This month witnesses the most high-profile cross-code switch in rugby history with the arrival of Sam Burgess at Bath Rugby.Discover more!
The 25-year-old England Rugby League international joins the historic Club of Bath having finished his South Sydney Rabbitohs career with an NRL Grand Final victory. His consistently excellent performances with the Rabbitohs helped the side to their first title in 43 years and Burgess became the first Englishman to win the prestigious man of the match Clive Churchill Medal.
Following the culmination of the NRL season he was named International Rugby League Player of the Year, again becoming the first Englishman to win this award. Now he is preparing to play a part in Bath Rugby’s challenge for domestic and European honours.
“The thought of taking to the field with the talented players here at Bath really motivates me,” said Burgess. “I’m here to work hard and learn the game. I just want to get my head down so that I can be in the best possible position to be an asset to the Club. I see Bath as the perfect learning environment for me, and am really looking forward to getting to grips with rugby union.”
Head Coach Mike Ford commented: “We’re hugely excited about what Sam can bring to this team. It’s not going to be an overnight process, but he possesses all the attributes to thrive in union. Sam’s going to complement the outstanding players we already have here at Bath. The guys in possession of the starting places have played outstandingly so far this season, so it won’t be a case of Sam walking into the team straight away, and he knows that, but he’s a talented player and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring to our side.”
Bath’s Owner and Executive Chairman, Bruce Craig, added: “Sam’s achievements and performances in the NRL over the past year have been no less than extraordinary. The leadership and physical qualities that he will bring with him to the Bath team and rugby union are unquestionable.”
Bath Rugby returned to winning ways at the Rec with one-sided 47-7 win against London Welsh in Round One of the LV= Cup.Discover more!
Seven tries were scored in all by the home side, the first within five minutes of the first half when a powerful maul from Bath enabled blinside Max Northcote-Green to score on his senior debut for the Club. Fly-half Gavin Henson's conversion rebounded off the posts. 5-0.
Henson was able to rectify that error six minutes later when Bath won a scrum penalty near enough in front of the Welsh posts, his successful kick taking the score to 8-0.
The opening quarter had just gone when Henson, in possession of the ball outside the visitors' 22, shipped to Olly Woodburn on the right wing. Woodburn scampered under the first tackle, presented the ball well enough for it to be recycled to hooker Ross Batty, whose drive allowed Woodburn to finally get the try just one phase later.
Henson's impressive touchline conversion gave Bath a 15-0 lead, which he then extended to 18-0 after his side were presented with a scrum penalty in front of the Welsh posts with just over half an hour on the clock. Tighthead Kane Palma-Newport would have felt hard done by in the 37th minute, having seemingly touched down for Bath's third try, only for the referee to bring it back for a home penalty.
That denial made little difference to the team, however, when their scrum shunted Welsh over their own tryline, giving Bath a penalty try moments later; one which Henson was never going to miss. 25-0.
That wasn't it for the first half, though. Outside centre Matt Banahan burst through the Welsh defence, and strong support work from wing Horacio Agulla and Nick Auterac put Banahan over for his side's fourth try.
Henson was unfortunate to again hit the posts with his attempt, but a 32-0 lead going into half time told its own story, with the Exiles having found themselves running into a wall of Blue, Black and White through almost the entirety of the first 40 minutes.
Half time: Bath Rugby 30-0 London Welsh
The Exiles were never going to allow themselves to concede as many points in the second half as they had in the first, and so it proved. Still, Northcote Green's second try after 52 minutes was a sight to behold: inside centre Ollie Devoto's kick finding Agulla - who somehow spun in the air to retrieve the ball - who fed the ball to the blindside. Henson's conversion took the lead to 37-0.
Welsh began to come alive in attack after that try, and frequent penalties and quick-taps in Bath's half eventually resulted in former Bath wing Nick Scott scoring in the left-hand corner. Replacement Welsh fly-half Will Robinson's difficult conversion from out wide was one of the high points of the afternoon for the Exiles. 37-7.
Bath struck back with fewer than ten minutes remaining, as if galvanised by the crowd's desire for one last try. Parked on the opposition tryline, replacement wing Rich Lane found himself unmarked for the best part of three seconds. In that time, scrum-half Micky Young, on for Chris Cook, passed Lane the ball for the penultimate try of the night. The conversion attempt was wide, and the score now stood at 42-7.
There was time for just one more try for Bath, with another fine maul allowing replacement lock Marcus Garratt to touch down. Again, the conversion was off-target, but it had been a successful return to the Rec for Bath.
Full time: Bath Rugby 47-7 London Welsh
Nineteen-year-old Academy lock Charlie Ewels continues the remarkable start to his season by being named captain for tomorrow’s LV= Cup match against London Welsh at the Rec (k.o. 15.00).Discover more!
No fewer than fourteen current and former members of Bath Rugby’s Academy comprise the home squad, with Ewels making only his second start for the senior team following an exemplary display against Toulouse in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
Ewels partners Tom Ellis in the second row, behind a front row of loosehead Nick Auterac, hooker Ross Batty and tighthead Kane Palma-Newport.
Openside Guy Mercer, blindside Max Northcote-Green and number eight David Sisi form the back row, whilst Chris Cook and Gavin Henson start at nine and 10 respectively.
Inside centre Ollie Devoto and outside centre Matt Banahan make up a powerful midfield combination, with a well-balanced back three of fullback Luke Arscott and wings Horacio Agulla (11) and Olly Woodburn (14).
Team to face London Welsh
15. Luke Arscott
14. Olly Woodburn
13. Matt Banahan
12. Ollie Devoto
11. Horacio Agulla
10. Gavin Henson
9. Chris Cook
1. Nick Auterac
2. Ross Batty
3. Kane Palma-Newport
4. Tom Ellis
5. Charlie Ewels (c)
6. Max Northcote-Green
7. Guy Mercer
8. David Sisi
16. Tom Dunn
17. Nathan Catt
18. Juan Pablo Orlandi
19. Marcus Garratt
20. Tom Woolstencroft
21. Micky Young
22. Max Clark
23. Richard Lane
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The ultimate aim of the Junior Membership Club is to inspire more children to lead fitter, healthier and more active lifestyles. We have set up an initiative called the ‘Children’s Challenge’ which is a set of fitness games created by the players aimed at girls and boys aged up to 15 years.