnily enough, I think Rhys Priestland could play like that. From what i've been told he has fantastic skill levels - but he just doesn't exude Butch's 'just give me the ball and i'll sort it out' confidence.

gaz59
gaz59
23/06/2020 14:34
Quote:
Optimist
"my choice of a beligerent driving fly half top goal kicker would be either Steenson or Gopporth"
.... so basically Priestland, but 3 years older and with a combined big fat zero international caps compared to Rhys' 50?

You might want to up your fantasy-game, lad.

I see a significant difference in the playing styles of Priestland v Steenson/Gopperth and it is in the term 'belligerent driving'

For me Priestland appears almost passive in his attack game. You certainly wouldn't use the word 'drive' to describe his natural style with the other two mentioned there is definitely an edge to their game that Rhys just doesn't seem to bring

I'm not saying I would necessarily want either of those two recruited into the BBW but I do want to see a bit more oomph and urgency in our attack at times

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
23/06/2020 14:39
YES +1 million

OldMarovian
OldMarovian
23/06/2020 16:46
Interesting question and from the outside perspective I'd say a 100% Head Coach.

I'll admit to not following Bath especially closely but I don't feel that there is an especially obvious Bath "DNA" or whatever you call a defined playing-style. For me that's an issue and it's reflected in the somewhat muddled team balance I see when Bath play sometimes (some of the most exciting backs in the league and Preistland?? to release their potential ...) I think teams who have been successful tend to have that style that is clear and everyone is on the same page.

I think you get that direction from the top down and it starts with the Head Coach.
I do think there is sadly a bit of a question about how attractive a proposition Bath is for the best candidates out there. It should be a first-class one but the impression of an over-involved owner and an under-experienced DoR is perhaps not the most enticing combination?
With Craigs money the guys I'd be after are Sanderson or Hepher but I doubt that either would move as they have their futures clearly mapped at their current clubs. I think Lancaster could be an excellent choice but why would he want to leave Leinster? Give the Crusaders another go with the real deal in Scott Robertson?
It soon becomes clear when you list candidates that there really aren't a wealth of great coaches out there just waiting to step in but I do think you can make more impact there than with any single player.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
23/06/2020 17:31
OM, might not bean obvious Bath DNA now but it was always stylish attacking play, thats what us fans yearn to see return. Thats why Hooper is DOR as only Mike Ford got close to delivering the required style of play. Problem was his ego and libido got in the way!

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

OldMarovian
OldMarovian
23/06/2020 17:42
That's certainly how I'd have classed it in the past shipwrecked but from Blackadder on that seems to have got a bit lost. Is that what Bath supporters think Hooper will deliver?

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
23/06/2020 18:59
Quote:
OldMarovian
That's certainly how I'd have classed it in the past shipwrecked but from Blackadder on that seems to have got a bit lost. Is that what Bath supporters think Hooper will deliver?

Great question, its a hope, I can see the logic in building a dominant pack as an attacking base. The Hooper appointment is to build a 'club centric' approach with the academy providing half the team.
Exeter type thinking, Hooper will need help as lets face it forwards don't make good backs coaches or mentors. Problem is had we had any sort of season we could have worked out where the coaching gaps are.
Dempsey needs to show he can can convert quick ball from the forward into sparkling rugby, we haven't seen any thing like that but in my view Ben Spencer or a class 9 is essential in that quest.

I'd rather not see us kick for territory then convert from 15 m out, there are some on here who would I don't think Dempsey can do it without help. What I'd like to think is that we have coaching talent to fill that gap. Am I confident its there? Not really but cometh the hour cometh the man is the saying, question is which man?

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Bepetas
Bepetas
23/06/2020 19:34
Quote:
OldMarovian
Give the Crusaders another go with the real deal in Scott Robertson?

Scott Robertson would be a really interesting addition to the Bath coaching set up, he's a bit eccentric, full of energy and positivity, he's been very successful and has a great record bringing through younger players. A move abroad would probably be good for him too, a successful stint in the northern hemisphere may help him land the All Blacks job in the future!

charlieboa
charlieboa
23/06/2020 20:02
For me an exciting, innovative head coach with a clear view on how he wants to play the game would be ideal.

On the playing side a 10/12 who can ensure we develop bailey, redpath, ojo at the right pace and who is the right sort of character to really drive their development and be a role model they learn from.

opti
Optimist
24/06/2020 10:08
Players like Farrell, Ford, Sexton are 'coaches on the pitch'. That's what we need most. Two birds with one stone.

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
24/06/2020 11:30
Perhaps Farrell The Coach could tell Farrell The Player to stop conceding ludicrous penalties when playing for England leading to England losing World Cup games...........not that I have a long memory or anything!

Bepetas
Bepetas
27/06/2020 18:16
Rabah slimani, he would make the pack a bit more scary especially in the scrum.

