Bath have had a torrid time this season, especially if you consider that they were title contenders, and even a force in the Champions Cup, last season. They welcome the Newcastle Falcons on Friday, who are not having a much better season.
It is ninth vs. 11th, but while Bath’s hopes of glory are all but faded, they have a lot of pride that needs restoring. Their season has been one of losses that shouldn’t have been; competitive throughout, only to let games slip away from them as the match wears on. It is hard to pin exactly what is going on at Bath, with very little changed from last season – except perhaps the whole Sam Burgess saga.
Falcons, sitting second bottom, again are not looking for glory in this season, but rather they are hoping to settle into a rhythm where they can compete. Having lured English flyhalf legend Andy Goode out of retirement, the Falcons have an x-factor that is almost uncontrollable as Goode does what he does best with very little pressure on his shoulders.
The Six Nations plays its final part in disrupting the Premiership this weekend and while the Falcons have had little turbulence throughout the international tournament, it is Bath who will be welcoming back some key players with open arms after this match.
Flyhalf George Ford, wing Anthony Watson, and centre Jonathan Joseph have all been away with England and form an important spine down the middle of the bath backline. Add in new signings flyhalf Rhys Priestland, with Wales, and No 8 David Denton, with Scotland, and the South-West team will look a far more powerful unit on paper.
Bath have struggled recently to beat many teams above them on the table, with their latest win coming against London Irish, who are bottom of the log. Luckily, Falcons are one of the few teams lower than them, and with the power that Bath still have under the leadership of Springbok Francois Louw, it should be a good outing to get some confidence back before the Six Nations stars rejoin the men in Blue, Black, and White.
My bet: Bath to win
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