Clash of the Codes: Victor Ubogu on Bath's scrummaging power against Wigan
Watch the 'Clash of the Codes' matches between Wigan and Bath from 1996 at 7pm and 9pm on Sky Sports Arena on Friday
Last Updated: 08/05/20 1:01pm
Victor Ubogu says the Bath scrum had to dial down the power when they faced Wigan at Twickenham in the Cross Code Challenge.
The 1996 two-legged event was a unique encounter between Super League champions Wigan and domestic rugby union champs Bath.
Played over two games - one of league and one of union - the winner was whoever had the highest aggregate score over the two games.
Bath had just four days to prepare for the league game at Manchester's Maine Road having been focused on the final of the Pilkington Cup against Leicester. It was an intense battle but Bath clinched it, beating the Tigers 16-15 and securing the league and cup double.
"I remember hearing about the game against Wigan and it sounded like a fun thing to do," said Ubogu.
"But we had Leicester to focus on and we went and beat them in the cup final - we smashed them…by one point!
"We celebrated a fair bit and then turned to the Wigan game. I had nursed a hamstring injury through the cup final and with the Wigan clash four days later, it was just not possible for me to play.
"I watched from home recovering and was quite glad that I was not playing in that one! We were getting smashed and the boys were struggling with the defensive line.
"When we were training for the league game, that constant tackling and getting straight back up and resetting took its toll. If you are not fit for that then you are going to struggle.
"It is so hard to tackle, get straight back up, retreat 10 and go again. That is a specific type of fitness and not something that rugby union players do - it was just not in our psyche."
Bath were blown away in the league game losing 82-6 with Martin Offiah showing his incredible skills with six tries.
Two weeks later it was the union rematch at Twickenham and with Ubogu back to full fitness, he was ready to go.
He said: "I had recovered to play in the union game and it was a fantastic game to be involved in. It was beautiful day, a bright blue sky and we were all up for it.
"However after the first scrum we knew we had to hold back otherwise someone was going to get badly injured. They were big, strong blokes, but there is a lot of technique involved up front and it was not something they were used too.
"We really had to hold back in the scrums and the contact areas - these were areas that could have been dangerous. Competing in the rucks and mauls takes a different sort of fitness, they would have found in difficult but they could not stand out of the mauls because we would have just carried driving it on."
Bath ran out 44-19 winners in the union game, with both sides producing some wonderful tries including two length-of-the-field efforts from Wigan.
"It was a great spectacle and we both got the chance to throw the ball around a bit," added Ubogu.
"When you have a back line that has the likes of Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Henry Paul in it then they are going to tear you apart. That was some backline!"
Don't forget, you can relive the 'Clash of the Codes' matches between Wigan and Bath this Friday from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena.