All the hard work in pre-season was all building towards matchday one of the Gallagher Premiership against Sale Sharks.
In preparation, the Bath Rugby squad had an in-house match to counter for the cancelled fixture against Munster and faced Cardiff Rugby in an external friendly on Friday night.
In episode five of Bath Rugby Unseen, powered by Dyson, Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper discusses the process of how the team is selected for a game with a little sneak peek into the coach’s team selection meeting.
He said: “The initial view of looking at the whole squad on a board and picking 15 people for the weekend probably needs developing; there’s always a strategic view. We’ve got to navigate this squad of players from now until the end of June; you can’t just go week to week.
“Obviously what you can’t do is ink in squads for a long period of time, but we look four-game blocks. We look at availability: whether they’re (the player) fit, whether they’re away on international duty and then their load. Then when we get down into the detail of week to week.
“The coaches give their views and provide information and from that, we have a conversation about the team. Then ultimately I make the final decision about who plays.”
A 36-man squad was named to travel to Cardiff for the warm-up match with just under 50 per cent of that number homegrown.
Skills coach Ryan Davis has played a huge part in the development of some of the club’s young players and Academy graduates over the years and the 35-year-old is delighted to see so many succeed in the senior squad.
“Over the past five years, you can see we’ve had a strong intake from our Academy. The pathway has been working really well from our AASE programme, from our local schools and our private schools. They’ve all started feeding into our DPP, Under-16s, Under-18s and so on.
“You can see it’s really starting to work and we’re starting to see the fruits of our labour. It’s incredibly positive and chuffed to see boys coming through and getting colours for the first team.”
BATH RUGBY UNSEEN EPISODES