Bath will feel the benefit

Jonathan Davies says that union can learn most from a worthwhile exercise

Bath will justly consider that they struck a revenge blow for themselves and their game by overcoming Wigan 44-19 in the way they did yesterday, but the main point of these games was to bring the two codes together at last. I hope that much pleasure, understanding and respect has been the result.

I don't agree that these meetings have been pointless. We've seen the best rugby teams in the country exercising their democratic right to play games which had previously been barred to them. No doubt Wigan will have a healthier regard for the difficulties of playing union but overall I think Bath will have learned the more valuable lesson from the two games - the value of fitness, strength and pace.

The way we've been playing union in Britain has not been beneficial to us on the world stage and, perhaps, now we've seen at close hand what professionalism can do, we can expect an improvement. The Australians for years have realised that they have much to learn from the other code. It is no surprise, therefore, that they've been world champions at both.

What came across most powerfully yesterday was that the match was far faster than union is normally in this country. The crowd loved it and Bath were 20 points up in 27 minutes. But the final margin was only 25 points. You can put that down to Wigan's superior fitness.

There were times in the first half when Bath's only problem was having so much ball they didn't know what to do next. It was like touch rugby. The game was so quick that Bath were tired out by their own superiority.

Wigan discovered one of the problems that I've encountered since my return to union. The defence is totally different and you are constantly surprised. Joe Lydon thought he was through just before half-time but found two defenders coming from nowhere. What a difference two extra players can make.

In that first half Wigan found possession very hard to win when it is not handed over every six tackles - and when you do get it the picture is not the same. Gary Connolly got into some great positions but found himself isolated with no clue what to do next. Wigan were constantly infringing rules they didn't know existed and their fans were upset when Connolly was denied a try for a forward pass that was "flat ball" and would have been given in league.

At least Wigan showed in those 10 minutes before the interval that they could play a part if they could get their hands on the ball. When their first try came, it was from a move much more familiar to them. A break from behind his own line led to Radlinski setting it up for Paul to put away Martin Offiah. He sucked in two defenders before sending Murdock over.

Where Bath were always able to gain the upper hand was in setting up second-phase ball. It didn't matter when they got tackled, they just drove over and ran again. It just served to show how totally different the games are to each other. But learning is a great thing and I hope these interesting matches won't be forgotten.

Andy Robinson was a good choice as man of the match but my hero was Va'aiga Tuigamala. What a rugby player he is in anyone's language.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas