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RUGBY: Bath push on with squad rebuilding
11:00am Friday 8th February 2013 in Sport News
BATH coach Toby Booth expects the next phase of the club’s squad building programme to be unveiled in the next few weeks.
Booth revealed the club were close to releasing the latest names to commit to the Rec cause as the management put together their plan to take Bath forward for the next few seasons.
Half a dozen players – forwards Ryan Caldwell, Nathan Catt, Carl Fearns, Lee Mears and backs Ben Williams and Matt Banahan – agreed new or extended deals just prior to Christmas, but while Bath have been continually linked with the likes of Leicester’s teenage fly-half George Ford, they have kept their cards close to their chest.
First team coach Booth said: “I know there are a few to be announced in the next week or so. We’ve been busy and there are a few bits and pieces to come out.
“We’re looking for the short term, but have one eye on the long term and re-establishing some consistency.
“Having a group of players together for a long period of time is very important, so our recruitment is centred around long-term consistency of Bath, as much as the here and now.
“It’s a strategic view. We’re looking to the three to five-year window as much as the year that we’re in.’’ Bath return to Premiership action with the visit of Worcester tomorrow (2.15).
And with three of the next four league games at the Rec, Booth admitted: “It’s the critical point.
“The big issue is if you can build up momentum through February and March, by winning the majority of those games, you find yourself in with a shout at the end.
“It’s fair to say the last two to three months, we’ve got significantly better, especially from an attacking point of view.
“This is the bit where you jockey for position. Being in the quarter and semi final (of the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup) shows that we’re moving forward and we’re competitive, which is brilliant, but the league is the greatest example of consistency.
“The fact we’re playing at home is always an advantage. We are always well supported and that’s massively important for all concerned. We want to make Bath a hard place to come.
“We’re confident because we’re playing well and being at home adds a lot of confidence too.’’
Scrum-half Michael Claassens should be available after a hand injury to bid for the record of consecutive Premiership starts (87).
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