ERCC: Bath v Toulon Preview

Bath and Toulon will lock horns in an epic European Rugby Champions Cup tie at the Recreation Ground on Saturday the 16th of December.

Bath will be hunting for revenge when they host Toulon at the 'Rec' this Saturday. The English club went down 20-24 at the Stade Felix Mayol on the weekend, in what proved to be a real opportunity to upset the Pool-5 leaders. Toulon themselves, meanwhile, can count themselves lucky for having snuck the win, and coach Fabien GalthiƩ will need to find a way to cut out the silly mistakes that continue to haunt his side.

Bath Rugby v Toulon | Saturday 16 December | Recreation Ground | 19:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Bath 6/10 | Draw 20/1 | Toulon 27/20


For all their effort, Todd Blackadder’s Bath really should have got over the line last week. A plethora of Toulon mistakes gifted the Englishmen multiple opportunities to seal the game but, in the end, they still fell short. That’s not to say that Bath were error-free themselves; a series of missed chances, which culminated in Rhys Priestland’s failure to find touch from a penalty midway through the contest, allowed the French giants to keep coming back. Bath were brave and probably deserved better, but ultimately didn’t get much to show for their efforts.

Nevertheless, their attacking play - particularly in the first-half - was scintillating, and the way in which they exploited Toulon’s wingers’ defensive frailties in the wider channels was a very clever ploy indeed. Jonathan Joseph, in particular, had a fantastic outing, and the Bath players really should feel as though they have what it takes to win at home this weekend.

They will be forced to play without the injured Taulupe Faletau in the loose-trio, but may welcome back Francois Louw to offset the former’s absence. This is a real chance for Bath to put themselves in a position to win their pool, and they can’t afford to let it pass. On the other hand, another loss may allow Scarlets to overtake them on the standings. There really is all to play for.


If not for the Anthony Belleau late show, we would be chastising that Chris Ashton clearance, perhaps even hanging him out to dry; however, Toulon just managing to get over the line has spared the wing-cum-fullback’s blushes. For now.

For a side with such quality to make so many unforced errors is unheard of. While their defensive structures on recent occasions have left a lot to be desired, you'd still expect a better all-round showing from a side containing so many class players. Case in point: as useful as wingers Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova may be with ball in hand, without it they look hapless. They were exposed on numerous occasions by some fine play from Bath, and this area of their game needs some serious rectification ahead of the weekend.

Bath will come out of the blocks firing, and Toulon should be wary of making a similar amount of errors on Saturday – the Englishmen will be far more accurate at home. On the basis of their performance a week ago, Toulon should struggle at the 'Rec'.

Verdict: Bath 6/10
The Englishmen will be hurting after having come so close last week, but should they capitalize on Toulon’s errors they will win here. Toulon look a side lacking leadership, and the return of Guilhem Guirado can’t come soon enough.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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