Don’t despair, this post has got nothing to do with justifying the huge sums of money spent by Bruce Craig, over the past few years. Rather, it is about a more fundamental issue that could have a defining impact on England’s World Cup bid later this year.
Over the last couple of seasons, despite spending large sums of money on international quality players, there has been one core trend throughout Bath’s side. That trend has been the introduction of exciting, young English talent into the first team.
You only have to look at names like Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, George Ford, Anthony Watson, Henry Thomas, and the list goes on. Not only have Bath given these young English players a chance in the Premiership, but they have also given them the freedom to express themselves.
Under Mike Ford, Bath play with a freedom that allows their talented youngsters to really shine, which is incredibly uncommon in modern rugby. So many sides these days seek to stifle creativity to varying extends in order to play the percentages.
Instead, Bath play a brand of exciting rugby that has allowed players like Ford, Watson and Joseph to really flourish on both the domestic and international stage. However, despite their recent successes, many people still question this style of play.
Fortunately through a mixture of fortune and fate, England found themselves utilising a number of Bath’s current backline during this years Six Nations. This saw them having to play a more expansive game plan which produced exciting results.
The problem however, is that should Bath once again fail to make a serious bid for the Premiership title this season, it’s easy to see Stuart Lancaster reverting to a safer, more forward driven approach, employed by the likes of Leicester and Northampton.
For this reason, it would be fantastic to see Bath claim the Premiership title this year, to allow their talented youngsters to help propel England into the World Cup later this year. There’s no doubting everyone enjoys their approach, now we just need to see that it works at the top level.