Belfast Telegraph

Hooper delight as big name duo return for Bath


Timely boost: Stuart Hooper knows victory is essential
Timely boost: Stuart Hooper knows victory is essential

By Robert Jones

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper is boosted by the return of two key players for the crucial Champions Cup clash against Clermont Auvergne at the Rec tonight.

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England centre Jonathan Joseph and flanker Mike Williams are both in the starting XV after missing last weekend's league game against Saracens.

Hooper knows that the back-to-back games against the French Top 14 side will determine Bath's fate in the European competition as they currently lie bottom of Pool Three with just two bonus points after their opening two matches.

"It is back into the Champions Cup with two massive back-to-back games against Clermont and obviously the first one has a huge significance to allowing us to stay in the competition," said Hooper. "There is one thing for sure, we have to win if we want to stay in the competition.

"You can put all the permutations to one side and focus on that. We will look to build a performance but there is a reality of what needs to come out of it."

Joe Cokanasiga, Anthony Watson, Charlie Ewels, Nathan Catt, Henry Thomas and Taulupe Faletau all remain sidelined for Bath.

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