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31 March 2014, 3:09pm

Class of '98: Where Are They Now?

Bath Rugby take on Brive at home this Sunday in the Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter-Final in what is an historic fixture for the Club.

It was 16 years ago that Bath became the first British club to hoist the Heineken Cup trophy aloft, having beaten the French side 19-18.

The victorious side was studded with men now considered rugby royalty in the West Country and beyond, and in beating Brive they had triumphed over the 1997 European Champions.

The heroics of the Class of ’98 – whose special achievement that day in Bordeaux gave rise to the Rec faithful’s ‘Allez Bath’ chant – could serve to inspire Mike Ford’s new generation of Bath players on Sunday.

Here is a look at where some of Bath’s Champions of Europe are in 2014:

Mike Catt

With 220 appearances and 64 tries for Bath between 1992 and 2004, Mike Catt OBE remains something of a favourite amongst the Rec faithful. 

The oldest player ever to play in a Rugby World Cup final, South African-born Catt made 75 appearances for England, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cup Finals, and earned one British and Irish Lions cap (although he was called up for both the 1997 and 2001 tours). 

After leaving the Rec in 2004, he joined London Irish, and in 2007 he became their attack coach. The Exiles’ new brand of attacking rugby under Catt’s supervision helped guide them to a Premiership final in 2009.  

England soon came calling for Catt again: first as Backs Coach for the 2012 South Africa tour, and then in September of that year he was made full-time attacking skills coach for the England Elite players. 

Phil de Glanville

During a 12-year career at Bath, whom he captained, inside centre de Glanville made nearly 200 appearances and scored 53 tries for the men in Blue, Black and White. Capped 38 times for England, he was made captain of his country in 1996.

De Glanville is now putting all his top-level experience in the game to good use at Hartpury College in Gloucester, where he has been Director of Elite Sport since 2012. He oversees all eight of the college’s sports academies, from rugby to equestrian.

Dave Hilton

Hilton is currently the forwards coach at Championship club Moseley RFC, where he works alongside another former Bath player, head coach Kevin Maggs.

Having retired from hometown club Bristol in 2008, Hilton cut his coaching teeth at nearby Dings Crusaders in National Division Two South until taking up his post at Moseley.

As a player, he battled through controversy over the validity of his Scottish qualification to play 42 times for Scotland, his final appearance after an enforced two-year hiatus coming in a famous victory against South Africa in 2002.

Dan Lyle

Lyle came to rugby at the mature age of 23, in his final years as a history student at the Virginia Military Institute. The number eight was instrumental to USA Rugby in its seminal years, and in 1994 his potential was brought to the attention of Bath Rugby during an international match against Canada in Toronto.

He joined Bath in 1996 and endeared himself to the supporters during his seven years at the Club. A tremendous athlete, Lyle was once described by fellow Heineken Cup-winning teammate Jeremy Guscott as having “the full arsenal” of skills.

After hanging up his boots in 2003, the 45-times capped Lyle moved into the higher echelons of USA Rugby. He is now spearheading the development of USA Sevens in his role with United World Sports, including overseeing the popular Las Vegas leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Matt Perry

Perry made the transition from professional rugby to the business world seven years ago, after a glittering career for Bath, England and the British and Irish Lions.

England’s most-capped fullback, the free-running Perry started all three Lions Tests against the Wallabies in 2001 – one of the most captivating series in the touring outfit’s professional history. 

He was the third generation of his family to don the Bath jersey – after father Brendan and grandfather Idris – and in an astonishing 221 appearances for the Club he scored 561 points. He retired prematurely at the age of 30 with a bulging disc in his back.

Perry is now a group performance director with Monitise, a financial services company which is specialises in banking, paying and buying with mobile devices. He can also be found providing commentary and broadcasting for Sky Sports and BT Sport.

Key members of that infamous Heineken Cup-winning team will be doing a pre-match Q&A in the Swift Half to relive the historic win at the game on Sunday, so make sure you get your tickets to join them!

To see Bath’s new generation take a step closer to European glory, buy online, call 0844 448 1865 or visit the Ticket Office on Pulteney Bridge.

 

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