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Bath player ratings vs Leinster | Champions Cup

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

BATH PLAYER RATINGS: Of all the venues to dispatch struggling Bath to on their opening European assignment of the season, Aviva Stadium in Dublin always had the makings of a belated Halloween nightmare rather than a Christmas fairy tale. So it proved, Stuart Hooper’s side adding to their nine-match losing streak from the Gallagher Premiership by keeping the L sequence intact with a 45-20 trouncing at the hands of Leinster. 


To give them a sliver of credit, they didn’t throw their wooly hat at this Everest-like challenge pre-game, making just the four changes to their starting XV after having 40 points put on them last weekend at Northampton in their latest league setback. 

Wholesale changes would have indicated they weren’t interested but in bringing a team that still included the likes of Ben Spencer, Will Stuart and Charlie Ewels across the Irish Sea, the impression was that they would try and give this a decent rattle despite the level of inexperience evident in having youngsters such as Orlando Bailey, Will Butt and others in the thick of it.   

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Ex-All Blacks prop John Afoa guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload

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Ex-All Blacks prop John Afoa guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload

The long-shot hope was that Bath wouldn’t be further English fodder in Europe, as happened when Racing ripped asunder Northampton on Friday night, and while they did take an early 3-0 lead, that advantage lasted only seconds as they were swiftly blown away by an opposition that very much has designs on going all the way and lifting the trophy in Marseille in late May.  

Seven tries to two was the eventual outcome on a bruising Champions Cup day where the Bath player ratings made difficult reading for those involved:

Just the second Champions Cup outing for the son of ex-England skipper Phil and there was much for him to take in given Leinster’s all-court attack and the composed manner in which opposite number Hugo Keenan played the full-back role. New short-term signing Tom Prydie replaced him on 67 minutes. 

A Rolls-Royce type player who loves beating defenders, there wasn’t a crumb for him to work with during an outing where tackling and trying to shut the broken door was the priority. Achieved that task for the most part until he was unable to hold up the second-half scoring Josh van der Flier in the corner.  


13. WILL BUTT – 4
The rookie looked hapless as Leinster broke for their first try just five minutes in and his efforts didn’t get spectacularly better after that which was no shame given the calibre of the opponent he has to face. Lessons will surely be well learned. 

12. MAX OJOMOH – 4
Another with ex-England team lineage, the son of Steve, but he was another whose inexperience at this level unfortunately got shown up. Similar to Butt, this will go down as a lesson he will take so much from.   

11. WILL MUIR – 4
A Gallagher Premiership newcomer just last weekend, his fragility was witnessed in the defence for the fourth Leinster try when he stepped left rather than holding his position, allowing Keenan a straight run to the try line. Was then beaten by Jordan Larmour on a kick-chase and needed the TMO to rule no try. Stuck around for 71 minutes until the consolation try-scoring Gabe Hamer-Webb was introduced.      

Chosen instead of Danny Cipriani, the youngster endured a day at school here as opposite number Ross Byrne had an armchair ride compared to Bailey’s difficult excursion behind a back-peddling pack and a defence at sixes and sevens. Kicked his first two penalties but then missed a third before Leinster raced clear on the first-half scoreboard. can only benefit from the experience of playing in front of a crowd of 25,400 in such testing circumstances,   


One of the injured players most missed by Bath this term, he had been lively in recent weeks on his return but that much-needed energy wasn’t influential here in a game where scrum-half counterpart Jamison Gibson-Park continued where he left off with Ireland against the All Blacks last month. Bath needed some trademark Spencer sniping to help swing momentum but there was no room for him to manoeuvre up against a monster Leinster back row. Sub Joe Simpson was given the last 13 minutes in his place.

Carried well for some hard-won metres, he was also a busy tackler but his presence was relatively immaterial. Another who lasted 67 minutes before Arthur Cordwell was introduced. 

The South African got the selection jump on Tom Dunn for this fixture and while he can’t take satisfaction by how his pack was torn apart to trail 31-6 just 29 wounding minutes in as he had too many missed tackles himself, he at least went on to enjoy the good moment that was scoring off a pre-interval lineout move down the short side. Replaced by Tom Dunn at the break, who quickly demonstrated heft when helping to win an early second-half scrum penalty only for the resulting lineout to go astray.  

Featured for England off the bench versus Tonga last month, but he conceded the game’s first scrum penalty at a time when the early momentum decisively swung Leinster’s way. There were some scrum penalties won back later by his front row but he gave way on the hour to D’Arcy Rae.

Capped by England for the first time in the summer, the 30-something lock was included ahead of Mike Williams but he departed likely wishing he wasn’t as the engine room grunt badly needed by his struggling forwards didn’t materialise. Gave way on 52 minutes for Will Spencer. 

Had a terrible last day in Dublin when part of the England team that was dismantled by Ireland in the Six Nations last March and that misery continued here with his pack under the pump and short of answers in how to cope with the Leinster dominance.  

6. TOM ELLIS – 6
Another forward whose resistance was swamped amid the general malaise that was a back on the back foot and struggling to catch its breath.

A first Champions Cup start and appearance for Bath, he had the onerous task of trying to ensure the breakdown nuisance of Sam Underhill wasn’t missed. It was, savagely so. The flanker’s lowlight was leaving his team a man short with his 24th-minute yellow card for collapsing a maul, an absence accompanied by twelve more Leinster points. Was then given a major sit-down by the carrying Andrew Porter early in the second half.

The recently capped new Scotland international could only do so much fight a cause that was lost far too early but he can at least grasp the straw that was providing du Toit with the assist for the hooker’s try on 38 minutes. His more generally difficult outing was summed up when getting isolated on the penalised second-half carry that gave Leinster back the possession for their sixth try. Exited on 60 minutes for Ewan Richards.


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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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