Bath Rugby look for scrum half cover to replace injured Michael Claassens
Bath Rugby are expected to announce the signing of a new scrum-half in the coming days following an injury to Michael Claassens.
The South African had his hand in a cast while watching last weekend’s Amlin Cup win over Agen.
His absence means head coach Gary Gold has just Mark McMillan and Chris Cook available at number nine against Bucharest Wolves this Saturday.
“It’s a bit of a blow for us as Michael has damaged a bone in his thumb and will be out for three to four weeks,” said Gold. “It is quite a concern. We’ve got Macca and Cooky, but we are thin now. We will probably have to look at bringing in a replacement.”
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Claassens, who is in talks over whether to extend his contract at Bath beyond the summer, is just four games short of breaking the record for consecutive Aviva Premiership starts – and Gold expects to have his scrum-half available for an 84th successive appearance when the league campaign resumes with the visit of Worcester on February 9.
“I think the reports were that he may even be ready for the Gloucester LV= Cup game in three weeks’ time if everything heals correctly and he can play in a brace,” Gold added.
“But it doesn’t make sense for us to have to push it, so we are looking to bring someone else in. I’m hoping we are quite close to doing so, but it hasn’t been confirmed from their side yet.”
Bath now head into what Gold has labelled a “massive six weeks” as they look to guarantee top seeding for the Amlin Cup quarter-finals, reach the LV= Cup semis and get back on track in the Premiership.
Victory in Saturday’s Pool Four visit of Bucharest will ensure they do not play teams dropping down from the Heineken Cup in the last eight of the Amlin.
“There is a massive six weeks coming up now,” said Gold. “It sees a couple of LV= games, which we are still in with a shout with, and four Premiership games on the bounce, with three of them at home.
“This weekend is massive as well as we want to build confidence and the habit of winning. By and large, we are in a good position in Europe, but Bucharest have beaten Agen, so don’t deserve to be taken lightly. You don’t want to be in a position when you’ve got one of Biarritz, Saints, Tigers, Montpellier, Leinster or Munster that you’ve got to play. If they fall out of the top six, all of a sudden the Amlin is not a joke for them any more.
“If they progress, then you’d really want to play them at home in the semi-finals. What happens in the final happens in the final, but you want to give yourself the best shot of getting there.”
Bath have Nathan Catt and Brett Sharman available after injury, while Jack Cuthbert and Kane Palma-Newport are also expected to play.