Buzzing for Bath time

Jonathan Davies is looking forward to the battle of the club giants this Saturday

Bath will be carrying a few extra burdens of pressure when they meet Cardiff at the Arms Park on Saturday and not the least of them will be on the shoulders of their captain, Phil de Glanville, who might be facing a more severe test of his leadership powers than when he skippers England for the first time in their international against Italy the following week.

Phil is no stranger to leading Bath out but he has probably discovered already that being made captain of your country is something entirely different. As I've found in both codes, it is not a job you take on and off with the jersey. It is with you every waking moment and for some of the sleeping ones as well. He will find it difficult to get accustomed to, and a club game as vital as this will be a very testing experience. In fact, England ought to be grateful for the valuable workout so many of their key players are going to get.

Cardiff will be up against almost the entire English strike force. Apart from de Glanville, Bath have the outside-half Mike Catt and the wingers Jon Sleightholme and Adedayo Adebayo in the new England team. But we might face most danger from the player England left out - the centre Jeremy Guscott who will see this game as the ideal opportunity to prove a point or two.

If Bath have any problem it is in selection. The League players Jason Robinson and Henry Paul would seem to have the ideal strength and ability for this sort of cup battle. But will Bath employ them at the expense of their permanent players like their full-back Jonathan Callard? Robinson and Paul will be back with their league clubs in January and won't be around for the European Cup final. It is an interesting dilemma.

Meanwhile, the Cardiff camp is buzzing at the prospect. We are delighted that we finished on top of what they billed as the "Group of Death". We had a poor start to the season but ever since we have been steadily gelling together and gathering confidence in our ability to play with strength and flair. We have a great deal of international experience and, with it, the versatility to vary our game plan and the ability to withstand the intensity these European games are creating.

We also have home advantage which has proved to be very important in the competition so far because of that intensity. The ties have a bite you don't get in domestic leagues and familiar surroundings can be of great help. That's why the team supported the decision to play the match on our own pitch instead of at the National Stadium next door. We want to play in the atmosphere our own fans create just as the crowd at Sardis Road did when they roared Pontypridd on to their famous win over Bath in the group matches a few weeks ago.

It was a great victory and I'm sorry Ponty didn't progress to the quarter- finals. The only trouble is that Bath will get extra motivation from the desire to avenge that defeat. Not that they had any complaints that night. Pontypridd used the wet conditions well, kept turning the Bath forwards with good kicking and tackled brilliantly.

I wish I could discuss how we intend to play but I will content myself by reminding everyone that we used to have mammoth Wales-England club matches long before leagues and European Cups were invented and the best one I ever played was against Bath.

It was 10 years ago and I was playing for Neath when they met Bath at the Gnoll in a "friendly" that the press called the battle to decide the best club team in Britain. Bath had won the John Player Cup for the third consecutive year and were regarded as the finest team in England. I'm proud to say that Neath won 29-9 and I enjoyed every minute.

John Hall, who is now Bath's manager, was playing then. John was a fast and aggressive back-row player and is now a master of psychological warfare. No doubt, he'll be trying to wind us up over the next few days as he did with Pontypridd, but I hope we will have too much respect for each other and the memory of our 1986 meeting.

I might not be the young whippet I was then but the strange new world of rugby has brought me full circle and I relish the challenge of playing Bath as much as I did a decade ago. It can't fail to be a great match.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'