On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone joining us at The Rec for our first home game of the season against Jersey Reds, and welcome back to all supporters and followers of Bath Rugby after an extended pre-season.
The extended pre-season has provided an excellent opportunity for us to embed new coaches, staff and players and everyone at the club is incredibly excited for the season to be getting underway with the Premiership Rugby Cup, at the same time as the Rugby World Cup pool matches where we wish the best of luck to all of our players in France.
Because of the Rugby World Cup, our season starts with a block of Premiership Rugby Cup pool matches providing a critical opportunity for our emerging players to take ownership of our performance in the competition.
Led by Ewan Richards, we won a hard-fought contest at Cornish Pirates last Friday, and Jersey Reds will provide another stiff test in this weekend’s game, together with invaluable experience for a squad of developing and home-grown players who are so important for our future.
We are delighted to be opening our home season with a double header as Bath RFC Ladies host Newbury Women RFC at 15:15 following the men’s Premiership Cup game.
This season sees us deepening our partnership with Bath RFC Ladies through our investment in resources - including strength & conditioning - our Women’s Performance Rugby Lead Maria Crowfoot taking on the Head Coach role at Bath RFC Ladies, and through our performance partnership with the University of Bath enabling the team to train at the University’s elite Sports Training Village.
We were disappointed both with the outcome of the Premier 15s tender process for season 2023/24, and with the tender process itself.
However, our commitment to the women’s game is undiminished at grassroots level where we are increasing our investment in female participation and performance hubs this season; through the pathway, as we continue to grow the number of players studying whilst playing at Bath College in our pathway partnership, and as we invest in our partnership with the University of Bath women’s team (with five University of Bath students featuring in Bath RFC Ladies team against Newbury); and through our increased partnership investment in Bath RFC Ladies, supporting the team’s development as an elite Championship side.
We are committed to inspiring the next generation of players, male and female, and it is important that we do so sustainably as part of the long-term future of the club.
At our recent season launch event, I explained that our planning submission was close, and I look forward to updating you on our planning application in the very near future. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been working tirelessly to develop our planning submission. I would also like to thank all of you, our supporters, partners and fans for your support for the club and our unwavering commitment to keep rugby in the heart of Bath.
We are all looking forward to the season ahead, both on and off the pitch, and we’re delighted that you are with us once again.
Thank you as ever for your loyal and passionate support, and let’s enjoy the start of our season tomorrow against Jersey Reds, and then against Newbury Women RFC.
Best wishes, Tarquin
For the Premiership Rugby Cup competiton, the club will not be providing a match day programme.
We look forward to bringing the programme back for 2023/24 at the commencement of the Gallagher Premiership in October.