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Bath on the brink of losing one of their biggest weapons

By Alex Shaw
The Bath team huddle together during a break in play. Aviva Premiership match, between Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers on September 14, 2013 at the Recreation Ground in Bath, England. Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

According to a report in the Bath Chronicle today, long-serving utility back Matt Banahan could be departing Bath at the end of the season.

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The big winger, who has also excelled in the midfield in recent seasons, is in the last year of his deal with the club and if the report is to be believed, Banahan and the club are at loggerheads over a new deal.

The club have reportedly offered Banahan a new two-year deal on the same terms of his previous five-year deal but the deadline the club issued him with to sign the contract has come and gone without the player putting pen to paper.

Banahan, who turns 31 next month, has been at the club for over 10 years now and has been one of the club’s most prominent players over that period and shown none of the signs of regression that can occur in players in the latter stages of their careers.

His versatility has been particularly key for Bath, who do not maintain the largest of squads in the Premiership and if he does see out his deal with the club and not sign an extension, there will be no shortage of suitors interested in him.

The Chronicle’s report lists West Country rivals Bristol and Gloucester as two interested parties.

Bristol have already added Steven Luatua and Ian Madigan to their side, admitting that they weren’t prepared for the quality of the Premiership last season, whilst Charles Piutau has also agreed a blockbuster move and will join next season. Scotland’s Jonny Gray is also firmly in Bristol’s sights and adding Banahan would give them another experienced operator to build around should they make it back to the Premiership.

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As for Gloucester, they are facing the prospect of losing star flanker Ross Moriarty to one of the Welsh regions – most likely the Dragons – and will be keen to replace his powerful carrying. The Cherry and Whites’ back line has been stretched thin by injuries this season and the versatility that Banahan brought to Bath when they suffered a similar crisis could appeal to Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys.

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