Former Bath and Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer picks his three players to watch as Bath Rugby take on reigning European Champions Leinster at the Rec on Saturday (kick-off 15:15).
The first pick is no surprise to anyone, Johnny Sexton. Named as this year’s World Rugby Player of the Year last month, the 33 year-old is an easy choice for Stringer. A talented playmaker, Sexton has been a key cog for club and country in the number 10 jersey.
Stringer said, “You’ve obviously got Sexton, a guy who controls things. He’s captain this year and when he plays for Leinster and Ireland they play like different teams.
He’s got that ability to play at the gain-line and he’s not afraid to be hit. He knows that teams are going to mark him and take him out the game. Knowing that and still taking the ball so close to the line, allows him to hold defenders and distribute out the back, and that’s where Leinster have been really strong. His composure in the big games is huge for Leinster and Ireland.”
James Lowe has really made his mark this season in both the PRO14 and the Heineken Champions Cup. Signing for the club in the 2017/18 season, Lowe has gone on to make 20 appearances for the Irish outfit, running in for 16 tries, six already this season from seven games.
Stringer said: “Lowe has been on fire on the wing. He plays with this real freedom and swag about him. He enjoys being out there and has been a great signing for them.”
JOSH VAN DER FLIER
Peter Stringer’s next choice is a player who has drawn his attention through his outstanding work-rate. After six games this season, Josh van der Flier has made 30 carries and 69 tackles. A physical back rower, der Flier is now establishing himself on the international stage with 13 caps to his name for Ireland.
Josh van der Flier is a guy that has produced for Ireland and Leinster at a young age, he’s got an incredible work-rate in terms of his tackle count and his carries. He’s one of those players that you wouldn’t pick out as a star player before the game, but when you look at his stats after the game, they are just phenomenal, he puts in over 20 tackles per game.
A limited number of tickets have been made available for this weekend's game against Leinster by clicking here or by ringing the Ticket Office on 0844 448 1865. There is good availability in Dyson Block C and South Stand Block E.