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Bath preview 2012/13

Bath owner Bruce Craig will be hoping his new-look coaching set-up can bring the glory days back to the Rec.

New coaching set-up at the Rec

Since taking over Bruce Craig has seen minimal return for his investment in Bath. Steve Meehan and a reluctant Sir Ian McGeechan have both failed to revive the club's fortunes - and now Craig has rejigged his backroom staff once again in a bid to bring back the glory days. In comes Gary Gold, fresh from his heroic efforts in giving Newcastle a chance of beating the drop, along with Toby Booth and Mike Ford. But while Craig has splashed the cash on the coaching set-up, the investment in the playing staff has been minimal in comparison. England international Rob Webber and Welsh duo Paul James and Dominic Day will strengthen the pack, while former Leicester winger Horacio Agulla is set to add his pace to the back division after his commitments with Argentina in the Rugby Championship. However the quartet will have to fill the void left by experienced campaigners David Flatman, Pieter Dixon, Duncan Bell, Scott Hobson and Matt Carraro. That said, there is plenty of class within the Bath ranks - with the likes of Carl Fearns, Nick Abendanon, Dave Attwood, Francois Louw, Chris Cook, Tom Biggs, Tom Heathcote (although he will miss the start of the season through injury) and Matt Banahan. Stephen Donald, Dan Hipkiss and Kyle Eastmond, though, will all be looking to pay back the faith and investment put into them after injury-disrupted campaigns.

Bath stats

Director of rugby: Gary Gold
Captain: Stuart Hooper
Sky Bet odds: 12/1
Last season: 8th
In: Rob Webber (Wasps), Dominic Day (Scarlets), Paul James (Ospreys), Horacio Agulla (Leicester)
Out: David Flatman (retired), Pieter Dixon (released), Andy Beattie (retired), Duncan Bell (retired), Scott Hobson (retired), Matt Carraro (Montpellier), Matt Keyte (London Welsh), Billy Moss (London Welsh), Nick Scott (London Welsh), Warren Fury (released)
Key man - Francois Louw: The South Africa flanker enjoyed a stellar first season at Bath - and his contribution did not go unnoticed among his team-mates as he collected the players' player of the year accolade.
Prediction: 8th

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