With the new season now under a month away the pieces are beginning to come together for a Bath team who ended last season with more questions being asked than answered.
A week ago it was confirmed that Todd Blackadder would be the new Director of Rugby at Bath and would be bringing with him Tabai Matson as the team’s new Head Coach. The pair join Bath following spells with the Crusaders.
Blackadder led the New Zealand based team to four Super Rugby semi-finals and two finals since joining them in 2009 as Head Coach. He is a known leader having captained the All Black’s in 14 of his 25 caps.
Matson has served under Blackadder since 2013 and has been central to developing the attacking styles of the Crusaders who have boasted superstars such as; Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg, Kieran Read and Nemani Nadolo. Matson’s experience also comes on an international scale as he has been Fiji’s attack coach for the past year helping the Fijians during the Rugby World Cup.
As well as bringing in new coaches Bath have been busy with seven new recruits joining the set-up and more still expected. Jack Walker, Michael van Vuuren, Elliot Stooke, Luke Charteris and Taulupe Faletau are looking to bolster Bath’s pack whereas Kahn Fotuali’I and Harry Davies will be hoping to bring some additional flair to an already exciting Bath backline.
New arrivals often lead to departures of which Bath have seen 15. Notable names include Kyle Eastmond who will join a new look Wasps back line, Ollie Devoto who has gone in search of more game time with last season’s runners up Exeter Chiefs and Leroy Houston who has gone back home to Australia with the Queensland Reds in an attempt to get into Michael Cheika’s Australian squad.
Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson won’t be following in the footsteps of Devoto or Eastmond as both the young England internationals have signed contract extensions which will keep them at the club until 2019.
Although the squad could do with a few more recruits over the next month the pieces are beginning to come together for Bath who will be hoping last season’s disappointments become a distant memory.