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RUGBY: Eastmond should recover for Bath's Tigers test
5:52pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Sport
BATH centre Kyle Eastmond could be fit to face Aviva Premiership champions Leicester (3.15pm) in the first league game of the season at the Rec on Saturday, according to first-team coach Mike Ford.
Former rugby league star Eastmond, who has been named in England’s elite squad for this season, left the field during the first half of Bath’s season-opening 21-0 win at Newcastle Falcons last Friday, being replaced by Wales and British Lions star Gavin Henson.
But Ford said: “He’s good. He just took a knock to his knee. There was nothing twisted or structural so he’s good to go on Saturday.’’
Henson also played 40 minutes in Bath United’s 36-16 A League win over Wasps on Monday, Ford heaping praise on the summer signing for his input into the team.
"Gavin played 40 (on Monday), it was just a question of giving him some game time,'' said Ford.
"I see him as very much part of the squad. He’s going to be pushing for a starting slot. Without question, he’ll get a few games underneath him.
"The good thing about Gav for us is he can play 10, 12 and 15. He’s great cover. But I want Gav to get back to his best and be fighting for that first-team spot. I don’t want him worrying about nurturing the youngsters.
"Saying that, he was exceptional in the A team, dealing with the youngsters before the game and telling them what roles they were going to be doing.
"He came off at half time and he stayed around and was talking to the team afterwards. He showed some great qualities. You have to be inside the changing room to see it.
"He’s just a very good trainer. I just want Gav to get rid of all the hype and play rugby.''
Ford, who also expects flanker Matt Garvey to recover from a knock, dismissed stories linking wing Tom Biggs with a cross-code switch to Hull FC.
The Hull Daily Mail reported that Hull-born Biggs, a favourite among Bath fans, was being pursued by the Super League side.
But Ford said: “It’s just rumours, it’s just rubbish. We’re keeping Tom and he wants to stay.
“We need people like Tom Biggs here – he’s the heart and soul of Bath, the fans’ favourite and brilliant around the changing rooms.
“He wants to stay and we want to keep him.’’
MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS, FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH FORD, DOMINIC DAY AND ENGLAND'S ROB WEBBER AND A SPECIAL FEATURE WITH FORMER BATH AND LEICESTER STAR LEWIS MOODY IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT
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