It’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride this season with the highs of Saracens, Leicester and Toulon earlier in the campaign compared to a more frustrating and indifferent period after Christmas.
We are well aware that the performances haven’t matched up with the fantastic support we’ve had this season. This will be addressed in the off-season, and there are a number of changes as explained in Tarquin’s note that will support our ambition to be competing at the highest level on all fronts.
Whilst there is a sense of disappointment, we are really excited about the journey ahead. We have all the foundations in place - it’s now just about piecing that together and delivering consistently on the field.
I am delighted in particular to welcome Girvan Dempsey into the coaching team for 2018/19. He will be a great addition to the group, and we expect him to help us unlock our fearsome backline potential which is something I am sure you will all look forward to seeing at the Rec next season. He will feed into our planning for 2018/19 and he will be with us throughout the pre-season as we build up to what we hope is a flying start to the new campaign.
The squad will be bolstered by the likes of Jamie Roberts, Will Chudley, Joe Cokanasiga and Jackson Willison, who will provide added depth and experience to the back line.
Jamie’s record speaks for itself – he’s been involved in two British and Irish Lions tours and won nearly 100 caps for Wales, so I have no doubt that he’s going to have an immediate impact for the Club.
The squad will be in a really strong place with the likes of Semesa Rokoduguni, Francois Louw, Sam Underhill, Nathan Catt and Taulupe Faletau among those who will get a pre-season under their belts after missing a considerable part of the season through injury. Whilst we’ve missed a number of high profile players, it’s been really pleasing to see the likes of Beno Obano, Zach Mercer, Tom Dunn and Josh Bayliss continue their rise in the first team. We have a number of promising players coming through the system, and with the work Andy Rock and his team are doing in the Academy, there is a bright future for the Club.
Our last two games against Gloucester and London Irish indicated the potential of this group, and if we can sustain that over the course of the season, we can be a match for anyone. What was really important was that we secured Champions Cup rugby, which is what all the supporters deserve. We know it hasn’t been a vintage year, but we are determined to repay that support in 2018/19.
Thank you for all your support and we look forward to seeing the Rec full of Blue, Black and White next season.
Enjoy your break and see you in September.
PREVIOUS CLUB: HARLEQUINS
Roberts brings a wealth of experience, having racked up 94 international caps for Wales and featured in both the 2009 and 2013 British and Irish Lions Tours. His move to Bath will end a three-year stay at the Stoop, where he made over 50 appearances for Harlequins. Roberts began his career in Cardiff, spending six years with the Blues before swapping Wales for two years with French Top 14 side Racing 92.
PREVIOUS CLUB: LONDON IRISH
HONOURS: ENGLAND U20
The young winger rose quickly through the ranks at London Irish as they won promotion from the Championship in 2016/17. The 20 year-old has featured six times for the England U20s and travelled with England senior side to last summer’s tour of Argentina before a hamstring injury prevented him from making his senior debut. After finishing joint top try scorer for Irish in his first season in the top flight, Cokanasiga was named the club’s Young Player of the Season.
PREVIOUS CLUB: EXETER CHIEFS
Chudley arrives at Bath having made 119 appearances for reigning Aviva Premiership champions Exeter over a six-year period. The former Loughborough student started his senior playing career with Bedford Blues in 2007, staying at Goldington Road until 2011 where he joined Newcastle Falcons. The scrum-half moved to Devon a year later, and became something of a cult hero down at Sandy Park.
PREVIOUS CLUB: WORCESTER WARRIORS
HONOURS: MAORI ALL BLACKS
The much-travelled centre made over 40 appearances during his two-year spell at Worcester following spells in his native New Zealand and France. He won the Junior World Championship with New Zealand U20s in 2008 and has gone on to feature seven times for the Maori All Blacks. Willison spent five seasons with Waikato Chiefs before stints with the Blues and Grenoble.
HONOURS: ENGLAND SEVENS
McConnochie joins the Blue, Black and White after a successful two years in the World Sevens Series. During that time, he won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with England. The 26 year-old previously played at fullback for Nuneaton and Hartpury College and was named the England Men’s Sevens Player of the Year at the RPA Awards earlier this month.
PREVIOUS CLUB: COLOMIERS
Delmas was scheduled to join Bath Rugby in the summer, but due to injuries at tighthead, the front rower was granted early release and linked up with his new teammates last month. The 26 year-old made over 100 appearances for French side Colomiers before arriving in the West Country, where he made his debut as a replacement in The Clash at Twickenham.
PREVIOUS CLUB: YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE
Davies joins Bath from Yorkshire Carnegie after making over 30 appearances in his two years with the Championship club. The fly-half will arrive in the West Country with significant Aviva Premiership experience under his belt, having spent four seasons with London Welsh.
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