Aviva Premiership Team-by-team Guide: Part 1

Aviva Rugby

The waiting is nearly over for the Aviva Premiership to start and to continue our build up, we have profiled every team competing in what is shaping up to be the best season yet. Do you agree with our assesment of the teams’ chances?

BathTeam: Bath Rugby
Coach: Gary Gold
Ground: The Rec’
Key players in:
Paul James (Ospreys), Rob Webber (Wasps), Dominic Day (Scarlets) and Horacio Agulla (Leicester).
Key players out:
David Flatman (Retired), Duncan Bell (Clifton), Scott Hobson (Retired) and Matt Carraro (Montpellier).
Strengths:
Bath’s strengths have always lay in having a solid platform from which to launch. In the west country they pride themselves on their ability to scrum and actually label it an art form, whilst their line-out tends to be one of the best in the premiership.
Weaknesses:
Their blunt attack. Bath last season had a distinct lack of ability to score tries. In the entire season they only had two matches where they managed to breach the whitewash more than 4 times, compared to Leicester’s 9.
Player Watch:
Matt Banahan is a beast of a man who looks out of place on the wing, yet strangely, he has a turn of pace and the hands to be considered a prospect for England. Look out for a big season from the big man as he tries to force his way back into international reckoning.
Last season:
Disappointing season, finished 8th.
Prediction:
A better season for the Rec’ faithful has to be predicted and they should be there or thereabouts pushing for 6th place (Heineken Cup), but I can see them just missing out. 7th.
Website: http://www.bathrugby.com/
Twitter: @bathrugby
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bathrugby
Click here to join the Bath Fans league on SuperBru

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ChiefsTeam: Exeter Chiefs
Coach: Rob Baxter
Ground: Sandy Park
Key players in:
Carl Rimmer (Cornish Pirates), Jack Yeandle (Doncaster), Damian Welch (Scarlets), Dean Mumm (Waratahs), Kai Horstmann (Worcester), Will Chudley (Newcastle), Ian Whitten (Ulster) and Watisoni Votu (Vuda Blues).
Key players out:
John Andress (Worcester), Chris Bentley (Retired), Chad Slade (Oyonnax), Patrick Phibbs and Bryan Rennie (Bristol).
Strengths:
Exeter’s strength lies in the word ‘team.’ They stand for the good old values of hard work and commitment and it has taken them all the way to the promised land of Heineken Cup rugby in a very short space of time. With Gonzalo Camacho, Ignacio Mieres and Tom Johnson, their players are finally getting the praise and international recognition that they deserve.
Weaknesses:
The negative that comes with Heineken Cup rugby is the added pressure and physicality it brings. Every game will be as tough as it gets and players and coaches will not be able to switch off for one moment as teams in this competition, unlike others they have played, will punish you. Injuries could be a problem as they lack the squad depth of other Aviva Premiership teams.
Player to watch:
Watch out for the flying Argentine winger Camacho and their new Fijian express train Watisoni Votu. Mieres is a class operator at fly-half and Tom Johnson is a ball-carrying machine in the forwards.
Last season:
Last season they surpassed all expectations and finished 5th.
Prediction:
Will struggle to commit to that many pressure games with the same intensity of last season, but with the same work ethic and belief, will still be a good season to be a Chief. 8th.
Website: http://www.exeterchiefs.co.uk/
Twitter: @ExeterChiefs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExeterChiefs
Click here to join the Exeter Fans league on SuperBru

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GloucesterTeam: Gloucester Rugby
Coach: Nigel Davies
Ground: Kingsholm
Key players in:
Huia Edmonds, Sione Kalamafoni (Nottingham), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Jimmy Cowan (Highlanders), Drew Locke (Cornish Pirates), Billy Twelvetress (Leicetser), Shane Monahan (Rotherham) and Martyn Thomas (Scarlets).
Key players out:
Matias Cortese (Colomiers), Scott Lawson (Irish), Alasdair Strokosch and Luke Narraway (Perpignan), Brett Deacon, Rory Lawson (Newcastle), Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu (Coca Cola West Red Sparks), Ollie Phillips and Tom Voyce (Released).
Strengths:
Gloucester’s strengths are that they have a solid foundation, coupled with an electric back line. Their backs are one of the quickest units in the Premiership and seem to have jet packs in their boots.
Weaknesses:
Gloucester’s away form has been their downfall in recent seasons – they won just two games on the road in last year’s competition, losing to lower-ranked teams like Wasps and Newcastle and suffering heavy defeats at London Irish, Leicester and Harlequins. They’ll need to improve that record to get into Heineken Cup reckoning.
Player to watch:
Ben Morgan’s first season in the Aviva Premiership should be something to behold and don’t forget about the fab four: Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns, Charlie Sharples and Jonny May all supremely talented young English players.
Last season:
Disappointing by their high standards, especially the last few weeks after Redpath’s acrimonious departure, ended up a lowly 9th.
Prediction:
New director of rugby, new players and a new season. I expect better things for the cherry and whites, fighting it out with the ‘old enemy’ Bath and just scraping a Heineken Cup place. 6th.
Website: http://www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk/
Twitter: @gloucesterrugby
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gloucesterrugby
Click here to join the Gloucester Fans league on SuperBru

6 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Team-by-team Guide: Part 1

  1. Good article, but needs a bit of editing, there are several mistakes that draw the attention away from the otherwise sound arguments. But maybe I am just being picky ;)

  2. I agree mostly with the article. Although I have a feeling that Bath will struggle this year. They have been getting progressively weaker year on year and I do not see that changing. They may well be the Wasps of last year and end up in a struggle.

  3. I would really like to see the cherries do well, mainly for England. Their backline is promising to say the least, Twelvetrees could be the longterm solution for England at inside centre and Cowan will add some steel to the program, I’m excited.

  4. Let’s face it, Exeter Chiefs are a model program. Really like their additions, especially Mumm & Votu. Jimmy Cowan is just what the doctor ordered for Gloucester as well.

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