FAN'S VIEW: Peter pulls the strings as Bath maintain Indian sign over Chiefs
Bath Rugby supporter Glyn Edwards gives his take on events at The Rec...
Despite his long and successful career with Munster and Ireland, Peter Stringer could not have expected to make such an immediate and dramatic impact for Bath Rugby as he did on Saturday.
When he left the bench after only 38 minutes to replace the unfortunate Mark McMillan, he was greeted by the crowd as if he were already one of Bath’s favourite sons and making a welcome return after a lengthy absence.
McMillan’s hamstring injury gave Stringer an early opportunity to display his considerable experience and international pedigree – and to say that he took the chance with both hands would be a clichéd understatement.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Looking so much at home behind the Bath pack that it was hard to believe that he had only been able to train with the squad for a few days, his second-half performance lifted not only his new colleagues but produced a buzz around the ground that both Bath and the contest itself sorely needed.
His two blindside tries from classic scrum-half sniping play proved to be the difference between the home side and a dogged Exeter Chiefs XV and prolonged Bath’s interest in this season’s Anglo-Welsh LV= Cup.
Stringer’s clear commitment, and appetite for his loan spell away from Munster’s reserves, was best illustrated in a late cameo when he shrugged off treatment for a knock to get back up to his feet and make a try-saving tackle on a passing Exeter player before sitting down again to receive further attention.
The match was also notable for the long-awaited debut of England hooker Rob Webber, who managed an encouraging 40 minutes after his ten-month shoulder injury lay-off, and an impressive all-round display from flanker Mat Gilbert on his first start after joining from the Scarlets late last year.
This weekend sees Bath complete their LV= Cup pool stage with a trip to Kingsholm and still in with a shout of qualifying for the semi-finals in early March.
Gloucester may only be playing for pride on Saturday but that will be enough to ensure a warm welcome from the Shed.
No Gloucester v Bath contest ever lacks for passion or neighbourly edge, so I expect a seriously-competitive team to travel up the M5.
But, in truth, even more is now at stake. Not only does a potential cup final appearance at Sixways beckon – if Bath better Northampton’s result at Exeter – but a good result would be a springboard for two vital home Premiership games against Worcester and London Irish, which provide an ideal opportunity to climb away from mid-table mediocrity.