BATH RUGBY: Returns are adding zest to Bath push

Neal Hatley

Neal Hatley

First published in Sport by

NEAL Hatley reckons the return of Bath’s international contingent has been the ideal tonic after recent wobbles.

Bath go into tomorrow night’s Aviva Premiership clash with London Irish at the Madejski Stadium (5.30pm) off the back of successive defeats for the first time this season.

Losses to Saracens in the league and Exeter in the LV= Cup semi-final took some of the wind out of Bath’s sails and first team coach Hatley said: “I think what’s made it worse was we didn’t have a game the week after, so you miss out on that chance to rectify what has happened.

“The boys have been sitting and stewing on that Exeter defeat and then to see Exeter win it (the LV= Cup), which was great for them, has probably made it a bit worse.

“Having those (international) guys back adds a massive amount to the squad. It’s great for the rest of the guys when they see the England lads and Paul James coming back and throwing themselves into training.’’

Carl Fearns will be given another week before making his comeback, while long-term casualties Rob Webber and Jonathan Joseph’s rehab continues.

Hatley added: “The good thing is we’ve got it in our own hands. If we keep winning, we keep ourselves in a position to qualify and qualify well. We think this is the final push for us, this last 7-11 weeks.

“If you’ve got your nose in front with a few games to go it’s always the best position to be in. After two pretty hard defeats it’s going to be important to get back to winning ways.’’

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