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The Bath update on Finn Russell after star injured in Exeter loss

By PA
Finn Russell of Bath Rugby is substituted off for teammate Orlando Bailey as he leaves the pitch following an injury during the Investec Champions Cup Round Of 16 match between Exeter Chiefs and Bath Rugby at Sandy Park on April 06, 2024 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Bath boss Johann van Graan was left to painfully reflect on injuries suffered by Scotland internationals Finn Russell and Cameron Redpath following his team’s 21-15 Investec Champions Cup defeat against Exeter.

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Fly-half playmaker Russell went off due to a suspected groin injury after just 15 minutes at a windswept Sandy Park.

Centre Redpath, meanwhile, departed during the third quarter because of an ankle problem, with Bath seeing a 15-7 lead wiped out as Exeter secured a quarter-final clash against Toulouse or Racing 92 next weekend.

Video Spacer

Finn Russell discusses THAT big tackle on Cameron Woki

Video Spacer

Finn Russell discusses THAT big tackle on Cameron Woki

“It is a contact sport, a collision sport,” Bath head of rugby Van Graan said.

“It is not often you lose your 10, who is a very important player for us, in the first half, and then your 12 in the second-half.

“We were disrupted, but that’s the game. Obviously, the game is a lot easier if it doesn’t happen.

“We will take our time with Finn. It was a big moment in this game when he went off. It (injury) seems like somewhere in the groin area, and Cam looks like an ankle.”

Exeter, tournament winners in 2020, scored tries through number eight Ross Vintcent, replacement Greg Fisilau and flanker Ethan Roots, with Roots’ England colleague Henry Slade kicking three conversions.

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Points Flow Chart

Exeter Chiefs win +6
Time in lead
20
Mins in lead
40
25%
% Of Game In Lead
50%
62%
Possession Last 10 min
38%
0
Points Last 10 min
0

Bath claimed first-half touchdowns from prop Thomas du Toit and flanker Ted Hill, while captain Ben Spencer added a conversion and penalty, but they could not build on a healthy advantage early in the second period.

Van Graan added: “We came here to win. A European knockout game away from home comes down to small margins, and I think both teams found the conditions incredibly difficult with and without the ball.

“We are incredibly disappointed, and we will regroup. There are a lot of hurt men, but they are hurt because they care.

“It is a tough one to take, but that’s rugby. We win together and we lose together. It was a brilliant game played in the right spirit, and we came one score short.”

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England wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso was at the heart of Exeter’s best attacking moments, and Chiefs rugby director Rob Baxter hailed his performance.

“He is the closest replacement to a Jack Nowell we could have had, a guy who just gets you metres out of nowhere. And he is getting better at it,” Baxter said.

“He is only learning how to use those talents that he has. At least two of our tries came from momentum he gained almost on his own, at times when he didn’t deserve to get momentum. That shows his value.”

Attack

182
Passes
67
176
Ball Carries
66
294m
Post Contact Metres
109m
5
Line Breaks
1

Exeter were crushed 41-5 by Gallagher Premiership opponents Sale Sharks last weekend, and Baxter added: “The guys have responded in the best way possible. Fair play to them.

“The one thing we had today was absolute full-blooded commitment, and we were in the game physically from the first minute.

“We got an awful lot of hard work done in the first half. The bits you do right from the start add up and actually win you the game.

“We were probably a bit more ambitious in the second half, which allowed us to create a couple of opportunities. We have won a very important game for the club.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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