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Bath in race against time to learn new defensive system

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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England scrumhalf Ben Spencer admits new Bath defence coach Brent Janse van Rensburg is facing a race against time to sort out the second worst defence in the Premiership.

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Winless Bath are home to Gloucester Boxing Day a debilitating 10 points adrift at the bottom of the league having conceded 38 tries with just Worcester’s 50 a worse total. Warriors also have the worst negative points difference with Bath next in line on minus 136 to highlight the massive job van Rensburg is facing in a role he has been handed until the end of the season.

The new defence coach has so far only had two sessions to work with the injury hit Bath squad following his arrival from South Africa and the team now faces a Gloucester attack that can call upon Jonny May and Louis Rees-Zammit, two of the fastest wings in world rugby.

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Spencer, who is back after an eight-week injury lay off, insists news of Johann van Graan coming in as the new head coach next season plus Edward Griffiths taking over as chairman has not adversely affected preparations for the Gloucester match. He said: “Brendt has come in this week and shown us a little bit of a new direction in defence which is a bit to learn and hopefully that adds value to our game and shores up our defence. One win can change your mind set about everything.

“Gloucester are a quality outfit and their attack has looked pretty good and so we have to be bang on the money. It may take a little time to get used to Brendt’s ideas and we have to be fully committed and buy into what he is saying and if we do that it will get better.

“All those announcements are exciting for the club but we have spoken about trying to control what we can and that is performances at the weekend. I don’t think I am alone in experiencing a run like this and everyone is desperate to turn things around.

“It has been tough coming off against Sale after 15 mins which was pretty disappointing and then tough to watch the boys for eights and I just hope to get a run of games. Some of the games we have been fairly unlucky like Sale and Bristol but then if we look at ourselves we didn’t put in the performances to deserve the wins in a few of the other games. Hopefully, the wins start coming post-Christmas.”

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