Bath may have to bore to win

Rugby Union

Having pilloried Leicester for the way they played the last time Bath were at Twickenham, English rugby union's double-winners will be hoist with their own petard if they try to dismantle Wigan by similar means in this afternoon's challenge match at Twickenham.

Mind you, 82-6 - the score when the 13-a-side champions annihilated Bath under rugby league rules 17 days ago - requires an awful lot of revenge and there is no way Bath will simply abandon those facets of union which league folk tend to treat with disdain and distaste.

So we can anticipate an early attempt to take the strength out of the Wigan forwards, unused as they are to scrummaging, rucking and mauling, before Bath try to do what they are best at: a rugby of motion and not, Leicester-fashion, slow motion.

At least, they better had. "I know winning is important but if it's only going to come down to scrum, ruck and maul we should give all the money back," Maurice Lindsay, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said. "It would be a shame for the supporters because it's boring and crude."

Even accepting that crudity is in the eye of the beholder, Bath can but agree. As he has been reminded this week, after his side had eked out their cup-final victory John Hall, the Bath manager, said it would have been a "disaster" if Leicester had won because to win so much possession but do so little with it was "criminal".

Paradoxically, if Bath were to do the same today, it would be their best guarantee of a conclusive - though scarcely handsome - win. But in the inter-code comparison rugby union would then be massively the loser. "We are very open to criticism if we do that but we have to use what advantages we have," Hall said.

This applies particularly in the ball-winning phases, though hardly when it comes to ball-using. Wigan have a threequarter line any rugby union coach would die for and if they are permitted anything like the room they have in rugby league Bath are bound to be in difficulty, as the Middlesex Sevens so tellingly revealed a fortnight ago.

"It's a bit of a step into the unknown, especially when they get possession of the ball," Brian Ashton, the Wiganer who coaches Bath, said. "It will be interesting to see whether their rugby league style can adapt to the reduced time and space available in rugby union."

As for getting the ball in the first place, Wigan, who have been staying at the hotel in Bagshot patronised by the All Blacks the last time they were here, were given a session at Ruislip Rugby Club last night by the former Rosslyn Park captain Phil Keith-Roach, England's premier scrummaging coach.

Also present was the Ruislip coach, Bob Mordell, who was a rugby league professional with Oldham, and a London referee, Tim Miller, who sought to give the Wigan players an insight into the thinking of today's referee, Brian Campsall, a Yorkshireman who happens to be well-versed in both codes.

Today's crowd will approach Twickenham's restricted capacity of 50,000 and it is noteworthy in itself that the game is taking place at HQ after the obstacles the Rugby Football Union initially placed in its way.

When they had their bright idea Bath were told they could not have the ground because the turf needed reseeding but once it became clear that a historic occasion could pass to Cardiff Arms Park the RFU suddenly decided the reseeding could wait.

Bath will not, however, be granted the privilege of using the warm-up facilities normally used by England but as Save & Prosper, which sponsors all the Twickenham internationals, has also lent its name to Bath v Wigan, we can suppose that after all it has the official seal of approval.

BATH v WIGAN

at Twickenham

J Callard 16/15 K Radlinski

A Lumsden 15/14 J Robinson

P de Glanville (capt) 14/13 H Paul

A Adebayo 12 G Connolly

J Sleightholme 11 M Offiah

M Catt 10 J Lydon

I Sanders 9 C Murdock

K Yates 1 T O'Connor

G Dawe 2 M Hall

V Ubogu 3 N Cowie

M Haag 4 G West

N Redman 5 A Farrell (capt)

A Robinson 6 S Tatupu

S Ojomoh 8 S Quinnell

E Pearce 7 V Tuigamala

Referee: Brian Campsall (Halifax). Kick-off: 3.0 (Sky Sports)

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering