Saracens - Preview: Bath (H)

Sep 28, 2018

Preview: Bath (H)


BATH RUGBY

FACTFILE
Formed: 
1865
Website: www.bathrugby.com
Twitter: @bathrugby
Ground: The Rec
Capacity: 14,500

Honours:
European Cup – 1997/98
Challenge Cup – 2007/08
Premiership – 1988/89, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96 
Anglo-Welsh Cup - 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996
Somerset Senior Cup - 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1983
Middlesex 7s – 1994
Aviva A League – 2013

Last season:
Premiership: 6th
European Champions Cup: Pool Stage
Anglo-Welsh Cup: Finalists (lost to Exeter Chiefs)
Premiership Top Scorer: Matt Banahan (10)

Ins: Will Chudley (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish), Alex Davies (Yorkshire Carnegie), Victor Delmas (Colomiers), Ruaridh McConnochie (England Sevens), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Jacques van Rooyen (Lyon), Jackson Willison (Worcester Warriors)

Outs: Nick Auterac, Ben Tapuai (both Harlequins), Matt Banahan (Glouester), Nathan Charles (Melbourne Rebels), Will Homer (Jersey), Rory Jennings (London Scottish), Shaun Knight (Rouen), Josh Lewis (Dragons), Guy Mercer and Jeff Williams (both released), Kane Palma-Newport (Colomiers)

ABOUT BATH

After a morale damaging defeat to Bristol Bears and having to settle for a draw against Gloucester, Bath got their season going with an impressive away victory at Harlequins in round three of the Gallagher Premiership, scoring 37 points at the Stoop. Another win followed against Northampton Saints but it was so nearly a draw with Dan Biggar’s late kick hitting the post. The Somerset side are blessed with powerful backs such as Jamie Roberts, Joe Cokanasiga and Semesa Rokoduguni and they’re not shy of a few bruisers in the forwards either. They have begun their campaign without key individuals such as Jonathan Joseph, Francois Louw and Anthony Watson due to injury and international call-ups and could be a force to be reckoned with upon their return.

MEET THE DOR – TODD BLACKADDER

Blackadder’s season started in unfamiliar fashion as he pulled on a Bath jersey to play in a match to celebrate the opening of Colerne RFC’s new changing rooms and remember their former player Paul McQuillan. A month later, his team entered the first round of the Gallagher Premiership in a confident mood only to be defeated by rivals Bristol. It was the start of the New Zealander’s third campaign as Director of Rugby at the Rec and in during his time at the club, the Somerset outfit have failed to break into the top four, finishing 5th and 6th respectively. Capped 12 times by the All Blacks, Blackadder was assistant coach of Edinburgh after his playing days ended in 2001 and has also Tasman and Super Rugby franchise Crusaders.

ONE TO WATCH – JOE COKANASIGA

‘Fijian Joe’, as he’s affectionately known, has hit the ground running at the Rec. The bulldozing winger joined Bath from London Irish in the summer and his form has seen him selected in the latest England training squad. The 20-year-old, who could be considered an emerging talent alongside Zach Mercer, scored twice in Bath’s first win of the season over Quins; the 6ft 4in, 17st 9lb wide man showing great athleticism to dot down his first in the corner (the Premiership Rugby try of the week) and speed for the second. During his time at Irish, Cokanasiga started 26 of his 29 appearances, crossing on eight occasions as well as once in a handful of caps for England Under-20s.

MEMORABLE FIXTURE – BATH 16-28 SARACENS

Saturday 20th May 2015

BATH 16
Try: Joseph, Con: Ford, Pens: Ford (3)

SARACENS 28
Tries: Farrell, George, Wyles, Cons: Farrell (2), Pens: Farrell (3)

Saracens resisted a second-half fightback from Bath to win their second Premiership title.

Last year's losing finalists and 2011 champions led 25-3 at half-time at Twickenham.

They scored three unanswered tries through Owen Farrell, Jamie George and Chris Wyles, with fly-half Farrell kicking a further 10 points.

England centre Jonathan Joseph's try and eight points from George Ford gave Bath hope but Saracens held on.

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Banahan; Ford, Stringer; James, Batty, Wilson, Hooper, Attwood, Burgess, Louw, Houston. Replacements: Webber, Auterac, Thomas, Day, Garvey, Fearns, Cook, Devoto.

Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Taylor, Barritt, Wyles; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M.Vunipola, George, Du Plessis, Kruis, Hargreaves, Itoje, Burger, B.Vunipola. Replacements: Brits, Barrington, Figallo, Hamilton, Wray, de Kock, Hodgson, Ashton.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bath Rugby was first known as Bath Zouaves, then Rovers, then Wanderers. The Zouaves were an elite infantry corps in the French army drawn from the tribes of one of its colonies, Algeria. They wore dark blue jackets and a red Fez. They then became known as Bath Football Club, until rugby became professional, when the name Bath Rugby Club stuck.

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