Bath wait for England reinforcements after narrow win over Newcastle
Bath will waste little time in bringing their England stars back into the mix after a disjointed 21-19 win at home to Newcastle on Friday night.
Newcastle have gone 18 months without a win on the road in the Aviva Premiership but almost got some joy here as poor discipline hurt Bath, leaving them to rely on two first-half tries from Semesa Rokoduguni and 11 points from the boot of Tom Homer.
Bath did just enough to open up a 20-point margin over bottom club London Irish, and they are now looking forward to having the likes of George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson returning for the Aviva Premiership run-in.
"The cavalry is appearing over the hill," said first team coach Neal Hatley.
"All we talked about this week was getting a win and getting those players back next week.
"Going into next week at Gloucester on the back of a defeat would have been a real downer."
Rokoduguni has also been training with England, but Bath could be grateful for having him on the pitch on Friday.
Hatley said: "Roko has been outstanding all season in a side that has been nowhere near as fluent as we'd like to be or as we were last year. He either goes round you or over you - and he's unbelievable in the air. He's been a real constant for us and long may it continue. He brings a lot of x-factor."
Hatley also revealed that second row Dave Attwood was back in training this week and will be under consideration.
"Dave has been training with us this week, in contact, but we don't want to rush him," he said. "There are five or six big games coming up."
Newcastle's director of rugby Dean Richards said his side were their own worst enemies as the long wait for an away win goes on.
"We probably left 16 to 18 points out there on the field," he said. "It's frustrating for the players. They are sitting in the dressing room kicking themselves because they're thinking they probably did enough to win today.
"They know where they went wrong and they'll be out there on the training pitch next week trying to put it right.
"We'll get there. It's coming and we haven't had a selection issue before but we starting to get one now because people are putting their hands up and saying: 'Pick me'."