Last Bath Rugby injury before Northampton Saints: Josh Matavesi, Jack Walker, Jaco Coetzee
Bath Rugby heads into Saturday’s high-stakes game in the battle to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup bolstered by the return of key men.
Fijian international Josh Matavesi is fit to return to centers to provide additional competition in midfield with Cam Redpath missing after a ruptured knee ligaments.
Last time around, rugby manager Stuart Hooper gave academy product Max Ojomoh his first Premiership start in the loss to the Harlequins and the 20-year-old grabbed attention with a few moments of magic. and had a try denied for hitting in the act of scoring.
He’s teamed up with fit Max Clark, but with England center Jonathan Joseph in good shape after a few weeks away in May, Hooper could go for an all-international baseline against the Saints.
The Blues, Blacks and Whites enter the game well rested after taking an unexpected time off last weekend when the West Country derby with Gloucester was called off due to positive cases of Covid-19 at the Cherry and Whites camp .
Bath has received four match points from the Premiership Rugby decision committee, placing them in eighth place, the last qualifying place for next season’s Champions Cup.
Hooper said: “A weekend off always helps this time of year in terms of player bodies, there are a few guys back in the game, we’ll be making a call on Thursday but there are a few guys. who are close.
“Josh Matavesi is about to come back, potentially Jack Walker is about to come back. Wednesday is a big day for rehabbers – put it that way. ”
Last week, Hooper also provided an update on three of the club’s most seriously injured players, starting with Scotland international Redpath.
He said: “In the last minute of the game against Sale, he did his ACL, so we’re disgusted for him.
“He was operated on, he will be away for about seven months.
“On a related note, Lewis Boyce is about to be back from his ACL surgery and he’s completely destroyed rehab and it’s almost an identical injury to Cam.
“They’ll be working really hard with that with experts in England and Ireland, there’s a clinic they use there that really allows the guys to push back their injury and come back as soon as they can.
“Cam looks like it’s seven months away, Boycey will be back for the start of next season in great shape and great shape which is great.”
Loosehead mainstay Boyce, 24, has not played for the club since November, having only made two appearances in 2020/21.
Scotland international Jamie Bhatti, who will join the Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season, has been signed on on a short-term contract to cover the injury.
Hooper also hinted that there could be a final start-to-season day for new signing Jaco Coetzee who arrived at the club from Western Province in the spring and is a direct replacement for Zach Mercer who will be leaving. The Rec at the end of 2020 / 21st season for the French Top 14 of Montpellier with a two-year contract.
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Coetzee is yet to feature in Bath’s highly competitive backline, having arrived with a knee injury.
Hooper added: “Jaco is pretty much in the middle of training after his injury behind the Currie Cup in South Africa and then his subsequent stay at the Holiday Inn in Heathrow for his isolation.
“He’s back in full training and we’ll start to see full action from him. “