The fiercest foes
Miles Harrison is looking forward to one of the fiercest rivals in the Premiership as Bath host Gloucester.
Last Updated: 01/10/10 10:43am
Bath are relishing the chance to build on their impressive win over Sale by tackling local rivals Gloucester.
Having lost out to Northampton, Bath responded by picking up a bonus point win over the Sharks - and will be looking for more of the same against Gloucester.
Gloucester have not had the best of starts to the season but their win against Wasps last weekend would have buoyed them and a win against their old enemy may just fire them up for the rest of the season.
However having won just once in 13 previous visits to The Rec, Miles Harrison says the Cherry and Whites have a mountain to climb.
This is one of the biggest derby's in the premiership Miles, does that affect preparation?
MILES REPLIES: Well, I have been with both clubs this week during training sessions and it was pretty clear that they were getting ready for this match just as they would for any game in the Premiership, with their usual thoroughness. However, derby games do add something extra, on match day itself - whatever the sport. And, I suppose, that is where the preparation kicks in as you find out who can stick to the plans, or use the knowledge acquired during the week, in order to help them through those moments of added local pressure.
How do you think Ian McGeechan, Lewis Moody and Sam Vesty have settled into life at the Rec?
MILES REPLIES: Who wouldn't settle in well in such a gorgeous city?! But, on the rugby side of things, Ian McGeechan just loves being in a tracksuit and it is great to see him still involved at this level and even greater for Bath to have him involved. Lewis Moody is clearly relishing this new challenge at this stage of his career. And, I think, Sam Vesty is a really canny signing - Vesty is a reliable performer who does a fair bit more than he is often given credit for. All three have undoubtedly brought something extra to Bath.
Ben Williams has come off the bench to perform very well, how impressed have you been with him?
MILES REPLIES: I think he looks a good prospect. One thing that struck me when at training is that he is a big lad. Last season he had a physical presence but there seems to be even more of him this year and that size, combined with his other skills, will mean that Williams should be a handful this season when it gets the chance. He has actually been left out this week with Jack Cuthbert and Tom Biggs getting the bench spots but Williams looks like a good player in the making.
Talking about coming off the bench Nicky Robinson's efforts against London Wasps were not bad either were they?
MILES REPLIES: Yes, Robinson 'the boot' did really well. They were cracking kicks especially after those misses earlier in the season. He rose to the challenge and that is the mark of a good character let alone player. But, as we know, there is so much more to Robinson's game - that lovely pass for starters - and he gets the opportunity to show what he can do from the first whistle this week with Tim Taylor out injured.
Gloucester are always defined as a 'giant' of English rugby, but they remain perennial underachievers is that fair on the Cherry and Whites?
MILES REPLIES: It has to be considering the lack of trophies at Kingsholm over the years. We all know that in more recent times Gloucester have been 'unlucky' to finish top of the pile three times during the play-off era (when on each occasion they won more games than any other side in the regular league that season) only to fall away in the games that really mattered. So, in that respect they have certainly 'under-achieved'. A mid-table start after four rounds of this season is not great but it is not too bad either. Having squeaked the home wins against Leeds and Wasps, Gloucester know that victory at Bath would totally transform their start and give them that much needed win on the road.
Their away from has not been too good this season, how important is it for them to change that and can it start on Friday?
MILES REPLIES: It's not been too good this season, or last season for that matter. Gloucester have won only once away in the Premiership since October 2009 and that was at relegated Worcester in May and it was only by one point! So, it is really important that this changes and changes soon. Will it be Friday? Well, it could be - but Bath will clearly start as favourites and I certainly wouldn't disagree with that assessment. The forecast bad weather may be a leveller but Bath at the Rec are a tough proposition these days and Gloucester know it. I hope you can join us on Friday night for what is always one of the highlight fixtures of the season.