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BATH RUGBY: Try hero Stringer proving his point
BATH coach Mike Ford reckons veteran Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer’s desire to prove himself was behind his two-try debut against Exeter last weekend.
Stringer, 35, made himself an instant Rec hero by turning the game decisively in Bath’s favour after coming on as a substitute for hamstring injury victim Mark McMillan.
Defence guru Ford has previously worked with the Munster man in both the Irish set-up and at Newcastle last season.
Ford said: “I asked him earlier in the week when was the last time he scored two tries and he thought long and hard and mentioned some U15 schoolboy game about 20 years ago!
“He made a difference didn’t he? I worked with him for four years with Ireland. His work ethic and enthusiasm he brings is second to none.
“He’s still got a lot to prove, he says. He’s been stuck on the bench quite a lot for Munster and he just wants to go out and compete. That’s when he’s happiest.
“If you don’t play, you do lose the skill element. In training, he’s probably been back to his best now after playing the game and having three or four sessions with us.
“One of his strengths is getting the ball away. He brings that tempo to the game.’’ After his immediate impact Stringer, capped 98 times by Ireland, said: “I still have that ambition and drive to play at the highest level.
“That’s one of the reasons I was looking to come on loan somewhere.
“Thankfully Bath came up with that opportunity and that’s all I want to do – play and compete.
“I’m here for a couple of months. That’s the loan agreement. If Munster need me, if there’s an injury, they can call me back.”
Meanwhile Ford has rubbished rumours linking star flanker Francois Louw with a switch to French big spenders Toulon, saying: “There is no truth in that speculation at all. He’s signed for next year.”
Centre Ben Williams is concussed and, with McMillan, misses out on the trip to Gloucester.
Flanker Carl Fearns may be in the matchday 23 and new Zealand fly-half Stephen Donald is fully fit.