MESSAGES->author
Duke of Earl
29/06/2020 13:16
Well on the coaching side, the Hurricanes have just parted ways with Carlos Spencer.

opti
Optimist
29/06/2020 13:30
Carlos Spencer and Stuart Hooper - I'm no chemist, but i somehow don't see that happening or working....

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
29/06/2020 15:55
Equally on that point............Carlos Spencer and RP............(Sm137) not (Sm128)

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
29/06/2020 16:41
Quote:
Bath Supporter Jack
Equally on that point............Carlos Spencer and RP............(Sm137) not (Sm128)

I had no idea Rhys Priestland was into Kendo BSJ, thanks for the update!

I would never work on commentary anyway, Spencer burst out of the pack and gives it to Spencer on the break now on to Spencer...... it'll never happen. winking smiley

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

BathMatt53
BathMatt53
29/06/2020 18:39
Has to be Beauden Barrett doesn't it?

[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

MESSAGES->author
joethefanatic
29/06/2020 19:18
Quote:
BathMatt53
Has to be Beauden Barrett doesn't it?

A deeply gifted individual who operates on such a rarified level he often seems to be playing a different game to everyone else. I'm not sure he's what our collection of players needs. They need someone on the field to turn them into a team. Of the NZ 10s, I'd go for Dan Carter!

... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
29/06/2020 19:38
If we are going for impossible possibilities at 10, I'd have Finn Russell.

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Bepetas
Bepetas
30/06/2020 11:53
Quote:
shipwrecked
If we are going for impossible possibilities at 10, I'd have Finn Russell.

100% agree! Finn Russell is such an entertaining fly half to watch.

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
30/06/2020 12:57
Yes.........Finn Russell at Bath............where is my season ticket renewal form!!

Montyuk
Montyuk
02/07/2020 13:46
Handrè Pollard.... surely we can have another go at signing him 😆

Adopted player 2019/20: Tom Ellis

BathMatt53
BathMatt53
02/07/2020 13:55
BB moved already - to Japan on £780k a year which seams reasonable tbh

[www.rugbypass.com]

[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

opti
Optimist
02/07/2020 14:25
Cobus Reinach now teaming up at Montpellier with Handre Pollard.

Where's that 'weeping with unsurpassable envy' emoji?

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
02/07/2020 14:58
Quote:
Optimist
Cobus Reinach now teaming up at Montpellier with Handre Pollard.
Where's that 'weeping with unsurpassable envy' emoji?

With those two you are on the attack whoever whether you win or lose the ball.

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

MESSAGES->author
woodpecker
02/07/2020 16:29
Quote:
BathMatt53
BB moved already - to Japan on £780k a year which seams reasonable tbh
[www.rugbypass.com]

It only sounds a lot as the £ is in the toilet. He is also getting a paper round to make ends meet.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2020:07:02:17:01:32 by woodpecker.

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
02/07/2020 16:59
It would be great to draw Montpellier in the Euro Cup to see those two live.

MESSAGES->author
OutsideBath
02/07/2020 18:16
I'd like to see a Head coach along with Finn Russell and an attack coach to use Russell's skills.

Bepetas
Bepetas
02/07/2020 22:21
To finish off recruitment for this season, I'd go for 4 more signings and a big name leaving the club. My fantasy silver bullets would be...

Talk to Dragons and Taulupe Faletau, He's one of the best No 8s in the world but he's been so unlucky with injuries and with Zach Mercer in the squad it may be best for the player and both clubs if he moved back to Wales.

Sign these four...
Jordan Taufua - Fantastically powerful and able to cover across the back row, he'll be a big loss for Tigers. [www.youtube.com]
Tom Taylor - A former team mate of Jordan Taufua when they played for Crusaders, All Black international fly half and quality operator at centre and fullback. [www.youtube.com]
Giorgi Melikidze - Part of a great Georgian U20 pack, dominant in the set piece at tightwad and with Stade Francais being relegated may be available? [www.youtube.com]
Meli Derenalagi - He's a superstar of the Fiji sevens team, could Bath bring him in as a development player like they did Ruaridh McConnochie? I'd love to see Meli Derenalagi play 15s, he has all the skills to be a real special player. [www.youtube.com]

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
02/07/2020 22:41
Some of those Derenalagi offloads were incredible, like the ball was hanging on a piece of string, great finds really enjoyed that.

PS why not write to TM and offer your services in recruitment?

https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Bathovalballer
Bathovalballer
03/07/2020 08:40
Who if anyone is doing recruitment? Cannot be sure but thought Mr Broncan has left.

Adopted player 2019/20 Jonathan 'JJ' Joseph.

The Jink Joseph.

Adopted player 2018/19 Adopted player 2018/19 Semesa 'The Rock' Rokoduguni

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