Bath’s Vesty issues Donald a Premiership warning

Bath fly half Sam Vesty has warned the club’s new signing Stephen Donald not to underestimate how tough Aviva Premiership rugby can be.

World cup winning All Black Stephen Donald has signed a three-year deal from Super Rugby side the Chiefs and will arrive next week.

Donald kicked a crucial penalty in his Rugby World Cup debut which happened to be the world cup final but had missed out on a call up for the TriNations and the Rugby World Cup squads.

Donald is expected to be in a battle with twenty-nine-year-old Vesty for the Bath number 10 shirt.

“When it comes to training and we’ll be smacking bits out of each other he’ll realise it’s about the Premiership now,” Vesty told BBC Points West.

“He’ll be on a bit of a buzz as he’s won the World Cup but then he’ll train here and it will be wet and windy and maybe that buzz will go.

“It’s very different to Super 15s – the length of season, amount of time you get off and the type of rugby that’s played. “

“The defences work so hard over here and they are very well organised, perhaps not like in Super 15s.”

Vesty said that the differences even extend to the size of the players in the Premiership.

“The boys are bigger and heavier over here so you get a little bit more bruised.”

“But I’m sure he’s a big lad so I’m sure he’ll be able to cope with it. If I can cope with it I’m sure he can.”

Donald and Vesty will be kept on their toes as academy youngster Tom Heathcote who has kept Vesty’s jersey warm recently.

Nineteen-year-old Heathcote was brought in against Leicester after Vesty suffered a head injury and went on to kick the matchinning points.

Heathcote then continued at fly-half for the games against Wasps, Newport Gwent Dragons and Worcester but Vesty returned for last week’s London Irish match.

“I was playing alright and then I got a knock to the head and Tom came in and played really well,” added Vesty.

“With Stephen Donald coming in as well there’s lots of competition.”

“But that’s what the squads need – it keeps you on your toes and that competition ultimately leads to playing well and success. “

“It’s the healthiest environment for a rugby team.”

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