Bath Rugby aiming to maintain perfect top-flight record against Exeter Chiefs
Bath Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action on Saturday following a successful start to their Amlin Cup campaign, with Exeter Chiefs visiting The Rec (2.30pm).
Forwards coach Neal Hatley expects the visitors to bounce back from their baptism of fire in the Heineken Cup as Bath bid to maintain their perfect top-flight record against Chiefs.
“I think they are a fantastic team and Rob Baxter and Ali Hepher have done an unbelievable job,” said Hatley.
“They’ve had a run of really hard games, will be smarting after the two losses and looking to get back on track.
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“They work harder than a lot of people in the Premiership and get good reward from it. We’re under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge.”
Captain Stuart Hooper’s fitness will be assessed before the weekend and he could play for the first time in a month. Matt Banahan is also back from injury but will be given more time to recover having not played since early September.
“Stuart Hooper may be okay for the weekend,” said Hatley.
“He came through a set-session earlier this week and is a week ahead of where we thought he was going to be.
“We will know a little bit closer to the game as we want to give him as much time as possible because he’s very important to us.
“Hopefully Matt Banahan isn’t a lot longer away either. We’re in a fortunate position that Ben Williams has been playing well in the last two weeks, so we don’t have to rush Matt but we’d obviously like him back as soon as possible.”