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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Bath’s New Boys

Bath endured a challenging 2015/16 season but with that behind them and a fresh start ahead although Bath’s cards remain close to their chest with regards to appointing a coach a number of new faces have already been added to the Bath squad.

Jack Walker

Age: 20

Position: Hooker

Signed From: Yorkshire Carnegie

Honours: England U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20

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England Under 20’s captain alongside England prop Paul Hill.

The England under 20’s captain is a hugely promising hooker and could fill the void left by Rob Webber who has joined Sale Sharks. Walker is a very athletic hooker expect to see him make the odd burst upfield over the course of the season.

Michael van Vuuren

Age: 24

Position: Hooker

Signed From: Leicester Tigers

Honours: South Africa U20

Another addition to the front row brings valuable experience from Super Rugby as well as a short spell at Bath’s oldest rivals Leicester. The 24 year old will hope to become a big part of the team and try and push for a place alongside youngsters Walker and Dunn and the experienced Ross Batty.

Luke Charteris

Age: 33

Position: Lock

Signed From: Racing Metro 92

Honours: Wales U19, U21 and Wales

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Charteris wins a lineout against England.

A hugely experienced lock who has been massively influential for Wales over the past 12 years since making his debut. The lock studied at the University of Bath before moving back to Wales to play professional rugby. He should be able to provide experience to replace that lost by retiring captain Stuart Hooper.

Elliott Stooke

Age: 22

Position: Lock

Signed From: Gloucester Rugby

Honours: England U20 and England Saxons

The young lock is another addition to the tight five for Bath. His loan spell at London Irish showed just what an asset he can be in the line out despite an awful season for the Exiles. Bath will be hoping the former Gloucester lock can build on that potential shown whilst he is at the Recreation Ground.

Taulupe Faletau

Age: 25

Position: Number Eight

Signed From: Newport/ Gwent Dragons

Honours: Wales U20, Wales and British and Irish Lions

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Faletau dives over to score against the All Blacks.

Faletau the biggest name arriving at Bath after Wales’ tour of New Zealand. He is a force of nature regularly making World XV’s around the pubs and clubhouses of the world. With both Mafi and Fa’osiliva leaving the club he should more than fill the void and at only 25 he still has many years left in him.

 

Kahn Fotuali’i

Age: 34

Position: Scrum-Half

Signed From: Northampton Saints

Honours: Samoa

The Samoan man should be a good addition to Bath and could act as a mentor to Bath’s three young scrum-halves. His pace set him apart and he should be able to provide the quick ball to the backs that was lacking last year.

Harry Davies

Age: 22

Position: Wing

Signed From: Cardiff Blues

Honours: Wales U20

Not much is known about Bath’s young winger. He is 6’4” and 16 stone so looks a real threat. The Welshman looks like a real man for the future as he joins up with a rather strong Welsh contingent at Bath.

Rebuilding at the Rec

Bath Rugby endured a tough season and that culminated in the sacking of head coach Mike Ford among controversial circumstances off field as well as on field problems.

Bath have got a long summer ahead and with a coach expected to be announced in the coming weeks it looks as though next season could be one of rebuilding and overhauling at the west country club.

BUILD
Bath look to build this season.

The club should be strengthened by a plethora of high quality recruits including international number eight Faletau, exciting scrum-half Fotouali’i and the promising hooker Jack Walker.

The club will see this season as a time to make a team capable of consistently challenging for the top half or maybe even the top four. The play-offs is likely to be out of reach for the time being but in the future Bath may well see this season as a crucial building block in their development.

All teams that win titles do of course have to go through the building phase and this season that is the aim for Bath Rugby.

You could argue Bath are in a good place to start that process with a good crop of youngsters in Adam Hastings, Levi Douglas, Will Homer, Darren Atkins and new signing Jack Walker along with players like Denton, Faletau, Joseph and Ford plying their trade in Bath. This is a blend Saracens as a blueprint have perfected and a plan Exeter are leaning towards.

WALKER
Jack Walker is among a number of new signings.

Bruce Craig has the money to make Bath the team they want to be, now it’s down to the players and whoever the new coach may be to earn their money and do their talking on the pitch getting Bath back to where they need to be.

Potential Bath 23: 1 N Auterac 2 J Walker 3 H Thomas 4 L Charteris 5 D Attwood 6 D Denton 7 F Louw 8 T Faletau

9 K Fotouali’i 10 G Ford 11 J Williams 12 M Banahan 13 J Joseph 14 S Rokoduguni 15 A Watson

16 M van Vuuren 17 N Catt 18 D Wilson 19 E Stooke 20 M Garvey 21 C Cook 22 D Bowden 23 T Homer