The impressive starting XV Bath could field with Finn Russell next season

Bath have secured a big coup by putting flyhalf Finn Russell in charge next season as Johann van Graan continues his rebuilding of the Premiership club. Credit: Alamy

Bath have secured a big coup by putting flyhalf Finn Russell in charge next season as Johann van Graan continues his rebuilding of the Premiership club.

The arrival of the Scotland international will further strengthen van Graan’s squad, which is rapidly improving its depth and could be a real contender in coming seasons.

We take stock of the West Country side’s squad and look at how they could line up next season with Finn Russell pulling the strings.

Stacked backs

15. Matt Gallagher: Like many of Bath’s positions, van Graan has several options at full-back, with Matt Gallagher being the best. The 26-year-old followed van Graan from Munster to the Rec and shone in his second Premiership stint. Gallagher has featured in all but one Premiership game this season and featured in five tries. Tom de Glanville is another promising talent to rival Gallagher for the shirt, while Bath flyhalf options could also fill the position.

14.Joe Cokanasiga: Bath won’t be short of options on the wing next season, but none are as commanding as Cokanasiga, who, when fit, is one of the most powerful wingers in the Premiership. While some players are set to leave the Rec at the end of the season, van Graan has versatility in his squad and talents like Gabriel Hamer-Webb, Will Muir and Will Butt as options.

13.Ollie Lawrence: Two incredible talents are at the disposal of the Bath boss in Lawrence and Jonathan Joseph. Lawrence has been running since joining Bath from Worcester Warriors and could be a major benefactor of Russell’s playmaking ability. Joseph will give them tough competition for the role by keeping each other on top of their game and providing depth.

12. Cameron Redpath: Another position where van Graan is spoiled for choice, with Redpath competing with Piers Francis, Max Ojomoh and Max Wright for the inside center role. Lawrence and Joseph are also more than capable of switching centers. In short, the central stocks are packed with quality and can handle some test call-ups and injuries.

11. Ruarid McConnochie: As mentioned above, van Graan is not short of wing options and when he is on the pitch, McConnochie is the best talent capable of completing every opportunity that comes his way.

10. Finn Russell: The mercurial flyhalf will want to restore Bath to its former glory and live up to his high expectations. The club have been clamoring for a top quality playmaker to come to the Rec, and not only do they have their man, they also have some rising stars in their squad to learn from him. Orlando Bailey caught the eye of former England head coach Eddie Jones and appeared in several senior training squads, while George Worboys shot to fame earlier this season when he guided the side to their first win of the season, scoring 12 points against Northampton Saints.

9.Ben Spencer: The former Saraceno has quickly settled into life at the Rec and has been named team captain ahead of the 2022/23 season, and although he has had a string of tough injuries, he is set to play a significant part in the squad going forward. Again, there are some useful options available to van Graan in Louis Schreuder, Tom Carr-Smith, Murdoch Lock and Max Green.

Powerful package

8. Alfie Barbary: One of the club’s more shrewd signings this season, despite the fact that the full-back is still out. Barbary is one of England’s most promising talents and his all-round exploits are a huge asset to any team. He could play on the side of the scrum, at number 8 or even as a prostitute. His poaching ability and the physicality of him with the ball in hand make him a potent threat to any opponent. GJ van Velze has joined the squad to cover for injuries but could stay on this season while there are plenty of other quality No8s in the squad, including Jaco Coetzee, Wesley White and Richard de Carpenter.

7. Sam Underhill: When fit, Underhill is one of the best in the Premiership and Bath have missed him badly this season. He could play his part in a formidable all-English rearguard. Chris Cloete and Miles Read provide van Graan with additional coverage and selection issues.

6. Ted Hill: Another player who has quickly settled in Bath following the Worcester administration. Hill is highly rated in the League, and rightly so; Bath are moving quickly to secure his services on a long-term basis. The 23-year-old is set to be a key figure in the Bath outfit for years to come and push for an England recall and could end up captaining the club at some point. Fergus Lee-Warner has provided second and back row cover and could leave the Rec by the end of the season, but if he is to stay, he will add further depth alongside Tom Ellis.

5.Charlie Ewel: The uncompromising second rower is another player Bath have lost this season and, when he returns, will no doubt strengthen their pack. The club have brought in Quinn Roux to cover for Ewels and, following his performances this season, they may be looking to secure his long-term services. Mike Williams adds more depth to the engine room, as do Will Spencer and Josh McNally.

4.Dave Atwood: The 35-year-old bloc shows no signs of slowing down, and if he stays in the West Country pack, he’ll continue to add leadership and grunt to the pack.

3.Stuarts: Recent reports suggest Stuart will remain in Bath despite links to West Country rivals Gloucester. The stubborn has made him the regular since joining from Wasps but will face stiff competition if Springbok Thomas du Toit joins van Graan’s charges.

2.Tom Dunn: Another stalwart of the blue, black and white outfit, Dunn has performed consistently for Bath and now has healthy competition from Tom Doughty and Niall Annett, with Academy products pressing for more time in the senior team.

1. Beno Obano: Another very talented player who has been hampered by injuries; if Obano is fit, he is likely to complete a massive package that could rival some of Europe’s best. The Baths aren’t short of props, but they sure look better with Obano than without him.

READ MORE: Planet Rugby Team of the Year: Rieko Ioane, Damian Penaud and Frans Malherbe make it, but Ireland boast most representatives

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