Friday, 30 November 2012

Back to the '80s: Retro Rivalry

Bath head to Welford road this Saturday for a lunchtime kick off and a renewal of one of the game's great rivalries.

The rivalry was forged in the late 80s and early 90s as they clashed time and time again in the Cup and also the League. It reached its apogee in the 1996 Pilkington Cup Final, when Bath won with a controversial late penalty try, Neil Back pushed over referee Steve Lander and the Tigers refused to collect their losers tankards.  Can you imagine the club getting away with doing that now?

Tigers welcome back 2 players from the Autumn Internationals; Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni both start in the front row, but Steve Mafi and Vereniki Goneva both miss out dispite strong Autumn showings.  Brett Deacon comes into the side at blindside flanker in place of Jordan Crane, and Anthony Allen returns to the side after missing out with illness.  

Geordan Murphy is again overlooked as both full back and captain as he is named on the bench.  I just don't understand this.  He hasn't suddenly got rubbish, he's still our best full back and still this squad's premier leader.  Tait is a good player, all our players are good, but he doesn't offer the cooler head to the young half backs, doesn't offer the extra kicing option and doesn't offer the leadership that Murphy does.

Bath hand Horacio Agulla his first start and can also call upon Welsh international Paul James, South African Francois Louw and newly discovered Scotsman Tom Heathcote as both sides continue to miss their England internationals.  It is a crying shame for the fans as once again we are denied the chance to watch one of the seasons biggest matches with the best players available.

Graham Kitchener makes his 20th start for the club whilst Castro will be making his 85th start for the Tigers and playing his 135th game two weeks winning his 90th cap for Italy.  Castro made his debut back in 2006 against Sale and has bagged 7 tries in his 134 games so far.  Kitchener is a more recent arrival after joining last season but will be pleased to have earned his club tie, the first major milestone in any players Tigers career.
Tigers Fly Half George Ford will come face to face with his Dad Bath's defence coach Mike Ford.  This will be the second time they've faced off and George will be hoping of a repeat of the first time when Tigers trashed Mike's Newcastle side 42-15

Tomorrow's referee is Tim Wigglesworth, on his 7th visit to Welford Road and his 9th Tigers game overall.  Last year he was the man with the whistle when Tigers visited the Wreck, the World Cup had denuded both sides of its best players that day.  Jeremy Staunton missed a last minute penalty after giving Tigers an early lead with an intercept try as Bath won 26-25.  Wigglesworth was also the referee that Cockerill called a "useless cunt" after his poor performance in an LV Cup match against Newport back in 2009.  Hopefully we won't see a repeat of either the performance or the outburst.

15 Mathew Tait
14 Niall Morris
13 Matt Smith
12 Anthony Allen
11 Adam Thompstone
10 George Ford
9 Sam Harrison
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
4 Louis Deacon (c)
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Brett Deacon
7 Julian Salvi
8 Thomas Waldrom

BENCH: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Geordan Murphy.

15 Nick Abendanon
14 Kyle Eastmond
13 Horacio Agulla
12 Matt Banahan
11 Tom Biggs
10 Stephen Donald
9 Michael Claassens
1 Paul James
2 Lee Mears
3 Anthony Perenise
4 Stuart Hooper ( c )
5 Dave Attwood
6 Francois Louw
7 Guy Mercer
8 Simon Taylor
BENCH: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Jack Cuthbert


The match kicks off at 12:30 and is live on ESPN with coverage starting at noon.


  1. Well done on breaking the c barrier for the first time on this blog!

  2. Just quoting the big man himself!