Sam Underhill Looks Set to Join Bath

Bath Rugby look to have secured the services of flanker Sam Underhill from Ospreys from next season for a fee of about £150,000.

Sam Underhill joined the Swansea based province from Gloucester for two years ago so as to continue his education in Cardiff.

This move ruled out any selection for the England squad due to the selection policy put in place by the RFU to deter the best English players moving to France for a more lucrative paycheque.

Underhill has been in sensational form for the Ospreys and has been tipped for greatness by Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy.

The move to Bath would be hugely beneficial to Eddie Jones as that would give him the option of selecting a genuine, classic openside flanker. He would offer the back row some balance that is lacking with the combination of Chris Robshaw and James Haskell.

With Sam Underhill set to join Bath he will be playing in an environment that is already full of young, talented players. He would also be learning off someone of Francois Louw’s ability which can only be a benefit.

Underhill’s move to Bath could see the flanker playing for England as soon as the summer should his form continue. It is hard to see him not building on his already very impressive form.

The sky is the limit for Underhill hopefully he can achieve that while playing for Bath Rugby.

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Does Banahan Fit the Bill?

Bath Rugby recently saw the departure of inside centre Kyle Eastmond as he moved north to the Ricoh Arena. This leaves Bath rather light in the centre department as Ollie Devoto has also moved on.

The question the coaches now face is who will play at 12? There are a number of options, Kiwi, Dan Bowden is able to play 12 and he offers George Ford (if he is still here come September) that second playmaker the England fly-half is used to.

There is also England under-20’s star Max Clark. Clark is a talented young player and his physical presence coupled with a surprising turn of pace make him a scintillating prospect for Bath and England fans alike.

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Matt Banahan is an option to play 12.

Another option which is viable is that of shifting Priestland to 12, again it offers Bath two playmakers in the backline which was a hallmark of Bath’s play in the successful 2014/15 season.

All of these options are open and offer slight variations on each other but all come with their pitfalls. Bath have very few outright centres as we approach the season’s beginning and the question remains will the coaches have time to draft in a new recruit to fill the void left by Eastmond and Devoto.

The final option is Matt Banahan. The 6’7” winger is a powerful carrier and he’s among the fastest in the Bath squad.

He is one of Bath’s longest serving players and at 12 would offer a crash ball option that as  a Premiership club you clearly need to get your backline moving forwards. Banahan’s crashing runs would in turn open space for the really quick men outside him, when those players include Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson, Jeff Williams, Semesa Rokoduguni and Tom Homer, that is a quite beautiful vision for Bath fans.

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Banahan is no stranger to scoring tries.

The giant wing is not just this brute either if he sees a gap he has the pace to exploit spaces left by careless defending, okay his step is not as electric as Eastmond and his tactical awareness not as precise as Devoto but he has the attributes of a Premiership standard 12 and a good one at that.

It looks as though Bath’s long summer is beginning to come together with coach announcements expected within the week. The club must accept that this season will be one of rebuilding and then we can look to what the future may hold.