Bath does not meet the requirements, but David Flatman warns the club in crisis not to wield the ax yet
Bath is in a “horrible place”, but when the team held a crisis meeting on Tuesday, they were told that regime change was not at stake. For now, anyway.
However, the situation is critical. Last Sunday, Bath lost 71-17 to Saracens at the Rec. It was their worst loss in the league at home and a record number of points conceded.
It was his fourth consecutive loss in the Premiership, the first time in 20 years, and a ninth loss in his last 10 competitive games. They are the last of the table and this afternoon they go to the Harlequin champions.
Bath suffered a league-record 71-17 loss to Saracens at The Rec last weekend
Sam Underhill (left) was in action when his team conceded a record number of points at home.
Bath is a great name, but after a series of losses, he comes in last place in the Gallagher Premiership.
While it is understood that the coaches accepted the blame for not preparing the team well enough to face the Saracens, they apparently retain the backing of owner Bruce Craig and the rest of the club’s hierarchy.
Despite reports that Steve Diamond was to be hired, the former Sale rugby director has yet to be named to any position.
Stuart Hooper, in his third season as a rookie rugby director, says he doesn’t feel his job is on the line.
“Bruce is very supportive,” he said. ‘I know we have to turn this around, but it is not driven by pressure from above. It’s not about ‘You must win or else’. They come from the point of view of the desire to support me and support this group in a difficult time. ”
Steve Diamond (left) reportedly brought in, but Stuart Hooper’s (right) job is still safe
Former Bath mainstay David Flatman, now a leading television expert, says regime change is not the answer. Hooper is the eighth director of rugby since 2004 and Flatman advocates stability at this troubled time.
“There are a number of people who want Hooper to go, but a lot of the people who say ‘Hooper out’ will be the people who will complain about Bath’s shortsightedness,” he said. “What a lot of Bath fans want is the formula that hasn’t worked: ‘Fire him and get another.’
‘What are the models that are working? Saracens and Exeter. There is a level of continuity there that Bath fans envy, but they envy and call for the director or rugby to be fired. It is contradictory.
Stuart Hooper, to declare interest, is a great friend. But my honest opinion is that if you think he is such a special individual, why fire him as someone who has learned all these brutal lessons? But there is no quick fix for a club that has underperformance built into its DNA. ‘
Bath has lost four straight Premiership games, including a 20-19 loss to Sale Sharks
Danny Cipriani (center) looks dejected during Bath’s record loss to the Saracens last week
Bath is a big name in English rugby, yet it’s a time since it was a force.
Their last significant honor was a European Challenge Cup title in 2008. It was 10 years earlier that they won the continent’s top prize and in 1996 that the national title was last taken to Rec.
In the modern era, it has been a team in the middle of the table most of the time, despite having a formidable team.
It’s hard to imagine a sudden resurgence, as a tough roster of matches includes trips to Premiership leader Leicester and Irish giant Leinster. But Bath captain Charlie Ewels is desperate to be part of a backlash on Saturday before joining the England team.
Lock Ewels said: ‘Of course it hurts, but you have to use that pain to drive change. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me and I don’t feel sorry for me. I want to use that (Saracen) result as fuel to make sure it never happens again.
Captain Charlie Ewels (center) is desperate to be part of a reaction performance on Saturday
“I’ve been a part of this club for a long time and we’ve been one of those consistently inconsistent yo-yo teams.
‘I don’t just want to see a knee-jerk reaction this weekend, then the next week it’s like,’ Well we’ve done it now so we can play bad again.
‘The last game should be a catalyst to awaken something within us. We can’t keep going up and down. ‘
There are so many problems to address in so many areas. The lack of a specialized defense coach has been exposed time and again, despite Hooper insisting that head coach Neal Hatley can cover for him. Influential midfielders Ben Spencer and Danny Cipriani have missed early season games.
On Saturday, Bath must try to stop Marcus Smith, but not long ago they thought he could join them, until Paul Gustard left Quins and chose to stay where he was.
Harlequin’s Marcus Smith (left), who nearly finished at The Rec, is Bath’s biggest threat
Before that, Bath was linked to Springbok’s playmaker Handre Pollard, but instead went to Montpellier. They have been hampered by endless delays in the Rec’s proposed remodel and the often poor condition of the field. And they have been hampered by a lack of identity.
Flatman highlighted that problem, saying: ‘Identity is bullshit in the language of the administration until you have one. Bath has no identity. They had one: a strong against five in the post-lockout season, but the day they lost to Exeter in the semi-final is the day they died.
The first five are working in Bath. You can have as many plans as you want, but if your top five doesn’t give you at least parity each week, your plan is a waste of time. Bath does not intimidate anyone. Having an occasionally threatening attack is not enough. ‘
The Harlequins, also on the mend after losing at Sale last Friday, admit to being surprised by Bath’s absence against the Saracens.
Harlequins will also look to bounce back from the loss to the Sale Sharks last Friday.
Jerry Flannery, the champions ‘lineout and defense coach, said: “The Saracens’ result would have shaken them. People will question your wish when you submit so many points. They are in a horrible place after the weekend. It is 100% alarming. That was a horrible hiding place. You cannot ignore it.
“We have told the players to mentally put themselves in their position. If he conceded 70 points at home, he would be very embarrassed. They can’t get in shape, improve their skills, or change their game plan, so all they can do is try harder. They need to have a lot more intent and aggression.
When you look at Bath, its facilities, roster of players and quality coaches, it’s hard to figure out what’s missing. I don’t know what is missing.
Flannery’s view would be shared by many who have been baffled by Bath’s long underperforming era.
On Saturday, they face a reckoning. Eventually, if there is no change, there will be even more damaging disorders.