Bath Rugby Team

Bath Rugby welcome Leeds Carnegie to the Recreation Ground on Saturday 8th January, and will be aiming to build on their narrow victory away to London Irish on New Year’s Day, kick-off 2.15pm. Director of Rugby, Ian McGeechan, believes that the hard work going into training is beginning to pay off come game day, and gives credit to the fantastic effort by the Bath forwards in the second half of the game in Reading.

“How we played in the second half against Irish reflected a lot of the work that’s been done on the training field, particularly up front. We had an edge we sometimes hadn’t had in previous games. There was a confidence that if we got in the right areas of the field then there would always be points available. And the other good thing was that we didn’t panic.

“The forward play was outstanding. How do you come back from 17-6 down? Well, you do it by your forwards getting on the front foot and by not having many unforced errors.

“We’re still good at the wide game, but what we’ve proved is that we have a shorter game that is technically getting better. We’re not there yet because we still made mistakes and it took a while to get going, but it reflects a lot of the good work that Martin Haag has been doing, particularly over the past month.”

Despite being bottom of the table, McGeechan knows that Leeds pose a strong threat, especially after their recent run of results. He also believes that the conditions will be a big influence on the style of rugby that is played.

“We haven’t played Leeds in January for a while. We have played them on dry pitches at the end of the season and the beginning of the season, but this will be different.

“Leeds will have a bit of confidence after beating Gloucester last week, and their two victories in the Amlin Challenge Cup. They played well, and Neil Back has got them very well organised. They do the basics well and when you’re playing in conditions which could be like midwinter, you’ve got to take that on board.”

Bath Rugby team to face Leeds Carnegie

15. Jack Cuthbert

14. Matt Banahan

13. Olly Barkley

12. Shontayne Hape

11. Nick Abendanon

10. Butch James

9. Michael Claassens

1. David Barnes

2. Lee Mears

3. David Wilson

4. Stuart Hooper

5. Danny Grewcock

6. Luke Watson (C)

7. Lewis Moody

8. Simon Taylor

Replacements

16. Pieter Dixon

17. Duncan Bell

18. Aaron Jarvis

19. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe

20. Ben Skirving

21. Chris Cook

22. Sam Vesty

23. Matt Carraro