Director of Rugby/ Head Coach: Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson
Captain: Guy Mercer
Stadium: The Recreation Ground (Capacity: 13,500)
Last Season: 9th
Bath had an awful season last time out only managing to finish 9th in the Premiership a poor return having made the final in the 2014/15 season.
There is a sizeable number of international stars at the Recreation Ground and the squad looks strong if not that deep. The only worry for Bath is the hole left by the departures of Kyle Eastmond and Ollie Devoto in the midfield leaving Dan Bowden and Jonathan Joseph as the only senior centres in the squad.
The Recreation Ground has become accustomed to an attacking gameplan executed with fluency and pace as we saw the season before last. A devastating three quarters is lethal when given space. The whole operation kick started and led by fly-half, George Ford.
One of the only positives from last season came in defence, despite finishing in 9th Bath was among the best defences in the Premiership when it came to conceding tries. Whilst Bath leaked penalties for the most part teams found it hard to break Bath down.
THREE TO WATCH
Position: Fly-Half Nationality: English Age: 23 Height: 1.75m Weight: 84kg
The Bath out half is a real talent and he suffered last year low on confidence and bereft of inspiration the backline faltered. Then in Australia he showed us the player he really is with a pack going forward and with none of the focus on his kicking he flourished.
Ford is the best attacking fly-half in the league without a shadow of a doubt. There were question marks over his defence but the doubters have now been silenced after a string of important defensive display notably the first test in Australia.
Position: Centre Nationality: English Age: 25 Height: 1.83m Weight: 91kg
Another of Bath’s England contingent. The outside centre has treated us to some moments of sheer brilliance. His dazzling footwork and trademark outside arc make him one of the most devastating strike runners for Bath.
What tends to go unnoticed is his defensive work rate, he doesn’t shy away from the less glamorous jobs. He will be key for Bath this season.
Position: Flanker Nationality: South African Age: 31 Height: 1.90m Weight: 114kg
This man is amongst the best opensides in the world as he shows time and again for the Springboks. His southern hemisphere mindset of how the breakdown should be controlled is perfect to provide Bath’s backs quick ball.
Louw is bound to get his plaudits again this season and when he returns after the November internationals it will feel like a completely different team.
Luke Charteris (Racing 92, FRA)
Harry Davies (Cardiff Blues, WAL)
Taulupe Faletau (Dragons, WAL)
Kahn Fotouali’i (Northampton Saints, ENG)
Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby, ENG)
Michael van Vuuren (Leicester Tigers, ENG)
Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie, ENG)
Horacio Agulla (Castres Olympique, FRA)
Luke Arscott (Bristol Rugby, ENG)
Dominic Day (Toyota Verblitz, JAP)
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, ENG)
Kyle Eastmond (Wasps, ENG)
Jonathan Evans (Llaneli Scarlets, WAL)
Alafoti Fa’osiliva (Worcester Warriors, ENG)
Brett Herron (Ulster, IRE)
Stuart Hooper (Retired, RET)
Leroy Houston (Queensland Reds, AUS)
Amanaki Mafi (NTT Shining Arcs, JAP)
Max Northcote-Green (London Irish, ENG)
Will Spencer (Worcester Warriors, ENG)
Rob Webber (Sale Sharks, ENG)
Tom Woolstencroft (Wasps, ENG)
The capture of Wales duo Faletau and Charteris is a huge coup for Bath further bolstering Bath’s impressive back five of the pack. Samoan international Fotouali’i is a good addition, he has serious pace and can act as another playmaker.
The loss of Devoto is huge, he along with Eastmond leave a void for Bath to fill. Losing Houston to Super Rugby is also a shame, the fan favourite was an effective carrier. Hooper ends his career, he will remain at Bath in a coaching capacity.
My Bath Rugby 23
15 Anthony Watson 14 Semesa Rokoduguni 13 Jonathan Joseph 12 Dan Bowden 11 Matt Banahan 10 George Ford 9 Kahn Fotouali’i
1 Nick Auterac 2 Ross Batty 3 Davey Wilson 4 Luke Charteris 5 Dave Attwood 6 David Denton 7 Francois Louw (Captain) 8 Taulupe Faletau
16 Michael van Vuuren 17 Nathan Catt 18 Henry Thomas 19 Charlie Ewels 20 Matt Garvey 21 Chris Cook 22 Rhys Priestland 23 Jeff Williams
Bath definitely have the quality of player and coach needed to succeed at Premiership level but this looks as a season for building and establishing goals for the coming seasons.