Bath all set for top four Premiership fight

Now that the Guinness Premiership is rapidly drawing to a close, Bath Rugby‘s next match against Newcastle Falcons on Sunday is crucial if the team are to continue into the play offs, and Forwards Coach Mark Bakewell is looking ahead to the impending battle.

“In the three years I have been at Bath Rugby it has not been this tight,” admitted Bakewell.


“That is one of the beauties of the Guinness Premiership. It is a tough competition home and away and it is a great competition.”


With that in mind, Bath are now facing in-form Falcons who could pose quite the challenge on their home turf.


“Newcastle beat Leicester, Saracens and Gloucester and they are playing with less pressure than us so that has got to work in their favour.


“But, on the intensity side of it we will be a lot fresher. I think it will be very tough and we will have to assess how we attack and break them down.”

However, if Bath fulfil their goals and do beat their opposition on Sunday, it takes the West Country contingent one step closer to that all-important top four finish.

“We have got to win both games,” said Bakewell.


“The priority is to win the game and maximising in points will happen depending on the nature of the game. Newcastle are a team who like to play rugby, but there is a chance that with a lack of pressure on them the game will open up and allow us to have a crack at scoring four tries.”

Guinness Premiership top try scorer Joe Maddock starts against Newcastle Falcons at full back in replacement of Nick Abendanon who suffered a shoulder injury against Leicester last weekend. David Barnes, Shaun Berne and Chris Goodman are being rested and Alex Crockett is replaced by Tom Cheeseman after sustaining a rib injury last Saturday.

Bath Rugby team to face Newcastle Falcons:

15. Joe Maddock, 14. Andrew Higgins, 13. Tom Cheeseman, 12. Shontayne Hape, 11. Matt Banahan, 10. Butch James, 9. Michael Claassens, 1. David Flatman
2. Lee Mears, 3. Duncan Bell, 4. Justin Harrison, 5. Peter Short, 7. Michael Lipman (c), 8. Stuart Hooper

Reserves 16. Rob Hawkins, 17. Paulica Ion, 18. Jonny Faamatuainu, 19. James Scaysbrook, 20. Scott Bemand, 21. Ryan Davis, 22. Michael Stephenson.

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