After a disappointing start to the season in the Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup, Bath have been dealt further blows by the losses of three key players to injury.
The club issued an injury update on Friday afternoon, with clarification on the fitness and availability of Joe Cokanasiga, Zach Mercer and Henry Thomas moving forward.
Cokanasiga was a member of the England squad at the recent World Cup, although he arrived back at Bath with a knee injury. The update states that Cokanasiga is unable to “begin a competitive campaign” and that the club have enlisted “world-leading experts” in order to get the best opinions on how to deliver an “optimal path to recovery”.
Similarly, dynamic No8 Mercer has also been ruled out with a knee injury and although they gave no timeline on his potential return, they are also consulting specialists this week on his injury which was suffered against Ulster at the Rec last weekend. The club will provide further updates when they have them.
Unfortunately for Thomas, his season is over, with the prop having suffered an ACL injury against Wasps on November 2. Bath bolstered significantly in the front row over the summer, although his loss will still be keenly felt as the club seek to bounce back from their poor start to the campaign and compete on two fronts.
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It has been an unenviable start for new director of rugby Stuart Hooper and the former second row gave his take on the injuries to three key players. “The nature of the game and the collision-based demands of the competition is an incredibly tough part what the players do, and it is unfortunate that Zach and Henry have incurred injuries in recent weeks. They are both a huge loss.
“We are all bitterly disappointed for Henry, especially considering the amount of injuries he has had to recover from in the past few years. He has always demonstrated a huge amount of determination when it comes to his rehabilitation and we know this will serve him well again.
‘It means a huge amount. I first watched the club when I was ten, above the ground looking into it on the bridge above, and dreamt one day playing for them’
– New director of rugby Stuart Hooper tells @heagneyl exactly why @bathrugby is so special to himhttps://t.co/Dg1KXa83VA
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 14, 2019
“Joe is a phenomenal talent and a powerful athlete, and we must manage him very carefully in the coming months to allow for the issues he has come back from Japan with to begin to be resolved. We have no doubt that Henry, Zach and Joe can come back stronger and our Performance Department will support them in every possible way to ensure they have the best rehabilitation and return to performance.”
Bath are in action this weekend against Harlequins in the Champions Cup where they welcome back Anthony Watson and Francois Louw from World Cup duty, with the latter filling the void created by Mercer’s injury at No 8.
WATCH: RugbyPass went behind the scenes with the Tonga national team as they prepared for the 2019 World Cup in Japan
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