Feb 27, 2014
Bath vs Saracens - Preview
Saracens travel to the west country on Friday night to face an in-form Bath side who side one place below them on the league table in third. Here, Henry Fraser previews Friday's opponents.
Bath - Form guide won 11, drawn 1, lost 3.
Bath Rugby have definitely been the most improved team this season. They are currently third in the league on a great run of form and look set for play-off rugby. They have recruited incredibly well with a clear focus on what they want from their players.
Bath have built a huge pack of forwards that give a great base for the backs to attack from. The set piece battle will be huge. Players like Matt Garvey have been vital, both at set piece and in open play. His combination in the back row with the huge ball carrying of Leroy Houston and the break down work of Francois Louw is something that needs to be broken. The Sarries back row could be facing their sternest test.
Both Sarries and Bath pride themselves on the platform given to them from the forwards. Whoever wins this battle upfront could determine the eventual winner of the match.
The contrast from the big powerful forwards to the extremely exciting back line is quite something. It is one full of pace and skill and able to breakdown any defence. The return of Nick Abendanon has meant a move to wing for Anthony Watson creating a deadly back three that can counter attack better than anyone. Any bad kick, or kick chase, will be punished. It's important Sarries kicking game is precise and their chase is as water tight as ever.
As the third highest try scorers in the league Bath love to keep the ball moving. They have scored thirty four tries this season with twelve coming from the giant roaming back row and eight each from the centres and wingers. Once the defensive line is broken Bath get lots of support runners through resulting in the majority of their tries. It's important Sarries stifle any attack early.
This season The Rec has been a real fortress for Bath. They are one of only two teams to remain unbeaten at home having won all seven of their premiership games at home.
There is no doubt Friday night’s match will be a huge battle. It will be a marker for both sides to put down for the rest of the season. Bath will be looking to make amends for their heavy defeat at Allianz Park earlier in the season.
- 22/9/13 Saracens 31 - 17 Bath Rugby
- 4/5/13 Saracens 23 - 14 Bath Rugby
- 22/12/12 Bath Rugby 0 - 22 Saracens
Player to watch
Kyle Eastmond - He could prove to be a key player in Friday night’s clash. Eastmond gives an extra distributing option to Bath to release fast outside backs. His ability to play as first receiver and swap around with George Ford keeps defences thinking. He possesses all the skills to trouble any defence. His speed is a huge threat along with a side step to leave any player tackling thin air.